A Nantwich college’s bid to find the region’s best Year 9 baker is hotting up as the semi-finals draw to a close.

The 45 entries which made round two of Reaseheath College’s Year 9 Schools Bake Off Competition have been whittled down to 10 finalists.

Teams of food technologists from the Nantwich college’s food centre made the selection after visiting 15 schools across Cheshire, Staffordshire, Manchester, Wirral and mid Wales.

They viewed and tasted cakes and tested the knowledge of the young bakers.

The finalists will recreate their cakes in front of a panel of celebrities in a grand final at Reaseheath’s Food Centre on March 20.

Judges will include professional chef Brian Mellor, Cheshire WI judge Mary Hignett, and Peter Wright, chairman of the sponsors, Wrights Pies Food Group.

The winner will receive £100 and two ipads for their school, and there are cash prizes for the second and third place.

The contest has been styled on the hit tv programme “The Great British Bake-Off”.

It attracted initial entries from 42 secondary schools, with contestants producing a cake or pastry with a royal theme.

The competition has proved so popular there are already plans to repeat it next year, this time with a savoury meat theme.

Nick Blakemore, food curriculum manager, who led the project, said: “We have been amazed by the novel ideas which the pupils have come up with.

“It has been a very hard job to select the final ten entries because each one had something to bring to the table.

“Apart from being fun, we hope that our competition will also introduce young people to the many career opportunities within the food industry.”

(Pic: Sandbach pupil Charlotte Hesketh shows her 60th year chocolate orange cream Coronation Cake to Nick Blakemore and Julie Bent)

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