A trio of talented chefs from The City of Liverpool College came out on top in the Live Grand Final of the Country Range Student Chef Challenge 2019/2020, which is run in conjunction with the Craft Guild of Chefs at the Hospitality, Restaurant and Catering Show (HRC).

The three culinary students – Chi-Hin Cheung, Talent Sibindi and Beth Disley-Jones – were under the tutelage of lecturer Ian Jaundoo and wowed the judges with their inventive menu, impressive skills and techniques and ability to stay calm under the watchful eyes of the live audience.

The theme for the prestigious Country Range Student Chef Challenge 2019/20 focused on how students can use classic techniques and skills to maximise the use of ingredients, whilst also reducing food waste.

The City of Liverpool College students’ menu was first scrutinised by Craft Guild of Chefs Chairman of Judges Chris Basten in December in a strict paper judging stage, before the students were tasked with recreating it in a live semi-final heat at the City of Glasgow College. After advancing through to the Live Grand Final, the team then competed against nine other teams from colleges around the UK and Ireland.

The City of Liverpool College’s winning menu consisted of:

Starter – Filets de Sole Bretonne with Beurre Blanc Sauce, Vegetable Julienne, Turned Mushroom and Lace Tuile

Main – Cajun Spiced Pork Medallion with Savoy Milanaise, Pork and Apple Croquette, Buttered Mash and Robert Sauce

Dessert – Lemon Tart with Sesame Sable, Italian Meringue, Lemon Gel and Raspberry Foam

Chi-Hin Cheung, part of The City of Liverpool College’s winning team, said:

“We’re absolutely thrilled to have won and I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet. We weren’t expecting to win but I think it helped us in the end as it calmed the nerves and allowed us to focus on our tasks.

“Cooking in front of a live audience was daunting at first but as the final progressed, we all really embraced the support of the crowd and enjoyed the experience. It’s been a fantastic competition to be involved in and we’ve all learnt a lot. Whether that’s better time management, menu planning, teamwork or use of ingredients and flavours, we’ve all picked up skills along the way which will prepare us for a future career in the industry, but winning is the cherry on top.”

The City of Liverpool College Executive Chef and Culinary Team Manager Ian Jaundoo (a Fellow of the Craft Guild of Chefs and a Master Chef of Great Britain), added:

“I’m delighted that the team has won a major culinary competition like the Country Range Student Chef Challenge. Although it’s our third team entering, the students are normally used to competing individually so to win as a team of three is a remarkable achievement and they should all be very proud.

“They’ve planned their menu from start to finish, making tweaks along the way after the semi-final heat in Glasgow following feedback from the judges, so to triumph in the final is just brilliant and a credit to them and their hard work.

“Obviously winning is great for their CV, future career prospects and the college’s culinary reputation, but they’ve also mastered new skills and techniques, and met other catering students and industry contacts along the way which will put them in good shape for the future.”

Craft Guild of Chefs Chairman of Judges Chris Basten said:

“A huge congratulations to The City of Liverpool College on winning the Country Range Student Chef Challenge 2019/20 title. Their menu showed fantastic creativity, flavours and taste, whilst also ticking every box on this year’s theme by maximising their ingredients and reducing their food waste while working.

“Perhaps the hardest part and their biggest achievement was that they managed to replicate it all under the watchful eyes of the judges when it mattered in the Live Grand Final. Well done to all the teams who competed in the final as all the menus showed great planning and execution.”