Cyrus and Pervin Todiwala’s 2020 Zest Quest Asia student catering competition is now open for entries.
The competition is open to full-time students with permanent residency status in the UK. Colleges are invited to field teams of three students (plus their tutor) who vie for a first prize of a seven to 10-day cultural tour of an Asian culinary capital.
Last year’s champions, University of West London, were treated to a trip to the Philippines with an itinerary that included a cook-off at the Residence of the British Ambassador to the Philippines, and a stage and cookery demonstrations at the Fairmont and Raffles Makati.
Founded by restaurateurs Cyrus and Pervin Todiwala, Zest Quest Asia was launched in 2013 to inspire students across the UK to consider Asian cookery as a future career.
The competition aims to help stem the skills shortage in Asian cuisine threatening the billion-pound Asian food industry, as well as encourage educationists to include Asian cookery in the curriculum.
To date, five colleges and universities have produced Zest Quest Asia champions: Westminster Kingsway College, Farnborough College, Milton Keynes College, University College Birmingham, and current champions University of West London, winners of the competition for two consecutive years.
The next winning destination will be revealed at the gala dinner and awards evening held at the Hilton London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5, following a cook-off and knowledge presentation at the hotel’s Mr Todiwala’s Kitchen restaurant on Friday 7 February 2020.
Cyrus Todiwala said: “Last year’s Zest Quest Asia competition was one of the best we’d seen, matched by phenomenal prizes that make it more than worthwhile for ambitious students to enter. And competing is only the beginning, with a wealth of experiences and contacts opening up to the students.
"Being crowned Zest Quest Asia champion gives students not just an edge that helps them in their future careers, but serves as a brilliant badge of achievement for both students and their colleges that no one can ever take away. We’ve seen some previous winners go on to careers in Asian cuisine, and every time they go abroad, they not only learn but become great ambassadors for Britain.”
Nathan Vasanthan, lecturer at the London Geller College of Hospitality and Tourism at the University of West London, said: “Zest Quest Asia, beyond the competition, media exposure and the reputation it can bring, highlights the great but still untapped potential of Asian cuisine in the UK.”
To submit expressions of interest and for details of how to enter Zest Quest Asia 2020, colleges should visit www.zestquestasia.com or contact Nitin Kapoor at firstname.lastname@example.org in the first instance.
The deadline for entries is Friday 25 October 2019. The shortlist will be revealed in early December.