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24th March 2022

Country Range Student Chef Challenge announces 2022 champions

Written by: Edward Waddell
Following a live final at the Hotel, Restaurant & Catering (HRC) Show at Excel in London on March 22nd, Sam Paoli, Maria V Carbone and Paulo Dela Cruz of New City College have been crowned winners of the Country Range Student Chef Challenge 2022.

The trio of chefs, under the guidance of lecturer Jeff Mason, triumphed under the watchful eyes of the Craft Guild of Chefs judges in competition conditions with their ‘inventive and flavoursome menu, supreme cookery skills and tremendous teamwork’.

Competing against seven other colleges from around the UK, the student chefs had to recreate their menus and present them to the Craft Guild of Chefs judges within 90 minutes in front of a live theatre audience cheering them on. 

Winning lecturer Mason said: “I’m totally blown away and quite emotional to be honest. I’m just so happy for the trio as they have put in a huge amount of effort and have worked and supported each other so closely. They’re a huge credit to the me, the college and London, and I have no doubt they have big careers in hospitality ahead of them.”  

The team from Hertford Regional College finished in second place (silver standard) and the trio from Loughborough College took third (silver standard).  

New City College’s winning menu consisted of: 

  • Canapes: seeded tuile, avocado and spinach purée and smoked salmon, teriyaki marinated smoked eel sushi roll & potato farl, chive mousse, smoked trout and cucumber pearls.   
  • Main: poached breast of guinea fowl with mousseline, braised leg and leek croquette, wild mushroom and braised barley, shallot purée, pea purée, crispy shallots, buttered petit pois, wild mushroom and guinea fowl jus.
  • Dessert: chocolate and orange tartlet, orange streusel, vanilla and orange ice cream, poached orange, orange and Cointreau sauce.  

Craft Guild of Chefs Chairman of Judges Chris Basten said: “A huge congratulations to the New City College team on a marvellous and deserving victory. Each dish on their menu was well-executed, flavour-packed and showed real skill and creativity. To come to the Hotel, Restaurant & Catering Show’s kitchens for the first time and cook to that standard is a fantastic achievement and one which all three of the chefs should be extremely proud of.” 

In addition to the glory of winning and their certificates and medals, the successful team in 2022 also received the following prizes: 

  • An overnight stay and meal at a Michelin star restaurant 
  • A stage working and learning what Michelin-level cooking is all about 
  • A free media publicity campaign around the winners, their dishes and the college 
  • Each of the team members received a Country Range Student Chef Challenge engraved Flint & Flame knife 
  • The winning lecturer and the two runner-up teams also received special Flint & Flame knives