Zest Quest Asia 2023 finalists announced

The Staff Canteen

Cyrus and Pervin Todiwala have announced the six student teams chosen to compete in the Zest Quest Asia 2023 finals.

Teams from Cheshire College South & West, North Hertfordshire College, UHI North Highland College (Dornoch), The Sheffield College, University College Birmingham and the University of West London have all passed the initial judges’ hurdle and will be going forward to the live cook-off and knowledge presentation that will determine the overall winner.

This year marks ten years since Zest Quest Asia was founded by the Todiwalas with the support of the Master Chefs of Great Britain.

For the first time, the live cook-off will be held in a college, with the six teams preparing and cooking their Asian-inspired dishes in the kitchens of the London Geller College of Hospitality and Tourism of the University of West London.

Each team will also be required to exhibit their understanding of the Asian cultures influencing their menu via a closed-door presentation to the board of judges, headed by Steve Munkley, vice president of the Craft Guild of Chefs.

The winners will be announced at a Gala Dinner and Awards Night to be held at the Radisson Hotel and Conference Centre London Heathrow.

Both the live cook-off and Gala Dinner and Awards Night will take place on Friday, 17th February 2023. Cyrus Todiwala OBE DL FIH said, “The judges and I were blown away by the standard of the entries this year, which proves that colleges are now truly nurturing student chefs who are out to learn and excel in their craft and win tough competitions like Zest Quest Asia."

He added: “Unfortunately, we could only have six finalists, but I would encourage even those that did not make it this year to try again. Competition was so close, and this was just the first stage! It’s only fitting, with Zest Quest Asia now on its tenth year, that the appreciation for Asian cuisine has risen perceptibly, as was clear from the entries. Good luck to all the finalists. You’ll find it was worth competing. Great prizes await you all. Indeed, our current winners have just been enjoying an epic week-long trip to the Philippines courtesy of Don Papa Rum.”

Among the prizes at stake for the finalists of Zest Quest Asia 2023 are another 7-10 day educational ‘Trip of a Lifetime’ to an Asian destination for the overall winners, always a closely guarded secret until the Gala Dinner; educational trips to Italy and France courtesy of Tilda and Grande Cuisine Academy, respectively; an undercounter dishwasher for the winning college from Meiko, as well as a Panasonic combination oven.

Prizes for least food wasted and a flavour pairing challenge have been pledged by McCormick Flavour Solutions, including a trip to the company’s Peterborough factory and a meal at a top restaurant committed to sustainability.

Mizkan will be providing a prize for the use of Yuzu Ponzu sauce, and Metcalfe Catering have pledged a Hallde food processor and knife sharpener.

In addition, knives for the chef lecturers will be awarded courtesy of First Contact Chefs. Drinks at the Zest Quest Asia 2023 Gala Dinner and Awards Night will be sponsored by long-time gold sponsors Cobra Beer and Clive Roberts’ Old Forge Wines.

Tickets are now on sale for the Zest Quest Asia 2023 Gala Dinner and Awards Night at Radisson Hotel and Conference Centre London Heathrow, Bath Road, West Drayton, Heathrow UB7 0DU.

Prices are £90pp and £850 for a table of 10. Supporting Partner/Student Admission prices are £75pp.

To book your tickets, please click here.

Guests can book rooms for the night of 17th February 2023 at preferential rates by emailing Sabrina at [email protected]

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 16th January 2023

Zest Quest Asia 2023 finalists announced