After three tense and highly competitive semi-final heats, eight college teams have moved a step closer to being crowned the Country Range Student Chef 2018/19 winners after being announced as finalists for the Grand Final at ScotHot.

The colleges to make the final are:

  • Ayrshire College
  • Carlisle College
  • City of Glasgow College
  • Coventry College
  • Loughborough College
  • Newcastle College
  • South Eastern Regional College (SERC)
  • University of Derby

The eight successful teams will now face off at Scotland’s biggest food and drink show on March 13th 2019 where they will be tasked with recreating their three-course, four-cover menu in just 90 minutes in front of a live exhibition crowd.

The semi-final heats took place on February 1st at Loughborough College and February 7th at the City of Glasgow College and saw teams compete against each other under the watchful eye of judges from the Craft Guild of Chefs.

This year’s theme focuses on the core skills and techniques studied on a second-year professional cookery course, testing the students’ knowledge of both classical cooking and the more modern methods of the last 25 years.

The standard of cooking in all three heats and by all college teams was outstanding with some fabulous skills, techniques, tastes and flavours on show.

Chris Basten, the Craft Guild of Chefs’ Chairman of Judges, said:

“A huge well done to the eight finalists and good luck to them all in the final stage at ScotHot. The quality of dishes presented by the students was sensational, showing real technique, creativity and attention to detail with every ingredient. If this is a sign of what’s to come then I can’t wait for the final.”

Country Range Student Chef Challenge Organiser Emma Holden agreed and added:

“The standard of cooking by the students was absolutely amazing with the level of skills shown getting better every Challenge. This year’s theme tests the student’s knowledge of both classical and modern cooking and we definitely saw some fantastic creativity and flavours with their dishes. It’s all set up for a fantastic finale at ScotHot!”

Country Range Student Chef Challenge

The long-running Country Range Student Chef Challenge provides full-time hospitality and catering college students with the perfect platform to improve cooking skills, knowledge and technique, while developing real life experience under intense pressure and competition situations.

Run in partnership with the Craft Guild of Chefs, who provide competition-standard judging and detailed feedback to the students, the 2018 Challenge was won by a team of students from the City of Glasgow College.

The Challenge, Criteria and Prize

Teams of three students are required to plan, prepare and execute a three-course, four-cover menu in 90 minutes. The Challenge criteria is focusing on the essential core skills and techniques studied on a second-year professional cookery course and will test student’s knowledge of both classical cooking and the more modern methods of the last 25 years.

Eight victorious teams from the semi-final heats will compete at the grand final, which will take place on the 13th March 2019 in the Live Theatre of ScotHot – Scotland’s largest hospitality and tourism show.

The cost per cover is £8 and the menus must include:

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

The prize for the winning team for this special anniversary year is a day work experience placement at a Michelin-starred restaurant, as well as being taken on foodie tour of London which includes a guided tour of the capital’s famous Billingsgate Market where they will be taught fish filleting skills by the resident master fishmonger.

For full details of the Challenge and criteria, visit

About Country Range

With over 25 years of heritage servicing the UK’s innovative foodservice sector, Country Range is the leading independent foodservice brand and now offers over 750 products, all developed exclusively for professional caterers. Covering grocery, chilled, frozen and non-food, Country Range is widely recognised by caterers as a trusted and reliable brand delivering consistent quality and value for money without compromising on taste and flavour. The brand is developed and produced by the Country Range Group and is distributed exclusively by the 12 independent wholesalers that make up the Group.


Twitter: @countryrangeuk