A talented team of catering students from City of Glasgow College is celebrating after winning the coveted Country Range Student Chef Challenge 2018.

Following an enthralling final played under the watchful eye of a live exhibition audience at Hotelympia, the trio from City of Glasgow College, along with their chef lecturer Robbie Phillips, fought off fierce competition from nine other colleges to scoop the prestigious crown. The victorious team, which consists of Erin Sweeney, Jordan McKenzie and Lee Christie, came out on top in a highlycompetitive final where they were required to cook a threecourse, three-cover menu in 90 minutes.

Winning team member Erin Sweeney, who was competing in the challenge for the second year, said: “We still can’t quite believe that we’ve won but we’re completely and utterly over the moon. While it’s been incredibly tough, it’s literally been the best experience of my life. “We’ve put in so much effort and I have lost count of the times we have practised the dishes so we’re thrilled and very proud of the victory. The competition tests all the skills you need to work in a professional kitchen so having this victory on my CV will be a huge help as I look to begin a career in a professional kitchen.”

City of Glasgow College lecturer Robbie Phillips was equally proud. He said: “I’m very proud of my team and what they have accomplished. They’ve worked so hard together as a team, they’ve shown amazing technical ability and a desire to improve so they thoroughly deserve it. Glasgow maybe didn’t have the best reputation for food but thanks to our colleague Gary McClean (winner of MasterChef: The Professionals 2016) and a buzzing food scene in the city, that has all changed. The team’s win is further proof that Glasgow is not only a key fine food destination but it’s a city that is producing talented young chefs.”

In addition to taking home the much-coveted title, the City of Glasgow College team also each won a bespoke set of three Flint & Flame knives, a trip to the 2018 Universal Cookery & Food Festival, Westlands, in September 2018 and they will be 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: “A huge congratulations to the City of Glasgow College team on winning this year’s hotly-contested competition. Not only did Erin, Jordan and Lee show they could handle the pressure of cooking in front of a live exhibition audience but their dishes were incredible and wowed the judges when it came to taste. The standard shown in this year’s competition has been amazing so a big thanks to all the teams and lecturers for all their effort