New City College has won Tilda’s Best Use of Rice award at Zest Quest Asia for the second consecutive year.
The all-female team from Hackney was made up of chefs Rebekah Samuels, Jenai Julien and Denique Cole Johnson. They were awarded the trophy after impressing the judges with their Indonesian street food-inspired menu of chicken satay with a satay sauce, Tilda Jasmine lonton (rice cakes) pickled cucumber and handmade Tilda arborio rice crackers, as well as beef rendang (below) cooked on the bone, spinach and sweetcorn purée and Indonesian rendang grilled Jasmine rice.
For dessert the team created a traditional lapis layer cake (below), with toasted ground Tilda brown rice ice-cream, a seeded tuile and brown rice pudding with a rice pudding foam.
Zest Quest judge Johanna Witchell, commercial marketing manager at Tilda UK, said: “A massive congratulations to New City College, the team really took their dishes to the next level with their complexity of ingredients, flavours and presentation.
"We were very impressed by not only their passion and knowledge of Asian cooking, but their understanding of how the right speciality rice can enhance a creation, as well as add authenticity. We’re delighted to present New City College with the Tilda trophy!”
Aside from the trophy, the Tilda winners will enjoy an all-expenses trip to Italy, spending time in the stunning Po Valley in Northern Italy and the cosmopolitan city of Milan. The two-night trip will give the chefs the opportunity to learn the story behind Tilda’s arborio rice, explore the paddy fields and have an exclusive tour of the rice mill plus a food safari in Milan.
Jeff Mason, chef-lecturer at New City College, added: “I can't tell you how proud I am of these three girls; they cooked their absolute socks off and trained so hard – what a journey!”
Pictured from left: Denique Cole Johnson, Jo Witchell, (Tilda), Jenai Julien and Rebekah Samuels