Following the completion of three highly-competitive semi-final heats where student chefs were tasked with cooking a three-course, three-cover menu around the theme of ‘Around the World in Three Spices’, ten college teams have been revealed as finalists for the prestigious Country Range Student Chef Challenge final.

  • Ayrshire College
  • City of Glasgow College
  • University of Derby
  • East Kent College
  • Highbury College
  • Loughborough College
  • Newbury College
  • North East Scotland College
  • South Eastern Regional College (Downpatrick Campus)
  • Westminster Kingsway College

The successful teams will now head to Hotelympia on Wednesday 7th March for the live final cook off where they will have to once again cook their three-course, three-cover menu in 90 minutes but this time in front of a live exhibition audience at the UK’s largest foodservice and hospitality event.

The three semi-final heats took place at Loughborough College, Highbury College and the City of Glasgow College on the 1st, 7th and 9th of February with two teams qualifying from each heat. A further four teams with the highest points accumulated also advanced to the final.

This year’s theme proposed many challenges to the student chefs but the skills on show, balance of flavours, teamwork and creativity displayed by the college teams, highlighted by dishes such as curry leaf ice cream, chai-infused chocolate mousse and spiced rum baba to name a few, have helped set up a thrilling finale.

Emma Holden, Organiser of the Country Range Student Chef Challenge, said:

“The standard in the semi-final heats has been incredible with some unbelievable technique, teamwork and dishes on display. A huge congratulations has to go to all the teams who made the final as they each produced three amazing dishes. We look forward to seeing the teams again in March at Hotelympia where they will have to recreate their dishes under ever greater pressure in front of a live exhibition audience.”

Chris Basten, Craft Guild of Chefs Chairman of Judges, commented:

“Well done to the all the teams on fantastic all round performances. The menus devised showcased real imagination and the teams backed this up on the day by showing real composure, skill and plating up some dazzling dishes.”

Now in its 24th year, the annual Country Range Student Chef Challenge has become the pinnacle for full-time hospitality college students looking to develop skills and showcase their culinary prowess and creativity. This year’s theme of ‘Around the World in Three Spices’ meant teams had to use a different fresh or ground spice in each of their courses. 

In addition to taking home the much-coveted title, the three victorious students will each win a bespoke set of three Flint & Flame knives, a trip to the 2018 Universal Cookery & Food Festival, Westlands, in September 2018 and they will be treated to one night’s accommodation and dinner at Michelin-starred restaurant Simpsons in Kenilworth.

About Country RangeWith 25 years of heritage servicing the UK’s innovative foodservice sector, Country Range is the leading independent foodservice brand and now offers over 850 products, all developed exclusively for professional caterers. Covering grocery, chilled, frozen and non-food, Country Range is widely recognised by caterers as a trusted and reliable brand delivering consistent quality and value for money without compromising on taste and flavour. The brand is developed and produced by the Country Range Group and is distributed exclusively by the 12 independent wholesalers that make up the Group.

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