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Lauren Smith of UCB Wins The Gold Medal BCF Student Chef of the Year 2023

The BCF Student Chef of the Year competition took place at University College Birmingham on Wednesday 22nd November. Finalists were required to produce a 3-course menu for 2 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.


Stuart McLeod, BCF Vice President; Andrew Sage, Chef Patron, BCF committee member and competition organiser; BCF committee member Adrian Vigus- Brown, Executive Chef the Park Plaza Riverbank, London; BCF Ambassador Gary Kilminster, Development Chef, Essential Cuisine and Retired Senior Lecturer, Richard Brocklesby.

Sincere thanks to sponsors Robot Coupe, Contacto, Wrapmaster and Caterfish,

Andrew Sage, newly appointed BCF Student competition organiser, said he was delighted with the final outcome and the support and interest from colleges across the country had been excellent.

BCF President Peter Griffiths commented: “University College Birmingham did a superb job hosting the event and all the young student chefs performed exceptionally well. It was a challenging competition in the time allowed and the students were a credit to themselves and their colleges.”

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