Country Range’s chef competition opens

Foodservice buying group starts its hunt for this year’s Student Chef Challenge champion

Country Range Group is stepping up its latest hunt to find the nation’s best young chefs as registration opens for its annual Student Chef Challenge.

This year’s contest will pit budding talent from across the UK against each other to show off their classic techniques and skills to maximise the use of ingredients and reduce food wastage.

Run in conjunction with the Craft Guild of Chefs, the Student Chef Challenge is already a key event on the calendar for several colleges, but Country Range hopes this year’s will see the highest number of entries yet.

“We’re thrilled to launch this year’s competition and are hoping as many chef lecturers as possible will register an interest as the challenge provides a fantastic platform for their students to showcase their skills and talents,” said Marketing Manager Emma Holden, who organises the event.

“It’s also a wonderful opportunity for their [college’s] students to gain experience in college catering competitions, which are vital to help raise the profile of the industry and showcase the amazing student and lecturer talent in the UK.”

The 2018/19 competition was the challenge’s 25th anniversary since it began, with City of Glasgow College taking home the trophy after a tight contest with Loughborough College and Carlisle College.

For 2019/20, teams will be asked to plan, prepare and present and three-course, four-cover meal in an hour and a half, with starters to include a filleted flat fish, the main to be a three bone loin of pork, and lemon tart with a modern twist for dessert.

Competing chefs will go head to head in regional heats at the end of January and beginning of February 2020, with the grand final set to be held at the Hospitality, Catering and Restaurant Show at London’s ExCel in March.

“I always went the Country Range Student Chef Challenge and really couldn’t recommend it more highly to other college catering lecturers,” said Loughborough College Chef Lecturer Darren Creed.

“Not only do the students get to showcase the skills and techniques they’ve learned at college under competition conditions against the best young chefs from around the UK, but they also receive guidance and feedback along the way, and have the chance to develop some fantastic contacts for the future. It really is the perfect stepping stone for a future career in the hospitality industry.”