An all-female team from Loughborough College has been victorious in the Country Range Student Chef Challenge.

The talented trio scooped the top award in a highly competitive final against nine other teams at Hotelympia.

The team – Daniella Bromley, Emily Bucknall and Rebecca Brooks under the tutelage of their chef lecturer Darren Creed – are the first all-female winners in the competition’s 22-year history.

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

For the 2015/16 Challenge, which is run in conjunction with the Craft Guild of Chefs, competing teams were asked to go ‘Freestyle’ by presenting a menu that embraces the modern trend for clean, well-portioned and precisely executed cooking. Menus had to be produced using a maximum of £8 worth of ingredients per cover and should be balanced with the three courses working well together.

Darren Creed, chef lecturer of the winning Loughborough College team, said: “I’m over the moon, really happy for them. It’s absolutely fantastic to see females coming through in the industry because it is still very male-dominated All three of them do work in kitchens but to go out there today and compete and do what they did, I’m so happy for them. Winning the Country Range Student Chef Challenge will really set their career off on the right path now.”

The winning team will receive a five-day work experience week assisting the Craft Guild of Chefs culinary team at the Culinary Olympics in Germany.

Coral Rose, managing director of the Country Range Group, said: “The standard of entries this year was incredibly high and we extend our huge congratulations to the team from Loughborough College, who were deserved winners.

“The Country Range Group is extremely proud to sponsor this prestigious competition. We are honoured to be able to champion the chefs of the future and I never cease to be impressed by the range of talent on offer.”

The winning menu

  • Veloute of sweetcorn with seared scallops bacon crumb
  • Slow-cooked Leicestershire veal loin, braised potato, baby turnips, heritage carrots, trumpet mushrooms, cress, star anise jus
  • Chocolate Marquis salted caramel, pulled sugar, hazelnut, vanilla biscuit crumb

Runners-up: Westminster Kingsway College (Harry Whitewood, Charlie Phillips, Kieran McGarrigle)

Bronze medal winners: City of Glasgow College (Nicolle Finnie, Charles Quiambao and Claudia Cozariuc)


  • City of Liverpool College (Gurhesham Singh, Jack Crowder, Lee Mault)
  • Hereford and Ludlow College (Becky Collins, Joe Fear, Shannon Hastings)
  • Hereford and Ludlow College (Nathan Keel, Elliott Emery, Ryan Saville)
  • South Eastern Regional College Downpatrick Campus (David Magee, Marcin Kryston, Gary Russel)
  • Wirral Metropolitan College (Alex Higginson, Lucy Buckley, Lewis Roberts)
  • University of West London (Chelsea Bryce, Max Bird, Andre Maxwell-Ghani)
  • South Eastern Regional College Lisburn Campus (Sean McComiskey, Ian Hilland, Stephen Mullen)

Judges’ comments

“The standard of entries was very good this year but the Loughborough team stood out for the mixture on the plate of textures, colours and definitely seasoning. I think taking part in competitions for students is is very important particularly the Student Challenge because, as a team of three, if they like to work together, they can grow together,” – Christopher Basten, chair of judges

“I’ve been judging for last six years and they just keep getting better. I think all the judges would say these college students deliver fantastic plates of food in very difficult situations. I think it’s a fantastic competition and every single college should be vey proud of what we have seen. We have seen some very special cooking.” – Hayden Groves, competition judge and former National Chef of the Year

“We’re thrilled that the Country Range group is sponsoring this important competition. It is vital that student chefs are giving a platform on which to showcase their talents and learn to perform in a high pressure environment.” – Andrew Green, director of operations, Craft Guild of Chefs