A PROFESSIONAL cookery student and lecturer from Ayrshire College have returned from the Culinary Olympics in Stuttgart with silver and bronze medals.

Emilia Wood, 17, from Kirkoswald, and Dougal MacPherson, 38, from Troon, represented the United Kingdom as part of the Compass UK Culinary team as they competed against chefs from 66 other countries.

The pair worked hard to earn a silver medal in the regional teams cold food art competition and bronze in the community catering contest.

The team representing Compass Group, the world’s biggest catering company, at the Culinary Olympics was comprised of ten chefs, four students and two team managers.

Dougal, who previously delivered training for Compass, has past experience competing with the team in the World Cup in Luxembourg, as well as national competitions in Glasgow and London.

Dougal cooked live against over 20 teams from around the world as he earned the bronze medal, supported by Emilia to prepare equipment and ingredients before the four chefs.

Emilia was then heavily involved in the regional team’s competition against over 20 teams from around the world, as the cold food contest involved food art including a magnificent chocolate centrepiece and tasted petit fours.

Scoring at the Culinary Olympics differs from tradition athletics, as several teams can get the same medal, but three teams will still be named first, second and third in class.

The team managed 15th in the world for the hot kitchen and a very impressive 6th in the world for the regional food art competition.

Dougal said: “The scoring can be confusing, everyone thinks silver is second, but it’s all about the points, so you could be first in the world with a bronze depending on your final score.

For example, we were sixth in the world in the regional teams competition, which is a fantastic achievement.

"The teams who finished above us were international teams who have full time jobs preparing for the Olympics that come every four years, whereas we’re from different colleges and backgrounds as far afield as offshore to Met Police and one member currently working in Texas, put together just for this event.

“Emilia did a great job, not only was this her first time experiencing the competition, but it was also her first time doing any cold food work.”

Emilia added: “I enjoyed working with the executive chef from Compass I was teamed with, he was good at showing me what to do and keeping me right.

"I volunteered for this opportunity at the last minute and was delighted to be selected, I knew it’d be a lot of hard work, but I’d love to be involved in the Culinary Olympics again.

"It was a fantastic experience.”