Country Range Student Chef winners announced

The Country Range Group has named the winners of its Student Chef Challenge 2024 following an finale at the HRC Show at Excel in London.

Paulina Litwin, Libby Thistleton and Cecille Youngs from West Suffolk College were competing against teams from Loughborough College, Cornwall College, New College Durham and Westminster Kingsway and astounded the judges with their creative, on-brief and flavour-driven menu.

Westminster Kingsway’s trio of April Jackson, Luca Delgado and Elliot Tyler clinched second place and the London-based college’s other team Esin Yusuf, Otylia Polczynska and Kamran Taylor took third place.

Read more: Country Range hosts foodservice industry at business development day

Under the watchful eyes of the esteemed judges and a buzzing live theatre audience, the students recreated their three-course, four-cover menu within 90 minutes. The theme for this year’s competition was Love Local and challenged the teams to discover and showcase the best of their local area.

In addition to competing for the Country Range Student Chef Challenge 2023/2024 title, all the finalists were also graded by the International Salon Culinaire to international judging standards with Gold, Silver, Bronze and Merit certificates awarded. The full list of International Salon Culinaire awards was awarded as follows:

West Suffolk College – Gold Best in Class

Westminster Kingsway College – Gold

Westminster Kingsway College – Silver

Cornwall College – Silver

Loughborough College – Bronze

New College Durham – Bronze

Lead Judge Chris Basten from the Craft Guild of Chefs added: “Once again, the standard in the Country Range Student Chef Challenge Grand Final was incredibly high so credit has to go to all of the talented students and also the lecturers who helped them prepare so professionally. The ‘Love Local’ theme was a lovely new element to the brief and you could see how much the students had invested in discovering the incredible ingredients on their own doorsteps. A huge congratulations to West Suffolk College who blew us all away with their teamwork skills, well-thought out menu, precision plating and, most importantly, terrific flavour.”

Graham Caldwell, Country Range Group marketing manager and challenge organiser, said: “It’s a day we always anticipate with excitement and this year’s Country Range Student Chef Challenge Grand Final definitely did not let us down. The skill, technique and creativity on show was truly remarkable and based on what we saw from the students, the future of the hospitality industry is in good hands. Congratulations to the champions from West Suffolk College and the teams from Westminster Kingsway on finishing runners up but on behalf of the whole of the Country Range Group, a massive well done to every team who competed.”

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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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