The City of Glasgow College beat nine other colleges to be named the 24th Country Range Student Chef Challenge winners following a live cook-off at Hotelympia in London’s ExCel on Wednesday (7 March).
The winning team which consists of students Erin Sweeney, Jordan McKenzie and Lee Christie and lecturer Robbie Phillips (pictured) impressed judges with their “level of skills, professionalism and creativity on show” during the 90 minutes in which they had to cook a three-course, three-cover menu.
London’s Westminster Kingsway College and Northern Ireland’s South Eastern Regional College took the runner up places on the day finishing second and third respectively.
This year’s theme Around the World in Three Spices meant teams had to use a different fresh or ground spice in each of their courses.
City of Glasgow College’s winning menu consisted of smoked and spiced roe deer with beetroot, radish, grape and hazelnut vinaigrette; seared north sea coley with roast, puréed and marinated cauliflower, seaweed and vadouvan butter; and a fig, coriander, salted pine nut and meringue tart with frozen blood orange yoghurt.
The students each won a bespoke set of three Flint & Flame knives, a trip to the 2018 Universal Cookery & Food Festival in Westlands this September and a one night’s stay and dinner at Michelin-starred restaurant Simpsons in Kenilworth.
Sweeney said: “We still can’t quite believe that we’ve won but we’re completely and utterly over the moon. While it’s been incredibly tough, it’s literally been the best experience of my life. We’ve put in so much effort and I have lost count of the times we have practiced the dishes so we’re thrilled and very proud of the victory. The competition tests all the skills you need to work in a professional kitchen so having this victory on my CV will be a huge help as I look to begin a career in a professional kitchen.”
Chris Basten, Craft Guild of Chefs chair of judges, added: “The standard of cooking by the students increases every year and as we expected there were some incredible dishes and creative menus on show. Each and every team can be proud of the achievements but well done to City of Glasgow who worked brilliantly together as a team and impressed all the judges with their well-balanced, flavour-rich and beautifully presented dishes.”
The 10 competing teams were also marked as part of Hotelympia’s Salon Culinaire by international judging standards with Gold, Silver, Bronze and Merit certificates being handed out.
The full list of teams and awards are:
- City of Glasgow College – Silver – Best in Class – Country Range Student Chef Challenge Champions 2018
- Westminster Kingsway College – Silver – Country Range Student Chef Challenge Second Place 2018
- South Eastern Regional College – Silver – Country Range Student Chef Challenge Third Place 2018
- University of Derby – Bronze
- Highbury College – Bronze
- Loughborough College – Bronze
- Newbury College – Bronze
- North East Scotland College – Bronze
- East Kent College – Merit
- Ayrshire College – Merit