With many culinary students left devastated after missing out on the opportunity to truly test themselves in catering competitions in 2021, the next generation of chefs once again have the chance to cook for the ultimate glory following the return of the much-anticipated Country Range (@countryrangeuk) Student Chef Challenge in 2022.
The widely endorsed competition, which has now been running for over a quarter of a century, provides the ultimate test for teams of three full-time hospitality and catering students from colleges around England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The application process is open from the 1st September but lecturers and can register their interest now to receive the latest information and advice on entering.
Seen by many as the pinnacle for catering students looking to showcase their culinary skills under intense competition conditions, the Country Range Student Chef Challenge is run in partnership with the Craft Guild of Chefs, who provide competition-standard judging and detailed feedback to the students.
An incredible prize of an overnight stay, meal and then a stage working at a Michelin star restaurant is on offer to the winning team but the challenge also enables the students and the colleges to boost their profiles and generate strong publicity.
Chris Basten from the Craft Guild of Chefs, who is once again lead judge, said:
“We’ve missed it, the lecturers have missed it and by God have the students missed it so it’s terrific to have the Country Range Student Chef Challenge back. The lack of competitions has left a huge gap in the learning and enjoyment factor for many hospitality students. After being cooped up for the last 18 months, I’m expecting to see more interest than ever and believe this could be the biggest and best year yet.”
Country Range Group Marketing Manager Kate Bancroft commented:
“From speaking to lecturers and students, there is no doubt the lack of catering competitions has left a serious gap in the experience and enjoyment of hospitality students. As a Group, it is of paramount importance that we continue to nurture and support the next generation of chefs and the incredible colleges and lecturers working behind the scenes so we’re excited at the return of the Country Range Student Chef Challenge in 2022.”
The 2022 Challenge
As always, the Challenge focuses on testing essential core skills and techniques and has been carefully designed in line with the NVQ syllabus to assess both classical and modern cooking techniques.
Each team of three must work together to devise a delicious three-course menu that showcases their technique, knowledge of flavour and teamwork skills.
Consisting of smoked fish canapes, a Guineafowl main course and a tart with a crumble topping for dessert, the dishes need to be prepared, cooked and presented to a high standard within 90 minutes.
Application forms are available now with the deadline for submissions set for the 26th November 2021. A paper judging stage will follow in December before the practical regional heats take place in late January and early February 2022.
The nerve-racking live final will see eight teams cook-off at the returning Hotel, Restaurant & Catering Show at Excel in London on the 22nd March 2022.
The 2020 Winners
A trio of talented chefs from the City of Liverpool College came out on top in the thrilling conclusion in the Live Grand Final in 2020. The three culinary students – Chi-Hin Cheung, Talent Sibindi and Beth Disley-Jones – were under the tutelage of lecturer Ian Jaundoo and wowed the judges with their inventive menu, impressive skills and techniques and ability to stay calm under the watchful eyes of the live audience.
On the experience, Chi-Hin Cheung, said:
“It’s a fantastic competition to be involved in and we’ve all learnt a lot. Whether that’s better time management, menu planning, teamwork or use of ingredients and flavours, we’ve all picked up skills along the way which will prepare us for a future career in the industry but winning is the cherry on top.”
2020 winning lecturer Ian Jaundoo said of the Challenge:
“Winning is great for the student’s CVs, future career prospects and the College’s culinary reputation, but they also master new skills and techniques, and meet other catering students and industry contacts along the way which will put them in good shape for the future.”
For further information and to download an application form, visit www.countryrangestudentchef.co.uk/entry-form/.
About the Country Range Group
With over 25 years of heritage servicing the UK & Ireland’s innovative foodservice sector, the Country Range Group is made up of 12 independent wholesalers – Birchall Foodservice, Blakemore Foodservice, Caterite Foodservice, Creed Foodservice, Dunns Food and Drinks, EFG Foodservice, Harvest Fine Foods, Henderson Foodservice, Savona Foodservice, Thomas Ridley Foodservice, Trevors Foodservice and Turner Price.
In addition to offering the leading brands from around the globe, the Group also provides over 800 products, all developed exclusively for professional caterers under the Country Range brand. 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 Group also publishes its trade magazine Stir it up 10 times a year, which features the latest food, drink and industry news, Country Range brand promotions and in-depth trend reports and sector specific guides to support and inspire all foodservice caterers.