Country Range student chefs gear up for the Challenge semi-finals

Sixteen teams are through to the Country Range Student Chef Challenge 2018 semi-final: They are: Ayrshire College; City of Liverpool College; City College Norwich; City of Glasgow College; College of West Anglia; East Kent College; Gloucestershire College; Highbury College; Loughborough College; Newbury College; Newcastle College; North East Scotland College; SERC (Downpatrick) College; University of Derby; Waltham Forrest and Westminster Kingsway.

The semi-finals take place on three dates in January teams will cook off in intense competition conditions under the watchful eye of Craft Guild of Chefs Chairman of Judges Chris Basten and challenge organiser Emma Holden of the Country Range Group. Ten teams will qualify for the Live Grand Final at Hotelympia 2018 on the March 7.

Now in its 24th year, the annual Country Range Student Chef Challenge is billed as “the pinnacle” for full-time hospitality college students looking to develop skills and showcase their culinary prowess and creativity.

The challenge requires each team of three students to develop and cook a three-course, three-cover menu in 90 minutes. This year’s theme is ‘Around the World in Three Spices’ with teams having to use a different fresh or ground spice in each of their courses.

In addition to taking home the title, the three victorious students will each win a bespoke set of three Flint & Flame knives, a trip to the 2018 Universal Cookery & Food Festival, Westlands, in September 2018 and treated to one night’s accommodation and dinner at Michelin-starred restaurant Simpsons in Kenilworth.

Emma Holden, organiser of the Country Range Student Chef Challenge, said: “The standard of entrants this year has been remarkably high and the menus put forward by the student chefs sound absolutely delicious so I’m very excited to see the finished dishes and try the food. The paper judging standard increases every single year so it’s now up to the teams to deal with the pressure and ensure they can do the menus and ingredients they have chosen justice.”

Chris Basten, Craft Guild of Chefs’ chairman of judges, commented: “Spice themes always ensure creativity so it’s brilliant to see such innovative uses of different spices across the menus. Balancing spices in dishes is a tough skill so it’s obvious a lot of testing and preparation has been put into the applications. Congratulations to everyone who applied as each and every application had merit but unfortunately only 16 can make it through so a well done to them.”

For further information on the challenge visit –

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