By Rebecca Riezebos
The finalists for the fifth Zest Quest Asia cook-off have been announced by its founder, Cyrus Todiwala.
After the initial paper entry judging, the six finalists are made up of student teams from Colchester Institute, North Hertfordshire College, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield College, University of West London and Westminster Kingsway College.
The teams will advance to the cook-off stage which is to be held on 12 February 2018 at Mr Todiwala’s Kitchen at Hilton London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5, Slough.
The winners will be announced at a gala dinner that evening.
The finalists will have to show the judges their skills, knowledge and cooking techniques over a range of Asian cuisines, however the specific destination will not be revealed until the night of the cook-off. India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Japan have already been covered.
The prize for previous winning teams, which include University College Birmingham, Farnborough College and Milton Keynes College, was a 10-day gastronomic trip to an Asian culinary capital.
Todiwala said: “After four years, the relevance of Zest Quest Asia as a channel for future talent in Asian food industry cannot be greater. The popularity of Asian cuisine among consumers is still evident, yet every year it gets harder and harder to find trained Asian chefs, so we need to cultivate home grown chefs who are well versed in cooking authentic Asian food. I am still hoping that one day we will achieve one of Zest Quest Asia’s aims of embedding classical Asian cooking within the curriculum.”
Zest Quest Asia was set up in 2013 to help combat the skills shortages and promote Asian cuisine as a career choice.
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