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Thurso pupil cooks up a storm at Taste North

Rhiannon Mackay, an S2 pupil at Thurso High School, was rewarded for her mastery of all things culinary when she won the Developing the Young Workforce North Highland (DYW) sponsored Youth Award in the Taste North Challenge at this year’s Taste North festival.

Organised by Venture North and hosted at Ackergill Tower, Taste North aims to showcase and celebrate the range of fantastic food and drink on offer in the North Highlands. Running since 2015, the Taste North Challenge aims to inspire local students to come up with new recipe ideas reflecting the abundance of incredible ingredients available in the area.

With her passion for cooking shining through, Rhiannon managed to see off some tough competition to succeed in the Youth category, and was rewarded for her efforts with a trip to the Nick Nairn Cookery School and a selection of cookery equipment.

Looking to the future, Rhiannon hopes to travel the world learning new skills and cooking a variety of dishes from different countries, and would one day like to return home and open a restaurant of her own.

The Developing the Young Workforce North Highland (DYW) initiative is funded by the Scottish Government and Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

Trudy Morris, Chief Executive of Caithness Chamber of Commerce which leads the initiative, said: “We were delighted to sponsor the Youth section at this year’s Taste North Challenge and to give some inspirational young people the chance to showcase their skills. We were thoroughly impressed by all the entries, but Rhiannon stood out amongst a strong field.

“Her trip to the Nick Nairn Cookery School has enabled her to learn a range of new skills which will serve her well in her ambition to become a chef, and we hope that the new cookery equipment she has won will help her to grow and develop these skills even further.

“The primary aim of the DYW initiative is to help young people develop their skills and prepare themselves for the world of work, and we were delighted to be able to help Rhiannon build on her passion for cookery and determination to succeed.

“We hope that her example will inspire more young people to take part in next year’s challenge, and to think seriously about a career in the hospitality industry. We have great hopes for Rhiannon’s future, and suspect we could be seeing the next Michelin Star chef in the making!”