Welcome to our gallery showcasing the 2023 Country Range Student Chef Challenge! Get ready to see some amazing pictures of the finalist battling it out to be crowned Country Range Student Chef Challenge champions! We’ve captured all the exciting moments for you to enjoy.
The 2022 Student Chef Finalists
After one of the most competitive paper judging stages in the competition’s history, eight college teams have been successful in making the grand final of the returning Country Range Student Chef Challenge 2022. The eight teams who have made it through to the grand final to be held at the Hotel, Restaurant & Catering Show at Excel in London on the 22nd March 2022 include:
- Cambridge Regional College
- Coleg Llandrillo
- City of Glasgow
- New City College
- Loughborough College
- Moray College
- Hertford Regional College
- West Suffolk College
Due to the ongoing uncertainty with COVID 19, the organisers had to take the decision to cancel the practical heats, which were set to follow the paper judging and take place at the end of January and early Feb.
The Grand Final
Following an enthralling live final at the Hotel, Restaurant & Catering (HRC) Show at Excel in London on March 22nd, Sam Paoli, Maria V Carbone and Paulo Dela Cruz of New City College have been crowned winners of the prestigious Country Range Student Chef Challenge 2022.
The trio of chefs triumphed under the watchful eyes of the Craft Guild judges, in intense competition conditions with their inventive and flavoursome menu, supreme cookery skills and tremendous teamwork.
The talented student chefs had to recreate their inventive menu and present them to the judges within 90 minutes in front of a live theatre audience cheering them on.
The New City College team were also awarded gold standard from the HRC and won a once-in-a-lifetime, all-inclusive trip to a Culinary School in Venice.
The team from Hertford Regional College finished in second place (silver standard) and the trio from Loughborough College took third (silver standard).
New City College’s winning menu consisted of:
Seeded tuile, avocado and spinach purée and smoked salmon
Teriyaki marinated smoked eel sushi roll
Potato farl, chive mousse, smoked trout and cucumber pearls
Poached breast of guinea fowl with mousseline, braised leg and leek croquette, wild mushroom and braised barley, shallot purée, pea purée, crispy shallots, buttered petit pois, wild mushroom and guinea fowl jus
Chocolate and orange tartlet, orange streusel, vanilla and orange ice cream, poached orange, orange and Cointreau sauce
Paulo Dela Cruz said:
“The experience was terrifying in parts but a lot of fun at the same time. On arrival, we all put on a brave face but inside we were so nervous. However, as soon as we got into the kitchen our team spirit clicked in, the nerves disappeared and it was actually a lot of fun. To take the trophy home is just a dream come true.”
Sam Paoli added:
“I’m absolutely speechless and can’t believe this has happened. We tried our dishes after and we all thought they were the best we had produced so we were happy enough but to win is just incredible.”
Maria V Carbone continued:
“I’m not sure it has sunk in yet – it’s just amazing. We had been practising hard every week since October so it’s great that our dedication definitely paid off. I think the key to our success was keeping calm and not panicking. As a team, we have spent a lot of time together so we always felt in control but to win a prestigious competition like this is just fabulous!”
Winning lecturer Jeff Mason said:
“I’m totally blown away and quite emotional to be honest. I’m just so happy for the trio as they have put in a huge amount of effort and have worked and supported each other so closely. They’re a huge credit to the me, the college and London, and I have no doubt they have big careers in hospitality ahead of them.”
Craft Guild of Chefs Chairman of Judges Chris Basten said:
“A huge congratulations to the New City College team on a marvellous and deserving victory. Each dish on their menu was well-executed, flavour-packed and showed real skill and creativity. To come to the Hotel, Restaurant & Catering Show’s kitchens for the first time and cook to that standard is a fantastic achievement and one which all three of the chefs should be extremely proud of.”
In addition to the glory of winning the crown and a trip to Italy, the successful team in 2022 also received the following prizes:
- An overnight stay and meal at a Michelin star restaurant
- A stage working and learning what Michelin-level cooking is all about
- A free media publicity campaign around the winners, their dishes and the college
- Each of the team members received a Country Range Student Chef Challenge engraved Flint & Flame knife
- The winning lecturer and the two runner-up teams also received special Flint & Flame knives
Want To Get Involved In Next Years Country Range Student Chef Challenge?
Following the great success from previous Student Chef Challenges, the team behind the competition are proud to announce that the theme for this year’s competition is “Love Local”. Find out more about this years theme and the 2024 Country Range Student Chef Challenge.