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26th August 2022

Registration opens for Country Range Student Chef Challenge 2023

Written by: Edward Waddell
College lecturers across the UK are being urged to enter a team of aspiring chefs into the next instalment of the Country Range Student Chef Challenge.

Run in collaboration with the Craft Guild of Chefs, who provide competition-standard judging and vital feedback to the students throughout the process, the Country Range Student Chef Challenge has been running for over 25 years.

This year’s theme is ‘Around the World’ encouraging students to research and be inspired by various food formats, flavours and cooking techniques from different cultures and cuisines.  

Lead judge Chris Basten from the Craft Guild of Chefs said: “Having taken part in countless culinary competitions throughout my career, I can’t stress how important they are for young chefs looking to make a name for themselves in the hospitality industry. They help make you a better planner, leader and all-round cook, while the competition can also really help to boost a chef’s profile.

“I’m thrilled to be lead judge for the challenge again and am already getting excited thinking about some of the dishes that could be presented. I would urge any college lecturers to enter teams in to the challenge as I believe it’s one of the best and most rewarding experiences for college catering students.” 

The victorious trio will win a set of special Flint & Flame knives, an overnight stay and meal at a Michelin star restaurant as well as a stage working with the talented team and learning what Michelin-level cooking is all about.

Emma Holden, Country Range Group head of marketing, added: “It’s always a special time of the year when we launch the Country Range Student Chef Challenge and these types of student competitions have become even more important, considering the staff and skill shortages we’re seeing across catering. 

“The challenge provides a fantastic platform for students to showcase their skills and talent and is the perfect opportunity for them to improve, test themselves against the best and experience what life in a fast-paced kitchen is all about. It can also add huge value to their CV’s and career prospects too as a number of our previous entrants have gone on to work in top catering establishments.

“With our industry facing a severe skills shortage, it’s vital that the Country Range Group continues to support and nurture the next generation of chefs and help the incredible colleges and lecturers working behind the scenes.” 

Each course focuses upon a different cuisine: 

  • Starter – Mexico 
  • Main – Africa 
  • Dessert – Australia 

Four portions of each will need to be produced in the live heat and final stages of the competition, if the teams are successful in reaching those stages. The dishes need to be prepared, cooked and presented to a high standard within 90 minutes. 

The deadline for entries has been set for the 30th November 2022 and application forms are available to download from 1st September 2022. A paper judging stage will take place in December with regional heats beginning in January 2023.  

The Country Range Student Chef Grand Final will be held at Hotel, Restaurant & Catering Show at Excel in London on Tuesday 21st March 2023.