YOUNG chefs impressed judges at the regional final of a national cookery contest.

Two pupils from Matthew Arnold School in Botley, and two from St Helen and St Katharine in Abingdon, made it into the Midcounties final of the Create & Cook Competition.

The contest is run by fit2cook food education group and sponsored by part of Coop Midcounties, to celebrate local food and nurture young talent.

Schools across Oxfordshire were invited to take part by creating menus using local ingredients.

Pupils Heidi Preghenella and Alicia Edwards from Matthew Arnold School cooked dishes telling the stories of their backgrounds.

Alicia cooked Polish pierogi dumplings using Oxford Blue cheese and Wessex Mill flour, while Heidi made her own sausages using Oxfordshire chicken and flavouring them with jerk spices.

Kuba Winkowski, a chef at the Feathered Nest in Oxfordshire, was one of the judges.

He praised the girls for their originality, culinary skill and sense of fun with flavours.

Also representing Oxfordshire at the Midcounties final were Aiofe McGuire and Niamh Mulcahy from St Helen and St Katharine in Abingdon.

Matt Fletcher, direct sourcing manager at The Midcounties Co-operative Food, said: “Supporting young people and local suppliers is incredibly important to us and the Create & Cook competition is a fun way for us to get schools into cooking with the amazing ingredients made in Gloucestershire & Oxfordshire."

The winners were pupils from a school in Cirencester.