YOUNG chefs withstood the heat as they cooked up amazing dishes under the watchful eye of two master cooks at a competition finale in Blackburn.

Youngsters from Blackburn Central High School were victorious in the inter-schools Reg Johnson Young Chef cooking competition.

Pupils Nabil Hamzah and Waseem Iqbal emerged victorious in the culinary challenge by whipping up Goosnargh chicken with herb tortellini, asparagus tips and garden peas, and rhubarb crumble with rose-scented ice cream.

The winning dish will now be produced and served at the National Festival of Making in Blackburn next week.

Acclaimed celebrity chef Paul Heathcote, who was at the final along with Michelin-starred Nigel Haworth, of Northcote, said: “It has been a pleasure to see the pupils incorporate fresh seasonal ingredients into their dishes and demonstrate such patience and advanced technical ability.

“I know that Reg would have been so proud of what we have achieved and we hope that the competition will continue to go from strength to strength.”

Goosnargh poultry farmer Reg Johnson encouraged young cooking talent and created a legacy for his produce.

Mr Johnson was famous for his Goosnargh chicken and duck, and impressed chefs all over the country with his produce.

He died in November 2015, and this year the competition in his honour was announced.

Nigel said: “Paul and I formed the competition with his daughter Kara.

“It was just trying to get people interested in regional produce, understanding more about food and then looking at seasonality.”

Matthew Marriott, from Haslingden High School, won second place, while Meagan Shovelton and Amelia Litherland, from St Christopher’s in Accrington, came third.

Other finalists included Oscar Simpson, Daisy Sanderson, Grace Simpson, Lizzie Brindle-Wilkinson and Hazel Thompson from Bowland High School, Clitheroe, and Aaishia Abdulgani and Saira Surgeon from Pleckgate High School in Blackburn.

Mr Haworth said: “We’re looking for young chefs, and young people who are enjoying what they’re doing.”