10:50am Friday 6th April 2012
The Ashley Centre played host to culinary explorers at its Fabulous Food Festival at the weekend.
Childrens and adults flocked to the shopping mall, in Epsom's town centre to take part in cooking demonstrations, free giveaways, food tastings and a prize draw for £250.
There was also a children's cooking competition at the end of each day, Junior Chef Factor, where mini-chefs competed in front of a live audience by preparing the popular dessert, Eton Mess.
Saturday's Junior Chef winner was Selby Hellion, eight, and the runner-ups were Paul Boardman, 10, and Owen Hillion, 11.
In Sunday's competition, Abigail Palmer, nine, won first place, with runner-ups, Adam Taylor, nine, and Rebecca Palmer, six.
Tracey Foskett, who travelled from Chessington to attend the festival, said: "There were some lovely smells in the air, and I followed my nose.
"I managed to catch a very informative food demonstration about Southeast Asian cuisine and got to taste a lovely Thai stir-fry at the end of it."
The Ashley Centre's kitchen stage also served as a venue for local chefs to demonstrate their culinary skills.
Paul Metcalfe, chef for catering firm Turning Tables, wowed the crowd with his fusion twist on the Mexican chicken fajita, while Pascal Mama,14, got the chance to use Lakeland's cupcake machine and icing kits to make beautifully decorated cupcakes. All ingredients were supplied by Waitrose, Marks and Spencer, Thorntons and Lakeland.
Charmain French, event manager for The Ashley Centre, said: "It was wonderful to see young children get so passionate about cooking. I was genuinely surprised at the high calibre of cooking during the two days. It is obvious Epsom is a hot spot for budding young chefs!"
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