Country Range Student Chef Challenge 2017/2018 Semi-Final Heats Announced

After an extremely tough judging session, sixteen college teams from around the UK have been announced as the Country Range Student Chef 2018 semi-finalists.

The three semi-finals will take place at Loughborough College, Highbury College and City of Glasgow on the 1st, 7th and 9th February respectively.

1st February 2018

Loughborough College

City College Norwich

City of Liverpool College

College of West Anglia

Loughborough College

Gloucestershire College

University of Derby

7th February 2018

Highbury College


East Kent College

Highbury College

Newbury College

Waltham Forrest

Westminster Kingsway


9th February 2018

City of Glasgow College

Ayrshire College

City of Glasgow College

Newcastle College

North East Scotland College

SERC (Downpatrick) College


With ten teams qualifying for the Live Grand Final at Hotelympia 2018, the sixteen semi-finalists will cook off under intense competition conditions under the watchful eye of Craft Guild of Chefs Chairman of Judges Chris Basten and challenge organiser Emma Holden of the Country Range Group.

Now in its 24th year, the annual Country Range Student Chef Challenge has become the pinnacle for full-time hospitality college students looking to develop skills and showcase their culinary prowess and creativity.

The challenge requires each team of three students to develop and cook a three-course, three-cover menu in 90 minutes. This year’s theme is ‘Around the World in Three Spices’ with teams having to use a different fresh or ground spice in each of their courses.

The Live Grand Final will take place on Wednesday 7th March 2018 between 11:00am – 12:30pm in front of an exhibition audience at Hotelympia 2018 – the UK’s largest foodservice and hospitality event.

In addition to taking home the much-coveted title, the three victorious students will each win 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:

“The standard of entrants this year has been remarkably high and the menus put forward by the student chefs sound absolutely delicious so I’m very excited to see the finished dishes and try the food. The paper judging standard increases every single year so it’s now up to the teams to deal with the pressure and ensure they can do the menus and ingredients they have chosen justice.”

Chris Basten, Craft Guild of Chefs Chairman of Judges, commented:

“Spice themes always ensure creativity so it’s brilliant to see such innovative uses of different spices across the menus. Balancing spices in dishes is a tough skill so it’s obvious a lot of testing and preparation has been put into the applications. Congratulations to everyone who applied as each and every application had merit but unfortunately only 16 can make it through so a well done to them.”