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 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.
Commenting on the win, Alan Coats said:
“We’re over the moon to win to the Country Range Student Chef Challenge in front of a home crowd at ScotHot. Getting through to the semi-final stage was an achievement in itself but to win outright is just brilliant. The challenge was a real test of the core cookery skills we learn at college and combined with the experience of cooking in front of a live exhibition audience is something I’ll never forget. We worked very hard on the planning of the menu and practised as much as we could in the lead-up to the final so to triumph at the end is extremely rewarding.”
Winning Lecturer Robbie Phillips agreed adding:
“After winning the title last year and with the finals taking place in Glasgow, there was a little bit more pressure on myself and the team so I’m absolutely delighted that they have won. The amount of effort they put into their menus was incredible so it’s a credit to them as they all gave up their free time to practise alongside their busy college studies and part-time jobs. The brief this year has been really interesting and challenging for the students, and I’m just so proud of the team that they managed to come out on top. Not only is it fantastic for their future careers in the industry but it also helps reinforce the outstanding reputation the college has for professional cookery.”
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.”
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.
For full details of the Challenge and criteria, visit www.countryrangestudentchef.co.uk