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10th December 2018

Country Range opens 25th Student Chef Challenge

Written by: Katie Imms
Now in its 25th year, Country Range has opened its 2019 Student Chef Challenge – calling on lecturers and college students across the country to enter.

Run in collaboration with the Craft Guild of Chefs, the annual contest is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year and the huge role it has played in developing young chefs and talent around the UK.

To enter, teams of three must plan, prepare and execute a three-course, four cover meal (at no more than £8 per cover) in 90 minutes.

The 2018/19 criteria focuses on essential core skills and techniques studied on a second year professional cookery course, testing students’ knowledge of classical and more modern cooking methods of the past 25 years.

Menus must include:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Classically creative dessert with a modern twist that contains at least 30% of Country Range Chocolate Drops

To be in with chance of winning the special 25th anniversary prize - a day work placement at a Michelin-starred restaurant and foodie tour of London, including a tour of Billingsgate Market where they will be taught fish filleting skills by the resident master fishmonger – entrants must submit by 30 November.

All paper entries will be judged by the Craft Guild with the winning teams going head to head in regional heats in January 2019. The finalists will then compete on 13 March at ScotHot.

Challenge prganiser Emma Holden, said: “Following the success of last year’s competition, 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 as a win for a college can go a long way in helping its catering department develop a first-class reputation.”

Chris Basten, chairman of judges at the Craft Guild of Chefs, added: “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 by what the young chefs will present in 2019.”

For full details and to get your entry pack and sample of the Country Range Chocolate Drops, visit