Beans on toast, Pot Noodles, fish finger sandwiches... students are not exactly known for their fine cooking skills.
But that is a reputation Ryan Hemming, from Cleveleys, is keen to change.
The 21-year-old second year medic at the University of Manchester wants to prove that living within the means of a student loan doesn’t mean you can’t eat properly.
After experimenting with a few recipes, he discovered a passion for cooking and, with encouragement from his friends, he entered a competition to show off his new-found skills.
On Friday he heads to London to take part in the final of a national competition, where he will have to impress a panel of judges including former MasterChef winner Steven Wallis.
“Before I got to university, I wasn’t a massive cook,” said Ryan.
“I started with a little student cookbook and I just ran with it.
“I never realised how easy cooking is. I really enjoy it because it’s a hobby that has value to it – it’s something you can be proud of.”
He will go up against two other budding chefs to be named the Bacofoil Student Cook of the Year.
After making the grade by sending in a picture of one of his culinary efforts, Ryan will now have to impress a panel of four expert judges with his skills.
Among them will be deputy editor of Olive magazine Lulu Grimes, celebrity chef and author Sam Stern and Times journalist Alice Thomson.
“It kills the stereotype that student food has to be Pot Noodles and stuff,” Ryan said.
“It encourages students to eat better and put a bit more effort into their food.”
The winning cook, who will be chosen at Cactus Kitchens in London, will receive £1,000 of groceries.
Ryan’s Salmon Pasta Surprise
Ryan wants to show preparing healthy food that tastes good doesn’t have to be costly, complicated or time-consuming.
And to prove it, the 21-year-old has shared his favourite salmon pasta recipe for anyone looking to try something new.
“It’s so easy to make,” he said.
First up, cook your pasta. Any will do but Ryan recommends spaghetti.
Then fry the salmon. Add spring onions and cream, throw in some chives and fry them all up together.
Season with salt and pepper and add the pasta.
Mix it all up and serve.