With the deadline for entries for the Country Range Student Chef Challenge being extended until December 18th, Craft Guild of Chefs Chairman of Judges Chris Basten is calling on catering colleges across the country to get involved and make the 25th edition of the prestigious cooking competition a year to remember.

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

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. The Challenge criteria for this year’s Challenge centres on the essential core skills and techniques studied on a second-year professional cookery course and Chris Basten believes it’s the perfect test of the students’ knowledge of both classical cooking and the more modern methods of the last 25 years. 

He said:

“We wanted to make the theme extra special for this year’s competition as the Challenge celebrates its 25th year but also to test the key skills students learn on their cookery courses. One of the main aims of the competition is to prepare students for future careers in the industry and I believe the Challenge, it’s theme and criteria this year do exactly that.”

As well as being able to add ‘Country Range Student Chef Challenge Winner’ to their CVs, the winning team will also receive a day’s 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.

Commenting on the prize, Basten continued:

“Winning the Country Range Student Chef Challenge title sets students up perfectly for a life in the catering industry and shows they can handle the pressure in the kitchen under strict competition conditions. As well as the obvious benefits of winning the title, the successful team will also have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work in a Michelin-starred restaurant which many aspiring chefs can only dream of. It really is a fantastic competition and one I highly recommend chefs and catering colleges to get involved in.”

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.

The Challenge

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 deadline for submissions is the 18th December 2018.  The entries will first be judged by 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 13th March 2019 in the Live Theatre of ScotHot - Scotland’s largest hospitality and tourism show.

You can register your interest in entering the Challenge online to be the first to receive an entry pack.

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 course duck dish cooked any way - demonstrating butchery skills, Students must remove both legs from the Duck and remove the bones by tunnel boning, then remove both breasts and present boned legs breasts and the 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

About Country RangeWith over 25 years of heritage servicing the UK’s innovative foodservice sector, Country Range is the leading independent foodservice brand and now offers over 800 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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