With the deadline fast-approaching for the 25th annual Country Range Student Chef Challenge, last year’s winning lecturer Robbie Phillips of the City of Glasgow College has been banging the drum for the prestigious competition and explaining why him and his team are so excited to defend their crown on home turf this time around.
Run in conjunction with the Craft Guild of Chefs, the competition opened for entries in August and this year’s Challenge criteria is focussing on the essential core skills and techniques studied on a second-year professional cookery course.
Commenting on the brief and how it will help prepare the students for a future career in the industry, Robbie said:
“It’s a really wide brief leaving lots of room for creativity from the teams. The students, especially the younger ones, will have to research food and techniques from the last 25 years to come up with the menu, which is great for their learning. I’m looking forward to seeing all the teams’ interpretation of the brief.”
After winning the Challenge last year with his talented trio of students – Erin Sweeney, Jordan McKenzie and Lee Christie – Robbie knows exactly how beneficial winning the title can be.
“Competing in the Challenge is a great opportunity for students to learn in a lively, pressured environment and it’s good that the brief has focused on the core skills and modern techniques that they’ll need in industry. Lots has changed in the last 25 years and the Challenge is going to help the students to understand the need to develop and learn throughout their careers to keep up with industry trends.”
As part of the prize for this special anniversary year, the winning team will be offered 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.
With the Grand Final taking place on the 13th March 2019 in the Live Theatre of ScotHot – Scotland’s largest hospitality and tourism show – Robbie and his team and raring to go and aiming to make it back-to-back wins.
“It would be incredible to win again this year! It’s a great feeling for all the staff who have taught the students and a real boost for the College. ScotHot is a wonderful event which also allows us to show off the quality of Scottish food and talent of our students and chefs. If we make it to the final this year, it will be a great opportunity to invite the teams’ lecturers, friends and family to support them and share in the excitement!”
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.
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 30th November 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.
Register your interest in entering the Challenge online to be the first to receive an entry pack.
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
About Country Range: With 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.