In The Lord of the Rings, Aragorn is a sword wielding warrior who slices orcs into pieces. But in Whanganui, Aragorn Cavanagh is a budding chef who chops up ingredients with his knife.

And he is very good at it.

Cavanagh, 16, was the overall winner of the UCOL Secondary Schools Hospitality Competition that took place at the Whanganui Campus on Rutland Street last Friday.

He won a silver medal for his white bread loaf, gold in the omelette category and a gold with distinction - which is a perfect score - for his black forest cupcakes.

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"I was surprised and very excited to win," Cavanagh said.

"I did a competition once for the regionals in New Plymouth, but it didn't turn out well, so I'm proud of how I turned things around from then."

Cavanagh gets his cooking inspiration from his mum and brother, who he observed in action from a young age.

Aragorn Cavanagh cooking his omelette which was judged gold in the UCOL Secondary Schools Hospitality Competition. Photo / Stuart Munro
Aragorn Cavanagh cooking his omelette which was judged gold in the UCOL Secondary Schools Hospitality Competition. Photo / Stuart Munro

"My favourite thing to cook in the competition was the omelette because it was a live kitchen and I did well in that," he said.

"I was very nervous, but I just thought to myself 'I need to get through this' and I was telling my teammate Kelahn [Te Awhe] 'you can do this'.

In the live kitchen, three judges were observing the teams of two from Whanganui Girls' College, Whanganui City College and Whanganui High School.

It is different to a static kitchen, which allows competitors to make the meal without the judge watching their actions and taking it to them for judging on completion.

The winner of each category in the competition won a $50 cash prize courtesy of Woodhaven Gardens in Levin.

"I got a few prizes, three or four, I haven't looked into it much yet, but I know I got a bluetooth speaker, a notebook, a pen and some gift bags," Cavanagh said.

"I love food, I love cooking it and when people enjoy your cooking, it makes you happy."