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University of West London retains Zest Quest Asia crown

14 February 2019 by
University of West London retains Zest Quest Asia crown

For the second year running, students at the University of West London have been crowned Zest Quest Asia champions.

The results were announced at the Zest Quest Asia Gala Dinner and Awards Night on 8 February at the Hilton London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5.

The final cook-off was held earlier in the day at the hotel's Mr Todiwala's Kitchen, which saw Colchester Institute, North Hertfordshire College, New City College, Farnborough College of Technology, Westminster Kingsway College and the University of West London compete.

Marian Tandy, Mika Narciso, Bhumika Rai and their tutor Tarik Ramjaun have won a seven-day educational trip to Manila in the Philippines, a stay at the Fairmont Makati and a stage in the hotel's kitchens.

Other activities include a visit to Pampanga, cooking at a Zest Quest Asia fundraiser at Romulo Café Makati, and taking part in a ‘fun cooking session' at the residence of His Excellency Daniel Pruce, British ambassador to the Philippines.

Judges were unanimously impressed by the team's South Indian/Goan menu: a starter of South Indian ulundu vadai with Jerusalem artichoke; a main of British partridge Goan cafreal made with fresh mint and coriander; and a dessert of bebinca and parsnip serradura.

The group were also decorated with Display of Sustainability and Best Wine Pairing, sponsored by Loch Duart and Castelnau/Patriarche Père et Fils, respectively, and the university was presented with a robot coupe machine for its training kitchens.

Other awards presented were:

•Glengoyne's Best Menu Planning Award - North Hertfordshire College
•Chefi's Minimum Wastage Award - Westminster Kingsway College
•Tilda's Award for Best use of Rice - New City College
•KellyBronze Best Use of Local Sourcing Award - Colchester Institute
•The Koppert Cress Award for Best Use of Living Ingredient - Farnborough College of Technology

Now in its sixth year, Zest Quest Asia was founded in 2013 by Cyrus and Pervin Todiwala, with the support of the Master Chefs of Great Britain, to help address Britain's skills and knowledge gaps in Asian cuisine. The competition also aims to be a catalyst for the inclusion of traditional Asian cookery in the curriculum.

The judging panel included Craft Guild of Chefs chairman Andrew Bennett; Café Spice Namaste and Mr Todiwala's Kitchen restaurateurs Cyrus and Pervin Todiwala; Royal Garden hotel executive head chef Steve Munkley; Master Chefs of Great Britain chairman Clive Roberts; and Murray Chapman, founder of Passion to Inspire.

Cyrus Todiwala said: "Every year we've enjoyed the great support of friends and colleagues from industry and beyond. But this year, our sixth, we are extremely grateful for how we've been able to move to an entirely new level.

"Unfortunately, there could only be one overall winner, and this year University of West London did it again. Congratulations to them and to the other teams who all proved their mettle in a tough competition.'

Image credit: Jade Nina Sarkhe and Julian George

Zest Quest Asia 2019 finalists announced >>

University of West London wins Zest Quest Asia 2018 >>

University College Birmingham team wins Zest Quest Asia 2017 >>

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