We are the lead sponsors of the key industry competition ‘The Country Range Student Chef Challenge’ run in conjunction with the Craft Guild of Chefs. We are committed to working with the Craft Guild of Chefs, colleges and lecturers to provide a platform for the next generation of chefs to build and showcase their culinary skills and gain invaluable experience within a well-established competition format.

"We are delighted to support this well-respected competition. It is important that students are given the opportunity to showcase their skills within the industry.  The Student Chef competition not only does this but, throughout the course of the competition, provides further support and development of their talent. We are excited to be working with the colleges, students and the Craft Guild of Chefs to build an even greater event."

Coral Rose, Managing Director of Country Range Group

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the prestigious Country Range Student Chef Challenge has officially launched for 2019 with lecturers and college students being urged to enter and make history in the kitchen.

The annual Country Range Student Chef Challenge has become the pinnacle for full-time hospitality and catering college students across the whole of the UK and Ireland looking to showcase their culinary prowess and creativity while developing “real life” catering skills and experience under intense pressure situations.

Run in collaboration with the Craft Guild of Chefs, the challenge has played a huge role in developing young chefs and talent around the UK for a quarter of a century.

As part of the prize for this special anniversary year and to entice the UK’s best student chefs and colleges, 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.

To win the much-sought-after title, 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 Criteria

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

For full details of the Challenge, criteria and where you can get your sample of the Country Range Chocolate Drops visit www.countryrangestudentchef.co.uk You can register your interest in entering the Challenge online to be the first to receive an entry pack

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.

Emma Holden, Country Range Student Chef Challenge Organiser, said

Following the success of last year’s competition and finale at Hotelympia, we’re thrilled to launch the 2019 Challenge and are calling on college lecturers and students from all over the UK to help us make the 25th competition our best yet. It’s vital that college catering students are given the platform to showcase their skills and creativity and the Country Range Student Chef Challenge does exactly that, while also allowing them to gain real competition experience. However, it’s not just students that it’s beneficial for though as a win for a college can go a long way in helping their catering department develop a first-class reputation.”

Chris Basten, Chairman of Judges at the Craft Guild of Chefs, said:

It’s been 25 years since the launch of the Country Range Student Chef Challenge and the competition has become an important platform for student chefs to demonstrate their culinary skills to key influencers and employers in the sector. I’d urge as many colleges and students as possible to get involved as the benefits really are endless. The standard of cooking gets better and better each year so I’m already excited at the thought of what will be presented by the young chefs in 2019.

The 2018 Challenge Winners

Winners from 2018 were Erin Sweeney, Jordan McKenzie and Lee Christie from City Glasgow College.

In addition to taking home the much-coveted title, the City of Glasgow College team also each won a bespoke set of three Flint & Flame knives, a trip to the 2018 Universal Cookery & Food Festival, Westlands, in September 2018 and they will be treated to one night’s accommodation and dinner at Michelin-starred restaurant Simpsons in Kenilworth.

Winning team member Erin Sweeney, who was competing in the challenge for the second year, said:

We still can’t quite believe that we’ve won but we’re completely and utterly over the moon. While it’s been incredibly tough, it’s literally been the best experience of my life. We’ve put in so much effort and I have lost count of the times we have practised the dishes so we’re thrilled and very proud of the victory. The competition tests all the skills you need to work in a professional kitchen so having this victory on my CV will be a huge help as I look to begin a career in a professional kitchen.


Are you up to the Challenge?
Find out more about the Challenge and to find out how you can enter the 2018/2019 competition visit