THREE student finalists have been chosen for the Christchurch Food Festival cookery challenge.

The contest, organised by Christchurch Food Festival Education Trust, will take place on Tuesday May 17.

In the latest round, fish proved to be a popular choice for students.

The cook-off competition, run in each of the borough’s secondary schools, is sponsored by Christchurch Rotary Club.

And the semi-finalists were judged by their President, Malvern Jones, and by TV chef and author Lesley Waters, who is the patron of the Festival.

They were joined in each school by different local chefs, all of whom had launched the competition in their adopted school.

The head chef of the Lord Bute, Kevin Brown, supported Highcliffe School, Colin Nash, head chef of the Three Tuns at Bransgore supported Twynham school; and Festival chef Ian Hewitt supported the Grange school.

The three finalists will now take part in the ultimate cook-off at Purewell Electrical from 9am to 11.30am. Representing Highcliffe school will be Bailey Jones cooking grilled mackerel with an Asian salad, and chocolate panna cotta.

Twynham school student Amy Evans will be cooking tuna steaks with a creamy mash and tasty pepper and avocado relish, with a zingy lemon tart.

Daniel Hearn from the Grange school will be cooking sea bass with a lemon and caper dressing on crushed new potatoes, and a Manuka honey cheesecake.

Organiser Mary Reader, who is president and founder of the Christchurch Food and Wine Festival and also a trustee of the Education Trust, said: “We were thrilled with the high standard this year and I am very grateful both to the Rotary club for support over many years and also to Lesley Waters, not only for giving up her valuable time, but also for inviting at least three winning pupils from each school to spend a day at her cookery school as their main prize."