Shannon and Sophie do Scotland proud

Two Edinburgh College Professional Cookery and Hospitality students can now say they’re among the world’s best student chefs after an amazing performance at a global culinary competition.

HNC Hospitality students eighteen-year-old Shannon McNeil and twenty-one-year-old Sophie Taylor won two gold, three silver, and two bronze medals at the Nations Cup held at the prestigious Secchia Institute for Culinary Education in the Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Shannon and Sophie represented Team Scotland at the event where they finished overall runner-up after competing in a series of challenges against students from Barbados, Canada, Mexico and USA.

Each team completed six mystery box tasks where the students were given one-and-a-half hours to conjure up a dish for four people from unknown ingredients in a range of categories designed to test the students skills in preparing and cooking various types of food.

The duo received a gold medal for their performance in the shellfish challenge; silver medals in the appetiser, poultry and dessert sections; and bronze medals in the pasta and game/meat task.

Then, on the final day of the competition, each student team took part in a challenge which saw them cook for 125 people with each team given a different element of a five-course dinner to prepare and cook. Shannon and Sophie were presented with a gold medal for the Best Nationality dish for their Scottish Borders quail served with foraged mushrooms, charred baby leek, Glenkinchie whisky sour, heather honey, and Arran mustard jus.

Sophie said: “It still hasn’t fully set in what we have accomplished. I’m truly speechless, the fact that I was chosen alongside my best friend, I am truly blessed and happy that I made not only the College but Scotland proud.”

Sophie said: “The week just flew by, one minute we were meeting each of the teams and the next we were cooking with half a goat. How many people can say they got the opportunity to go across the sea and compete in a competition such as this?”

Principal Audrey Cumberford said: “Congratulations to Shannon and Sophie on a truly wonderful performance at the Nations Cup – it’s an incredible achievement and one they should look back on with pride.

“Taking part and excelling on the world stage in skills competitions like the Nations Cup gives our students not only a fantastic amount of confidence but also the opportunity to learn from other students and industry professionals from across the globe – which will benefit them greatly in their careers.

“Congratulations Shannon and Sophie, Edinburgh College is massively proud of you both.”