Budding young cooks got a taste of life in a professional kitchen when a top chef visited their school.

Steve Walpole, executive head chef at Italian pasta company Ugo, visited students at The Compton School, in Summers Lane, North Finchley, last week to pass on some valuable hints and tips.

Armed with some exotic herbs and basic cooking skills, the class of 25 competed to make the best pasta in a special after-school lesson.

Mr Walpole offered to take the lesson as his nephew is a student at the school and deputy headteacher Malcolm McGlynn said the students learnt much more than just cooking.

He said: “It went particularly well because not only was it a fantastic opportunity for the students to meet a really top chef but it showed the link between what they learn at school and the real working world.

“He explained that he never thought he’d need to learn another language before he went into cooking or have to convert ounces into grams so it was nice that he wove that in.

“The lesson was really that if you can find a passion in life, you’ll find a job that you don’t mind getting up every day for.”