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British Culinary Federation Student Competitions

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Lauren Smith BCF Student Chef of the Year 2023

The BCF Student Chef of the Year competition took place at University College Birmingham on Wednesday 22 November 2023. Finalists were required to produce a three-course menu for two covers in two hours, consisting of a starter suitable for a vegetarian diet, main course using cod and Dessert of their choice.


Lauren Smith of University College Birmingham, mentored by Martin Hodgetts, was named the winner and lifted the trophy at the end of a very successful, challenging and rewarding day.


Lauren received the John Peart Memorial Trophy, Gold medal, winner’s Certificate, cheque for £150 and a set of chef knives courtesy of Contacto, with the College presented with a Stick Blender, generously donated by Robot Coupe.


Second Place was awarded to Gabriele Mesko of Walsall College, mentored by Rebecca Bourne. Gabriele won a Silver medal, cheque for £100, certificate and a set of chef knives courtesy of Contacto,


Third Place was awarded to Lottie Gentile from Truro and Penwith College, mentored by Andy Offland. Lottie won a Bronze medal, certificate, cheque for £100 and a set of chef knives courtesy of Contacto.


All competitors in the final were given one year’s free membership of the British Culinary Federation, a BCF embroidered apron, a framed finalist’s certificate, Dispenser from Wrapmaster and a gift from Contacto.

Student Cook and Serve Team Challenge winners

University College Birmingham were named the winners of the 2024 Student Cook and Serve Team Challenge.


The competition took place at Walsall College, Birmingham on Wednesday 17 April and saw UCB pick up the title with their winning menu and excellent front of house skills.


The winning team members included: Hermione Hilary Porter; Richard Hensman and Isabel Hatley, with College mentors Paul Mohan and Christine Alberto.

The winning team received a trophy, Gold medal, framed certificate, an R2 table top cutter courtesy of Robot Coupe, a set of knives and pans from Contacto and a Dispenser from Wrapmaster.


Second place went to Walsall College, with team members, Gabriele Meska, Jennifer Otoo and Toby Harris and team mentors, Steve and Davinia Biggs, while North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College (NWSLC) picked came third, with team members: Sam Hurst, Sophie Trevitt and Amelia Smith and team mentors, Jon Starns and David Saul.


The Award for the Best Kitchen Team went to Walsall College and University College Birmingham picked up the Best Front of House award.


Each team comprised two chefs and one waiter/waitress and had two hours to prepare, cook and serve a three-course menu for four covers, including two covers for guests, one for judging and the other for photography.


Chefs had to produce a menu including a vegetarian starter, a main course using a crown of corn-fed chicken, and a dessert of the competitor's choice, using at least one Essential Cuisine product,.


Chefs were judged on their culinary skills, working methods, portion size, taste, temperature of dishes, presentation and timing, while front-of-house will be judged on table presentation, greeting and communication and the serving of food, water and wine.

Read the story in full here 

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