Country Range crowns Student Chef Challenge winners at HRC

Following a 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, under the guidance of lecturer Jeff Mason, triumphed under the watchful eyes of the Craft Guild of Chefs judges in intense competition conditions with their inventive and flavoursome menu, supreme cookery skills and tremendous teamwork.

Competing against seven other colleges from around the UK, the talented student chefs had to recreate their menus and present them to the Craft Guild of Chefs judges within 90 minutes in front of a live theatre audience cheering them on.

Read more: Country Range unveils 2022 plans as it celebrates three decades in business

As well as claiming the prestigious Country Range Student Chef Challenge title, the New City College team were also awarded gold standard from the HRC. 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

Country Range Group Head of Marketing and Challenge Organiser Emma Holden said:  “Well done to the team at New City College for coming out on top in the Challenge. It was an intense final and the standard on show from all the chefs was terrific. All finalist teams should be extremely proud of reaching the finals which is a fantastic achievement in itself.”

Country Range Student Chef Challenge 
The Country Range Student Chef Challenge is a prestigious culinary competition which has become a firm fixture in the catering industry’s calendar.

Run in partnership with the Craft Guild of Chefs, who provide competition-standard judging and detailed feedback to the students, it has played a huge role in developing young chefs and talent around the UK.

The teams, each made up of three talented young chefs from colleges around the UK, had to devise a delicious three-course menu consisting of smoked fish canapes, a guineafowl main course and a tart with a crumble topping for dessert.

The applications had to include the full menus with recipes and costings, methodology showing menu development and images of the dishes they devised.

In addition to the glory of winning and their certificates and medals, 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

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Paul Hill is the Editor of Better Wholesaling. He can be found on Twitter at @BW_PaulHill, or contacted via and 07960935659.


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