Best in Class – Is your team up to the Challenge?

We are building on the overwhelming success of this year’s Country Range Student Chef Challenge to make next year’s event even bigger and better! We’re inviting chef lecturers from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales to throw their caps in the ring and nominate their teams by registering online now for the 2017 event, which is run in association with the Craft Guild of Chefs.

The Country Range Student Chef Challenge is a great opportunity to showcase the talents of your students and help them gain vital experience in the competition arena. It’s a great competition to consider as a project for next year’s second year students so, before the academic year ends, we’re asking chef lecturers to register their interest for next year’s competition, the final of which will take place at ScotHot in March.

Ian Jaundoo, executive chef, City of Liverpool College, whose team made the final of the 2016 competition, said: “I’ve been involved with competitions for many years and I always put together an annual culinary team at college. The Country Range Student Chef Challenge is one of the main competitions on the college calendar so we always enter it. It’s a high standard and I know the judging will be fair.

“Taking part in the Challenge helps to raise the skill levels of the students and being part of a team encourages responsibility and time management. It’s also important for the students’ CVs to have their certificates because prospective employers will see that they have shown commitment and done that little bit extra.”

And Ian’s advice to fellow lecturers who are considering entering next year? “While you are thinking about it, someone else is doing it! If you feel that you have got students who are capable of entering then apply.”

The Challenge

The Country Range Student Chef Challenge targets teams of three full-time student chefs studying hospitality or catering college courses and requires the preparation, cooking and presentation of a three-course, two-cover menu created around a theme.

The 2016 Winners

The 2016 competition saw the team from Loughborough College claim victory in a hotly contested final held at Hotelympia. The team – Daniella Bromley, Emily Bucknall and Rebecca Brooks under the tutelage of their chef lecturer Darren Creed – were the first all-female winners in the competition’s 22-year history.

Here, Darren explains the benefits of entering the Challenge: “The competition has given the team a real insight into what they can do and given them confidence and belief in themselves. Obviously winning and the prize of going to the Culinary Olympics is fantastic for their CVs and we received so much press coverage for the college, both locally and nationally.

“The important thing is to choose students who are committed and willing to put the time in. As a lecturer I’m there to help and guide them but it has to be their ideas. It was brilliant to see the team’s menu evolve and develop through all of the practices. I would encourage anyone to enter it. It is a lot of hard work and dedication but what you get back from it is worth it – and I would be saying that even if we hadn’t won. The atmosphere on the day of the final was incredible and we loved every minute.”

To register your interest in the 2016/2017 Challenge visit www.countryrangestudent

Click here to read the rest of the June 2016 issue of Stir it up