Maidstone's Invicta Grammar School pupil Anya Goodman crowned Head Chef in CBBC's Step Up to the Plate
A teen chef from Maidstone has been crowned the winner of children's TV cooking show, Step Up to the Plate.
Anya Goodman, who’s 13, earned the title of Head Chef in the CBBC show after impressing celebrity diners and tough food critics with her delicious dishes.
The show, now in its second series, is hosted by Fred Sirieix and Allegra McEvedy and allows children to see if they have the skills needed to run their own restaurant.
Anya, who goes to Invicta Grammar School, has been part of the ‘kitchen crew’ throughout the process and was even named as the star performer for her mackerel dish on day one.
In the final, the Year 8 pupil won the prestigious title after preparing outstanding meals for the likes of Strictly judge, Craig Revel Horwood, and presenters Dick and Dom.
With the guidance of award winning chef Elizabeth Haigh, who competed on MasterChef in 2011, Anya was tasked with creating two main courses for the famous faces to choose from.
One was a Singapore grilled prawn laksa, which is like a spicy noodle soup, and a wagyu sando, a steak sandwich with one of the world's most expensive cuts of beef.
Anya kept her composure the entire time and received countless compliments from the guests.
After hearing her name called out by Allegra, Anya said: “Winning means the world to me especially as I'm looking to do a cooking career when I’m older.”
The series was filmed between lockdowns last year but now Anya can finally share her success with her friends and family and is looking forward to cooking them some of the meals she learned during the competition.
She added: "My friends and family understood I needed to keep it a secret from them, though it has been difficult. As pay back they are now demanding I cook them wagyu sandos.
"I need to find out how to make the Japanese milk bread and pay for the beef."
In cooking for the famous faces, she said: "I didn't know who they would be until they walked in which made me more nervous.
"My favourite moment was when I knew nothing that I had cooked had been returned by them.
"Allegra was very supportive and kind, I learnt a lot from her.
"Elizabeth was so exciting to work for as her food is very new to me and has to be cooked with precision and care.
"I hope I can visit her in her own restaurant soon."
Anya first started cooking from the age of six when she learned simple pasta dishes with her parents at home.
This ignited her passion for cooking and she now finesses a whole variety of dishes and particularly enjoys cooking fish.
In 2018, she became the runner up in the Kent Young Cooks Competition before taking the champion title in last year’s event.