Student chefs urged to showcase talent

Last year's winners with their victorious certificates.
Last year's winners with their victorious certificates.

Young Lancastrian chefs are being urged to show off their culinary dexterity by food and drink supplier Birchall Foodservice.

The Burnley-based company is throwing its support behind the county’s catering students and lecturers from colleges in the region, suggesting they 'take the challenge' and enter the 23rd annual Country Range Student Chef Challenge.

The award-winning business, based on Burnley Bridge Business Park, is a founder member of the Country Range Group, which is sponsoring the event, and hopes to see Lancashire’s finest student chefs showcasing their blossoming talent.

Birchall Foodservice is an independent, family-owned business, which was established in 1939, while company founder George Chichester Birchall opened an off-licence in Abel Street, in Burnley, in 1915.

Run in collaboration with the Craft Guild of Chefs, the annual Country Range Student Chef Challenge has become the pinnacle for full-time hospitality and catering college students looking to demonstrate their culinary prowess and creativity, while developing 'real life' catering skills and experience under intense pressure situations.

Louise Birchall, sales and marketing director at the fifth generation family business, said: “Lancashire has a fantastic reputation for cultivating some incredible chefs so we’re delighted to be supporting this competition which will hopefully help unearth and develop the next generation.

“The challenge is the ultimate for students wanting a career in catering and for colleges it can provide incredible free promotion and publicity. With some brilliant college catering courses in the county, we would love to see one of them win the challenge so we are urging more lecturers, colleges and students to get involved.”

The 2016/17 challenge will see teams of three students tasked with creating, preparing, and cooking a three-course, three-cover menu around the theme ‘Healthy Gourmet Fine Dining’, and the live final will take place on March 15 at ScotHot, Scotland’s biggest food, drink, and hospitality show.

In addition to taking home the much-coveted title, the victorious team will also win the unique opportunity to work with the Guild’s culinary team in catering for over a thousand guests at the Craft Guild of Chefs Annual Awards 2017.

Darren Creed, lecturer at Loughborough College and mentor of the 2016 winners, said: “I would encourage anyone to enter it. It is a lot of hard work and dedication but what you get back from it is worth it – and I would be saying that even if we hadn’t won. The atmosphere on the day of the final was incredible and we loved every minute.”

The closing date for entries is November 28th and more details are at www.countryrangestudentchef.co.uk.