Two Whanganui Girls' College students are cooking up a storm ahead of the UCOL secondary schools' culinary competition.

Libby Young and Alyse Price, both Year 13 students, will create a dish in front of the judging panel at UCOL Palmerston North, on June 12.

And they're putting in long hours in the kitchen to test their recipies, with the help of Girls' College food and hospitality teacher Nina Barbezat, and Phil Healy, a local chef and member of the New Zealand Chefs Association.

All contestants must include certain ingredients in their dish: bone-in chicken thigh, two vegetables, a risotto and a garnish and/or sauce.

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Libby is making grilled rosemary chicken with a bacon and leek risotto and sauteed spinach and rosemary creme; while Alyse's dish is grilled citrus chicken with an apricot risotto and green bean salad.

Both students said they were excited about the competition.

Alyse said she wanted to do something to "get out of my comfort zone".

Libby said she had had the opportunity to take part in similar competitions, but hadn't followed through.

"I'm really excited to see what it will be like," she said.

Libby and Alyse began by making their dishes for Mr Healy, and then discussing them with him to decide what could be changed or improved.

"It's their own dish, but I'm teaching them a few tips and tricks," he said.

Mr Healy said the competition was open to any secondary school student in Whanganui, Manawatu and Horowhenua.

Two other Whanganui Girls' College students are taking part in the competition, but in a different category. Nicole Ede and Dakota Barry are currently testing recipes for the muffin category.