TALENTED school students have been training under a top Christchurch chef to improve their skills.

Ian Hewitt led the course for Year 10 students at The Grange School, with pupils taking part in the two-hour weekly sessions designed by Food Festival Education Trust chairman Mary Reader.

As part of the course, the youngsters were also taken to The Pig restaurant in Brockenhurst where they were introduced to head chef James Golding.

The programme culminated in students preparing a two course meal for their families.

Parents were invited to school to sample the meals which had been cooked by their children. Mary Reader said: "I could not have been more pleased with the final results when the students chose their own recipes and cooked them for their parents and guests.

“The food was of restaurant quality and delicious to eat. They had really taken the course seriously and I hope that this has helped to focus on their career choices and raised their self-confidence for the future.”

Headteacher Steve Dossett said: “I want to thank the Christchurch Food Festival Education Trust for giving our students such an exciting opportunity to enhance their cookery skills.

“I hope that they will consider using their new skills to take part in the Junior Cook competition later this year.”