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Catering learner books place in Major International Chef’s Culinary Challenge final

Level 3 Advanced Professional Catering learner Rishiram Chaudhary has emerged victorious in his Main Course competition heat to reach the final of the Major International Chef’s Culinary Challenge. The final will be hosted in March at the Excel centre in London.

Rishiram’s success caps off a competitive opening heat hosted at our own East Avenue restaurant. Students from both Eastleigh College and Highbury College took part, tasked with creating a main course from scratch in fifty minutes, including preparing, cooking and presenting a two-course plated dish. In addition to Rishiram’s triumph in the Main Course heat, other highlights included our Level 2 Professional Catering learner Amy Brimfield winning the Front of House heat, and a further fifteen medals awarded to Eastleigh College learners, including three gold, six silver and six bronze.

Major International’s annual Major Series is one of the longest running young chef competitions in the UK and gives learners of varying skill levels the chance to experience the competition arena for the first time. Five more heats will take place between now and March’s final, including three spread across England, one in Wales and one in Scotland. Four judges adjudicate each heat, usually comprised of a development chef from Major International, a chef from the local area, a previous winner of the event and a representative of the Craft Guild of Chefs acting as head judge.

Development Chef Fergus Martin was one of the four judges for the opening heat and spoke following its conclusion: “We’ve been running these competitions for twenty years and it has been great to return to Eastleigh College. This year we are excited to bring the final forward to within three months of the first heat and it’s been fantastic to see so many students getting involved.”

The grand final will take place as part of the HRC (Hotel, Restaurant and Catering) event, one of the country’s leading culinary shows, from 21-23 March 2022. Ten candidates will compete at the Excel International Convention Centre in London in front of a live audience. With many senior chefs in attendance, the event will provide a prime opportunity for networking with industry professionals, with the competition historically often proving a gateway into more exclusive competitions and opportunities.

Rishiram Chaudhary spoke of his elation at making the final shortlist: “I’m so pleased to have won the regional heat, I practiced a lot and it gave me the opportunity to create a dish from scratch. These competitions allow me to build my skills for the future but I couldn’t do this without the guidance from my amazing lecturers at Eastleigh College. They have always supported us as students to do our best.”

Greg Cheeseman, Hospitality Lecturer at Eastleigh College, said: “I’m so proud of Rishi. He has practised hard and always comes in with new flavours to his dishes. We look forward to seeing him in London representing Eastleigh College on the national stage.”

Further information on the Major Series can be found on the Major International website at

For more information on our Hospitality courses at Eastleigh College, please visit our website here or contact us at