Student Chef Challenge

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 the 2019/2020 the Challenge criteria focused on the essential core skills and techniques will test the student’s knowledge of both classical cooking and the more modern methods of the last 25 years.

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

•  A flat fish, filleted and a sauce made from the bones. The dish must be served with an appropriate garnish and must include one turned mushroom per portion.

•  Three bone loin of pork, the eye of the meat must be used. The trim is to be used for a separate element e.g. faggot kebab or pie.  The dish must be served with an appropriate garnish including starch, vegetable and sauce.

•  A lemon tart with a modern twist.

Each team must utilise at least one Country Range brand ingredient within each cours from the list available here.

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

It’s been 27 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 2020 Challenge Winners

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.

The theme for the prestigious Country Range Student Chef Challenge 2019/20 focused on how students can use classic techniques and skills to maximise the use of ingredients, whilst also reducing food waste.

The City of Liverpool College students’ menu was first scrutinised by Craft Guild of Chefs Chairman of Judges Chris Basten in December in a strict paper judging stage before the students were then tasked with recreating it in a live semi-final heat at the City of Glasgow College on 6th February 2020. After advancing through to the Live Grand Final, the team then competed against nine other teams from colleges around the UK and Ireland.

The City of Liverpool College winning menu consisted of:

  • Starter – Filets de Sole Bretonne with Beurre Blanc Sauce, Vegetable Julienne, Turned Mushroom and Lace Tuile
  • Main – Cajun Spiced Pork Medallion with Savoy Milanaise, Pork and Apple Croquette, Buttered Mash and Robert Sauce
  • Dessert – Lemon Tart with Sesame Sable, Italian Meringue, Lemon Gel and Raspberry Foam

Chi-Hin Cheung, part of the winning City of Liverpool College team, said:

“We’re absolutely thrilled to have won and I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet. We weren’t expecting to win but I think it helped us in the end as it calmed the nerves and allowed us to focus on our tasks. Cooking in front of a live audience was daunting at first but as the final progressed, we all really embraced the support of the crowd and enjoyed the experience. It’s been 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.”

Are you up to the Challenge?
Find out more about the Challenge please visit