25th Country Range Student Chef Challenge launches

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the prestigious Country Range Student Chef Challenge has officially launched for 2019 with lecturers and college students being urged to be enter and make history in the kitchen.

Run in collaboration with the Craft Guild of Chefs, the challenge has played a huge role in developing young chefs and talent around the UK for a quarter of a century.

As part of the prize for this special anniversary year and to entice the UK’s best student chefs and colleges, the winning team will be offered a day work experience placement at a Michelin-starred restaurant, as well as being taken on foodie tour of London which includes a guided tour of the capital’s famous Billingsgate Market where they will be taught fish filleting skills by the resident master fishmonger.

To win the much-sought after title, teams of three students will be required to plan, prepare and execute a three-course, four-cover menu in 90 minutes.

For 2018/2019 the Challenge criteria is focusing on the essential core skills and techniques studied on a second year professional cookery course and will test student’s knowledge of both classical cooking and the more modern methods of the last 25 years.

The criteria
The cost per cover is £8 and the menus must include:
• An Asian themed seabass starter – this must be made using a whole seabass, which must be filleted and presented to judges with bones and trim displayed.
• A main duck dish cooked any way – demonstrating butchery skills students must remove both legs by tunnel boning before removing the breasts and presenting the whole carcass to the judges. Portion size for the dish is to be half a breast per person and some of the leg meat.
• A classically creative dessert with a modern twist that contains at least 30% of Country Range Chocolate Drops

The deadline for submissions is the 30 November 2018. The entries will first be judged by the Craft Guild of Chefs before winning teams are selected to compete in regional heats at the end of January 2019. The victorious teams from these heats will then compete at the grand final, which will take place on the 13 March 2019 in the Live Theatre of ScotHot – Scotland’s largest hospitality and tourism show.

Emma Holden, Country Range Student Chef Challenge Organiser, said, “Following the success of last year’s competition and finale at Hotelympia, we’re thrilled to launch the 2019 Challenge and are calling on college lecturers and students from all over the UK to help us make the 25th competition our best yet.

'It’s vital that college catering students are given the platform to showcase their skills and creativity and the Country Range Student Chef Challenge does exactly that, while also allowing them to gain real competition experience.

'However, it’s not just students that it’s beneficial for though as a win for a college can go a long way in helping their catering department develop a first-class reputation.”

Chris Basten, Chairman of Judges at the Craft Guild of Chefs, said, “It’s been 25 years since the launch of the Country Range Student Chef Challenge and the competition has become an important platform for student chefs to demonstrate their culinary skills to key influencers and employers in the sector.

'I’d urge as many colleges and students as possible to get involved as the benefits really are endless. The standard of cooking gets better and better each year so I’m already excited at the thought of what will be presented by the young chefs in 2019.”

Country Range Student Chef Challenge
The long-running Country Range Student Chef Challenge provides full time hospitality and catering college students with the perfect platform to improve cooking skills, knowledge and technique, while developing real life experience under intense pressure and competition situations.

Run in partnership with the Craft Guild of Chefs, who provide competition-standard judging and detailed feedback to the students, the 2018 Challenge was won by a team of students from the City of Glasgow College.

Robbie Phillips, Lecturer of the winning City of Glasgow College team, said, “The Challenge is fantastic for students as it nurtures creativity and teaches them precision, organisational skills, discipline, speed and teamwork, which reinforces what they learn at college and need in the industry.

'They also get to travel and meet people from other parts of the country, visit shows and events so it’s a great opportunity to build their CV, as well as being a tremendous source of personal achievement and pride.”

“It’s also great for chefs and businesses outside college to see that our students have experienced and thrived in the pressure of professional kitchens under tight timelines. Working within a budget and producing beautiful food, communicating and working as a team all help students thrive in industry and become real assets in the kitchen.”