Country Range announces Student Chef Challenge finalists

After serious deliberation, six teams have made it through the tough paper judging stage to be revealed as finalists for the prestigious Country Range Student Chef Challenge 2023

Run in partnership with the Craft Guild of Chefs, the six teams to make the Country Range Student Chef Challenge Grand Final are Ayrshire College, Bishop Burton College, Cambridge College, Loughborough College, Westminster Kingsway College and West Suffolk College.

This year’s finalists will compete at the Hotel, Restaurant and Catering show at Excel London on Tuesday 21st March 2023.

Each team of three talented chefs will be tasked with recreating their three-course, four-cover menu within 90 minutes under the watchful eyes of the judges and a live audience at HRC. Each of the six finalists will be competing for the coveted title of Country Range Student Chef Challenge winner and prizes, which this year include a Flint & Flame knife, an overnight stay and meal at a Michelin star restaurant, and an experience working at the same restaurant.

Carefully designed in line with the NVQ syllabus to assess both classical and modern cooking techniques, the theme for this year’s Challenge is ‘Around the World’ with Mexico the focus for the starter, Africa for the main, and Australia for the dessert.

Lead Judge Chris Basten of the Craft Guild of Chefs said: “The standard of entries for the Challenge was once again fantastic with some real thought and consideration going into the menus. The theme was created to test the students and they’ve responded magnificently with some creative dishes that I can’t wait to see come to life in the HRC kitchens. My advice to all the students now in the lead up to the grand final is to practice, practice, practice as failing to prepare is preparing to fail.”

Emma Holden, Head of Marketing for Country Range Group, and Challenge Organiser, said:  “Our excitement levels are now building as the finalists are announced and I can’t wait to see their finished menus and dishes in the Grand Final. A huge congratulations to the student chefs and colleges who have made the final and commiserations to those who missed out. It’s always an incredibly difficult decision for our judges due to the high standard of entries and quality of menus submitted. I wish all the finalists the best of luck for the big day!”

For more information on the Country Range Student Chef Challenge 2023, visit

Chris Basten Country Range Group Country Range Group Student Chef Challenge Craft Guild of Chefs Emma Holden