Pans were sizzling, lemons were zesting (is that a thing?) and the scent of competition was in the air.
Teams from Edinburgh, Kent and Bristol J-Socs battled to win first place in the Great Jewish Cookoff grand finale on Sunday 19 March.
The Great Jewish Cookoff was a UJS-run cooking competition that saw 11 teams compete in regional heats, and we were honoured to have Emma Spitzer, Masterchef 2015 finalist, and Rachel Davies of Rachel's Kitchen as our guest judges for the finale.
Entry fees from the Great Jewish Cookoff were donated to the Trussell Trust, who run 400 food banks across the UK.
Competitors in the Cookoff made a mix of traditional Jewish dishes, Israeli food and others; for example shakshuka, hummus and vegetarian kishkes. They were also challenged by innovation rounds, where they were given random ingredients without a recipe and had to make something unique.
All the teams who entered the Cookoff did brilliantly and at the end of the day, Edinburgh J-Soc were crowned the winners (pictured above with Rachel Davies and Emma Spitzer), with special mention from the judges for their outstanding almond mandelbrot, which they made in the innovation test.
Emma Spitzer said: 'It was lovely to meet such enthusiastic students with real creativity and passion. The winning team had the edge with their unusual flavour pairings and delicious Mandelbrot, they seemed to push the boundaries a bit more - but it was a very close contest!'
The Edinburgh J-Soc Cookoff team won a private masterclass with Rachel Davies, whilst runners-up teams from Bristol J-Soc and Kent J-Soc each won a copy of Emma Spitzer’s brand-new book ‘Fress’, out in April 2017.
Sophie Willett, of Kent J-Soc, said: 'I thoroughly enjoyed participating with my Team, meeting new friends, and learning more Jewish dishes. I will definitely be adding them to my repertoire!’