Introducing the Country Range Student Chef Challenge 2023!

What is the 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. The challenge is focussed on testing students' core skills, techniques and knowledge of both classic and modern cooking methods of the last 25 years. Each team will be made up of three full-time hospitality and catering students who must work together to formulate a delicious three-course menu that showcases their technique, knowledge of flavour and teamwork skills. Catering competitions are essential for ambitious chefs who are looking at putting their knowledge and skills to the test against college peers from around England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland under intense competition conditions. This fast paced and high intensity challenge offers a valuable insight into the role of a professional chef and encourages further development. This truly unique opportunity is available to catering college students only.

The 2023 challenge

In 2016 the Country Range brand took over the lead sponsorship of the Student Chef Challenge, the key industry competition ran in conjunction with the Craft Guild of Chefs. This year's challenge is one of the biggest and best yet, focussing on an 'Around the World' cooking theme, whilst encouraging students to research and be inspired by various food formats, flavours and cooking techniques from different cultures and cuisines. Teams of three full-time student chefs studying hospital or catering courses must use their culinary nous, knowledge of flavour and teamwork abilities to devise and produce a great-tasting and skill-showing three-course, four-cover meal focused upon the following cuisines:

Starter - Mexico

Main - Africa

Dessert - Australia

Four portions of each dish will need to be produced in the live heat and final stages of the competition. The dishes need to be prepared, cooked and presented to a high standard within 90 minutes. The judges will mark students on their practical demonstrations, as well as their ability to work together effectively. The students will also be expected to display their knowledge and awareness of hygiene and food safety throughout their working methods. This year, the challenge has been carefully cultivated to tie in with the student syllabus, ensuring that the challenge will provide real world benefit and education to those involved.

Key dates

Live Regional Heats (January - February 2023)

A number of regional heats will be held in easily accessible catering colleges throughout the UK and Ireland. At the heats, the teams of students whose entry makes it through the paper judging stage will compete against other teams working to prepare, cook and present their three-course menus within a 90-minute period. The students will be judged against a national criteria, and the highest scoring teams will go on to compete in the Grand Finals.

The Live Grand Final (Tuesday 21st March 2023)

The live grand final will take place in the Live Theatre at the Hospitality, Catering and Restaurant show at London's ExCel on Tuesday 21st March 2023. The 10 victorious teams from the heats stage will compete at the grand final.

Why you should get involved

The Student Chef Challenge is an excellent opportunity for students to receive recognition for their culinary skills and gain valuable feedback from a panel of expert judges. Competing in industry competitions provides students with vital work experience and insight into the industry, as well as fresh knowledge to carry into their studies. Many other benefits of the challenge include:

  •  Gain valuable experience at an industry recognised event, an excellent addition to any CV
  • Allows students to showcase their own ideas and be recognised by their peers
  • A great opportunity to establish greater relationships with suppliers through sponsorship
  • Develop new skills and experience diverse food styles and presentations

How to enter

To submit your entry for the Country Range Student Chef Challenge 2023, please click on the button below and complete the short form. Once complete, send your entry to