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Students Show Zest For Asian Cuisine

Our catering students have shown judges their flair for Asian cuisine at a national catering competition. The students worked together to produce a meal judged to be the Best Dish of the Day at the Zest Quest Asia catering competition, held at London’s Hilton T5 hotel.

Now in its third year, the competition founded by celebrity chef Cyrus Todiwala OBE aimed to introduce Asian cookery as part of the catering curriculum. Zest Quest Asia invited catering colleges from across the UK to cook a four-course Pan Asian menu and make a presentation to judges, designed to highlight their knowledge of Asian cuisine and the evolution of international cuisine styles and sustainability.

Having taken the top prize in 2015,our team of students were just as driven this year to create stunning dishes that would leave a lasting impression on the panel of judges.

Our students’ dishes included:

  • Sri Lankan Devilled Chicken served with String Hoppers, Coconut Sambol and Kiri Hodi
  • Parsee Style Prawn, Asian Spiced Mayonnaise, Coriander & Lime Dressing served with a Green Papaya Salad
  • Pol Kiri Baum (Mutton Curry) & Pittu style steamed rice
  • Dhal, Carrot Sambol and Pol Rotti
  • Baked Whisky Custard, Cinnamon Salt Ring Doughnut with a Woodapple Jam, Crispy Cinnamon, Almond & Macadamia Nut Quill with a Vanilla Cream

As returning champions, our catering students also had the privilege of preparing canapés for 250 guests before the competition’s gala dinner and awards ceremony, but were pipped to the post for the top prize by Milton Keynes College.

Catering lecturer Alex Wilcock said:

As a department we are very proud of our chefs; they’ve really put their heart and soul into this competition and it has shown in the results and the lasting impression they’ve had on the judges.

“The team has blossomed throughout their training and they are more confident in cooking Asian cuisine which is fantastic.

“As a lecturer it is so refreshing to see such enthusiasm in our students and the other competing college’s that entered this year I’m very excited for our industry and Asian cuisine as a whole.”

Catering students Emily Barden, Mariah Abdullah and Aimee Jones have all said they’ve learnt so much from this experience; it has made them stronger as a team and an individual they have a new found love for Asian cuisine and can’t wait for their next challenge.

Clive Roberts, Chairman of the Master Chefs of Great Britain said:

“We had an enormously good response from colleges to the 3rd Zest Quest Asia and picking six outstanding finalists from a field of 20 was difficult. It is a shame that there can only be one winner because all the teams had clearly worked hard. In the end, the team from Milton Keynes College stood out.”

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