HUNDREDS of talented hospitality students travelled to the New Forest to take part in a prestigious live cooking competition.

The Wessex Salon Culinaire attracted around 350 entrants from across the south of England to Brockenhurst College.

The two-day event was organised in partnership with the Craft Guild of Chefs, and saw participants compete in 48 classes across five categories.

Among the competitors were mainly student chefs, with some from as far away as Kent and Devon.

The five categories comprised Live Hot, Live Cold, Restaurant, Display and Wessex Bake Off, with all work performed against the clock.

Judges included local hospitality experts who scrutinised each entry for taste, smell and presentation, as well as efficiency and hygiene standards.

Also judging the competition were the winners of hit BBC show Bake Off Crème de la Crème, Liam Grime, Ian Mark and Chris Morrell from RAF Odium.

Brockenhurst College entrants performed well at the event, winning 13 Gold, 13 Silver and 11 Bronze awards.

Brock student and Culinaire competitor Sophie Parker from New Milton won Gold in the napkin folding and Silver in the tasted cupcakes rounds.

She said afterwards: "It was a real shock to win both Gold and Silver because this was my first ever competition."

Meanwhile, Jack Gadd from Christchurch said: "Our teachers have been so supportive all year – you can really tell they are passionate about us doing well."

The college’s Head of Hospitality Studies, John MacArthur, said: "This competition is judged by professional chefs to a national standard, and to achieve a Gold award you have to score at least 90 per cent, which is no small task."