TWO Glasgow cookery students had a taste of life in the United States.

Vanessa Daley and Michael Shedden, from City of Glasgow College, travelled to Michigan to represent Scotland in an international cooking contest.

And the talented pair not only took the top prize but also scooped four gold medals, three silver gongs and three Best In Show prizes.

Vanessa said: "I was really nervous, especially during the rounds of the competition where we were given mystery boxes of food to cook.

"Our appetiser box was full of baby octopuses, which threw Michael and I a little bit - but we managed to recover."

The students are both enrolled in the college's HND professional cookery course and were given the chance to participate in the Nations Cup Challenge at Grand Rapids Community College.

They were rewarded for helping City of Glasgow College to a gold medal and first place in the Future Talent ScotHot competition earlier this year.

Vanessa, 28, and Michael, 25, travelled across the Atlantic with college lecturer and mentor Gary MacLean for the challenge on October 17, 18 and 19.

After two days of mystery box cookery challenges, they cooked for 180 dinner guests on the Saturday evening.

They competed against five rival teams, from reigning champions Canada as well as the United States, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Barbados.

Vanessa, from Stewarton, said: "The college has won a gold medal at the Future Talent events before but, due to points rankings, has never qualified for the trip to America.

"This was the first time Michael and I had competed abroad, but between the two of us, we have a good set of skills."

The final dinner challenge involved each team making a course themed on a National Dish.

Vanessa and Michael had to turn out 180 identical dishes of their special wild strawberry sorbet.

The competition was broadcast live via the Michigan college's website at

Vanessa added: "We made a wild strawberry sorbet wrapped in cocoa butter, a honeycomb trio, chocolate ganache, raspberry and oat crumble, and little strawberry bubbles.

"People came up to us afterwards to tell us how much they had enjoyed it, which was amazing."