The heat is on to find Ulster’s top young chefs!!

Mount Charles, Ireland’s leading support service organisation has partnered with SuperValu to launch the third, annual Big School Cook Off Competition.

Run in association with the Irish News and supported by Business in the Community, The Mount Charles Big School Cook Off in partnership with SuperValu, is open to all post primary school pupils across Northern Ireland and Donegal, aged between 11 and 14.

The competition, champions pupils with a passion for cooking and gives them an insight into the hospitality industry. It also encourages young people to consider a career in foodservice and opens the door for future training and skill development.

Caitriona Lennox, Mount Charles Business Development and Retention Manager said: “We are delighted that SuperValu has come onboard this year and we look forward to working together to give students the opportunity to showcase their culinary skills, inspiring them to think about healthy eating and the origin of their food.”

Entering the competition couldn’t be easier. Teams of two are asked to submit a main course recipe idea that feeds two, focusing on locally sourced ingredients that can be bought on a budget of £5 or euro equivalent.

The recipes are then shortlisted and the successful finalists take part in a regional heat at the end of January 2019, where each cooking duo will prepare the recipe they submitted to the competition. SuperValu will provide all finalists with a voucher to the value of £5 (or euro equivalent).

The winning team from each regional heat will progress to cook their recipe for an esteemed panel of judges at the grand finale of the competition next March, in Belfast Met’s Titanic Quarter Campus.

There are some great prizes on offer as well as the kudos of winning the biggest and most prestigious cooking competition in the schools’ calendar.

Brendan Gallen, Head of Marketing at Musgrave said: “SuperValu is proud to support Mount Charles with this fantastic initiative.  At SuperValu it’s all about, ‘Real Food, Real People’ and making it easier to prepare great food so to be able to work with hundreds of our top young foodies from all over Northern Ireland and Donegal is incredibly exciting.  We would like to wish everyone planning to take part in this year’s competition the best of luck and we look forward to meeting you at the regional heats.”

Caitriona continued: “We were thrilled with the number of entries last year and are calling on schools that haven’t taken part yet, to grab their aprons and join the fun.

“Feedback from participating schools has been amazing. Teachers have told us that the competition noticeably boosted their pupils’ self-esteem and gave them so much more confidence in their cooking ability.

“The overall standard of the competition was very high but the winning team from Ballymena Academy, created a dish that was of restaurant standard and I can’t wait to see what all the teams produce this year.”

Irish News Marketing Manager John Brolly said: “It is an excellent initiative that all schools should embrace to get young people to take an interest in food.

“We are looking for pupils to slice, dice and cook their way through a number of challenges so that they can walk away as winner of the Big School Cook Off.”

The deadline to submit your recipe idea is 9th of November 2018, so enter now if you think your school team has what it takes to be the 2019 Big School Cook Off Champions.

To enter or for more information visit