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Celebrity Chef Danny Millar, a finalist in the 2008 series of the Great British Menu was chief judge at the recent Step-Up product, design and development competition held at the University of Ulster, Jordanstown campus.

Sixteen teams of Year 10 pupils from Step-Up schools in Belfast and Londonderry battled their way through to the final, having produced healthy and innovative recipes at the earlier stages of the competition.

The ‘Cook-Off’ winners were pupils from St. Patrick’s College Bearnageeha with their creative two course meal ‘Sushi Surprise’. The overall first prize, courtesy of Bombardier Aerospace and Flybe was a flight around Northern Ireland.

Danny Millar said:  “I was very privileged to be involved with the Step-Up programme. It is great to see so many young enthusiastic pupils developing their skills in product, design and development and considering the many career options that are available to them within the industry. It is all thanks to the Step-Up programme and the support they provide for these talented young people."

Dr Damian O’Kane, Director of the Step-Up programme said: “We are delighted that Danny Millar has taken time out of his exhaustive schedule to offer guidance and advice to the pupils participating in today’s competition. There can be no better role model than Danny who has built an international reputation including his award winning restaurants from scratch. He has demonstrated what can be achieved with ability and hard work."

The Step-Up Programme, based in the North-West and in the greater Belfast area, is a unique and innovative interventionist programme which provides new learning opportunities in science for talented young people who live in areas of social and economic disadvantage.

It is supported by the Department for Employment and Learning and The Honourable the Irish Society.