A thrilling conclusion to the 25th anniversary of the Country Range Student Chef Challenge at ScotHot on March 13th saw a trio of professional cookery students from the City of Glasgow College help the college retain its crown and win this year’s title.

Alan Coats, Ance Kristone and Andreau Talla fought off fierce competition from seven other teams to win over the ScotHot and Craft Guild of Chefs judges, with Loughborough College and Carlisle College picking up second and third place respectively.

Under the tutelage of experienced lecturer Robbie Phillips, the City of Glasgow College team showcased supreme skill and precision as well as high-quality flavour and presentation to repeat last year’s success, and with it win a day’s work experience at a Michelin-starred restaurant and a foodie tour of London.

The winning menu from the City of Glasgow College featured:

Starter – Seared Sea Bass, Charred and Pickled Turnip, Turnip Tops, Malaysian Coconut and Peanut Curry, Garlic Crisps

Main – Roast Duck Breast, Glazed Duck Leg, Duck ‘Bacon’, Caramelised Onion, Jerusalem Artichoke, Cabbage, Brown Sauce

Dessert – Classic Chocolate Tart, Caramelised Banana, Pecan Crisp, Salted Popcorn, Popcorn Sorbet

The theme for the Challenge this year focused on the core skills and techniques catering students study on a second-year professional cookery course, testing their knowledge of both classical cooking and the more modern methods of the last 25 years.  

The Craft Guild of Chefs’ Chairman of Judges Christopher Basten said:

“A massive congratulations to City of Glasgow College who are definitely deserved winners this year. As we expected from the final there was a fantastic array of skills on shows, from traditional and classic cooking methods to newer techniques and ingredients. Each team can hold their heads up high at a fantastic job done as cooking a three-course, four-cover menu in front of a live crowd under strict competition standards is no mean feat.”

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

“A huge congratulations to the City of Glasgow College team on winning this year’s competitive challenge in what is a very special 25th anniversary year. All the teams who made the final can be incredibly proud of themselves as from today’s evidence the UK’s professional kitchens are in safe hands. With our industry already facing a skills shortage, cooking competitions are vital as not only do they help raise the profile of the industry and prepare students for a future in professional kitchens, but they also showcase the fantastic student and lecturer talent around the UK and the brilliant catering colleges they are associated with. The standard shown in this year’s competition has been amazing so a big thanks to all the teams and lecturers for all their effort.”

In addition to competing for the Country Range Student Chef Challenge title, the eight teams were also marked by international judging standards with Gold, Silver, Bronze and Merit certificates being handed out accordingly.

With the standard incredibly high in the live final, the full list of teams and awards are below

  • City of Glasgow College – Gold (Best in Class)
  • Loughborough College – Gold
  • Carlisle College – Silver
  • University of Derby – Silver
  • Ayrshire College – Bronze
  • Coventry College – Bronze
  • SERC – Merit
  • Newcastle College – Merit

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 Challenge, Criteria and Prize

Teams of three students were required to plan, prepare and execute a three-course, four-cover menu in 90 minutes. The Challenge criteria focused on the essential core skills and techniques studied on a second-year professional cookery course and tested students knowledge of both classical cooking and the more modern methods of the last 25 years. 

Eight victorious teams from the semi-final heats competed at the grand final, which took place on the 13th March 2019 in the Live Theatre of ScotHot - Scotland’s largest hospitality and tourism show.

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 prize for the winning team for the special anniversary year was 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. 

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 750 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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