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Craft Guild of Chefs Chairman of Judges Urges Lecturers and Students To Get Competing Again

Believing it to be one of the best and most rewarding experiences for college catering students, Craft Guild of Chefs Chairman of Judges Chris Basten is urging lecturers to enter teams in to this year’s Country Range Student Chef Challenge (@countryrangeuk).    

With much of the practical teaching in college kitchens and competitions disrupted these past few years due to Covid-19, the Country Range Student Chef Challenge is proud to be back in 2022 with the deadline for entries closing on the 26th November 2021.  

For some added tips and insight to into this year’s theme, Chris has just released a trio of videos to help the students prepare and put their menus and applications together. Visit Country Range Student Challenge 2021 22 – YouTube

On the value the Challenge provides to students in finding work in kitchens, Chris Basten commented: 

“Employers embrace this competition and the experience it provides. They recognise the skills, practise, determination and temperament required to succeed so it certainly helps job prospects. In addition, the competition can really help to boost a chef’s profile and the opportunity to work as a team is fantastic preparation for a career in a professional kitchen. There is so much going on and under intense pressure so it definitely helps makes you a better planner, leader and all-round cook.” 

Taking students out of their comfort zone, the Challenge assesses core kitchen and teamwork skills with teams of three full-time hospitality and catering students working together to devise a delicious three-course menu.  

This year’s menu must consist 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.  

On this year’s theme, Chris Basten continued: 

“It’s vital to us that the Challenge and the theme is closely linked to the actual skills and techniques that chefs are being taught in colleges around the UK so we closely follow the VRQ syllabus in professional cookery. The world of small plates has definitely been an exciting area of cooking these past few years so the canape round should offer something different and allow the chefs to express their creativity in a miniature form. Guineafowl isn’t the easiest of birds to prepare and cook perfectly so I’m intrigued to see how the chefs approach it to ensure it stays beautifully moist and not dry. As for the crumble tart, it’s a classic and sounds easy but it will test their vital pastry skills. Who’s up for the challenge?”

Key Dates 

  • Paper judging deadline – 26th November 2021.   
  • Paper judging – early December 2021. 
  • Practical regional heats – late January and early February 2022.  
  • Challenge Live Final at the Hotel, Restaurant & Catering Show at Excel in London – 22nd March 2022.  


After clinching victory in the 2020 Country Range Student Chef Challenge live final, the talented trio from the City of Liverpool College were finally able to enjoy their prize last month following a series of delays due to Covid-19.     

Chi-Hin Cheung, Talent Sibindi and Beth Disley-Jones were all reunited alongside lecturer Ian Jaundoo and Chris Basten for the visit to the award-winning Moor Hall Restaurant With Rooms.  Based In Ormskirk, Moor Hall is under the leadership of chef Mark Birchall and holds two Michelin stars and five AA Rosettes.   

The Student Chef Challenge winners were treated to a three-course meal at the stylish restaurant and were also given the opportunity to meet Mark and his team.  

Once again in 2022, some great prizes are on offer including: 

  • An overnight stay and meal at a Michelin star restaurant 
  • A stage working with the talented team and learning what Michelin-level cooking is all about at the same restaurant 
  • A free media publicity campaign around the winners, their dishes and the college.  
  • The winning lecturer and the two runner-up teams will receive special Flint & Flame knives.   

To find out more and to register, click the link.

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