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Zest Quest Asia – Special Upskill Day

13th June 2023


A very special day and a fantastic Culinary Journey with the support of Great Chefs and Friends

What a stunning culinary journey that 11 colleges – 42 students and 20 lecturers who were on site and over 30 colleges with over 2000 online watching and cooking live with us- a new way of Inspiring - learning – sharing and meeting some wonderful people who are so inspirational – Chef Cyrus, Mark Poynton, Chef Akemi, Jessica Parker, James Read, Hiroko Nishitani and Ed Keith – the adventure we all went on was wonderful - the passionate understanding of food from the all Chefs and wine and Sake experts we had the privilege of having The Legend Steve Munkley, Vice President of the Craft Guild of Chefs also discussing the importance of taste, smell  and texture with the chefs – to explain to all involved .  

One of the great things about all the Chefs cooking and tasting today is that they are all different with their creative skills which is the brilliant thing about our industry. Everyone with us on the day – both in the room and online, had their taste buds and imagination taken to a new level. This shows how wonderful hospitality is as there is no limit to what you can achieve within your career development. 

Colleges attending on the day were New Suffolk College, Lincoln College, New Durham College, University College Birmingham, Doncaster College, NCC Redbridge,  Leeds City College, Suffolk New College, Kirklees College, Eastleigh College, Colchester Institute and Finalists from Springboard /Future Chef 2023.

Special big thank you to Sarah and Barney and the great team at Infusions4Chefs for their wonderful help and support- great Stone baked Pizzas for all on arrival. And Star Bradley for his wonderful IT support – being able to live stream and Share, also Stuart from WSC with his Social media support – Magic.

Videos from the day

Comments from Judges and Guests


Culinary Legend Cyrus Todiwala 

“For me handing the torch to younger, better torch bearers has always been a passion. Not training adequately would leave our industry starved of talent especially as we see that Britain is finally riding the waves with its high culinary standards and multiple cuisine disciplines. For this to move forward and for the younger generation to succeed in life, we must give them every opportunity to learn, thrive, succeed and excel in their craft.”

Mark Poynton- Chef / Patron – MJP Restaurant’s

“It has been an honour to have been involved in “A Passion to Inspire“ for the past 14 years and always a pleasure to help, support and inspire the next generation – this has been a very special event and our most Inspirational and tasty day ever!!! “

John Jackaman, owner of ICE  “We are privileged to be able to welcome such well known and talented chefs to ICE for this incredible event.  But the real stars of the show, of course, are the young people who are at the centre of the day and who will be the chefs and the hospitality ambassadors of the future.” 

Hiroko Nishitani , Tazaki Foods

“  it was such a honour to talk to chefs and share some sake thoughts with them. Thank you very much for the opportunity and I really hope yesterday’s event change their impression of sake in good way! “

Akemi Yokoyama - Chef and Founder, Gohan. London

“I thoroughly enjoyed my second participation in the Passion to Inspire for Zest Quest Asia. I was thrilled to see some familiar faces among the students and lecturers. Thanks to all staff and helpers, you were brilliant! “

Daniel Campos – NCC Redbridge  

“I would like to thank you and all the teams/chefs involved in the great  event. It was fantastic to see everyone so engaged and learning so much. Feedback from our students is great they couldn't stop talking about it in the car on our way back to London “

UCB students Zain Tahir and Claudiu Florian

“It was a very inspirational event and we learned loads about Japanese cooking, as well as Indian cuisine, and how chefs think when pairing drinks with foods. It was amazing to see how chefs use quirky and different methods when plating food. The best thing for us was that we were able to taste every component and were told the history behind them as well as how they can be developed to include other flavour profiles”


Lewis Walker, Deputy Head of The Birmingham College of Food

“The Passion to inspire Upskills day at ICE Cookery School was simply amazing! The breadth of knowledge from the panel, the range of skills covered, and the spectrum of flavours tasted was nothing short of incredible! It was humbling to see the time, energy, and support given by the Chefs, and the generosity of ICE, Grande Cuisine Academy, and Tilda. Look forward to the next one!!”



Suppliers and Support 

The event had magical support from brilliant producers stunning Produce, Great suppliers from thank you all so very much – Tilda Rice, Mizkan, Tazaki Foods, Marrfish, A Passion to Inspire , Springboard,  Embassy of Japan ,Blackthorn Salt, Anglia Produce, The Craft Guild of Chefs ,  Hallgarten Wines, Grande Cuisine Academy, Master Chefs of Great Britain and of course John Jackaman – Infusions Group and the employers who allowed the chefs to attend – MJP @The Shepherds, Infusions, Café Spice Namaste and Gohan London, 

Eriko Komiya – "This is a Japanese culinary training programme organised by the Japanese Government Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. This programme is a rare opportunity to visit Japan and receive lectures from top Japanese chefs. Although there is an examination to enter, once successful the program is free of charge and allows candidates to learn about the intricate and delicate art of Japanese cuisine. " -

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