Zest Quest Asia
University of West London are the new Zest Quest Asia champions. Their triumph was announced last night before an audience of 300 representatives from industry and education at a Gala Dinner and Awards ceremony held at the Hilton London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 (Hilton T5).
Matthew Dibb-Fuller, Matthew Williams, Michael Scholz and their tutor, Nathan Vasanthan, win a trip of a lifetime; a seven-day culinary and cultural journey to Hanoi, one of the world’s ancient capitals. They will be staying at the Hilton Hanoi Opera, who have planned an amazing itinerary for them.
University of West London triumphed over Colchester Institute, North Hertfordshire College, Sheffield Hallam University, The Sheffield College, and Westminster Kingsway College in a final cook-off held earlier in the day at Mr Todiwala’s Kitchen, Hilton T5’s signature restaurant. Judges were won over by their Sri Lankan-inspired menu consisting of Authentic Lamb Rolls with Bramley Apple Ketchup and a Spicy Watercress and Lime Dressing, Nose to Tail of Poussin with Jaffna Style Sauce, Cardamom Leaves Crusted Lamb, Tilda Basmati and Wild Rice – Seeni Sambol, Pickled Aubergine, Spiced Poussin Scotch Eggs (Quail Egg), Roasted Stuffed Chilli, Kithul Honey and Lime Glazed Lollipop, and Sri Lankan inspired Pear Tart Tatin with Ceylon Tea Infused Pear and Coconut Sorbet. They also impressed the judges during a presentation designed to give an insight into and demonstrate their knowledge of Sri Lankan cuisine.
Other awardees on the night were:
• Glengoyne’s Dish of the Day Award – University of West London
• Chefi’s Least Food Wasted Award – Sheffield Hallam University
• Tilda’s Award for Best use of Rice – The Sheffield College
• Regale’s Award for Best Presented Menu – Sheffield Hallam University
• The Koppertcress Award for Best Use of Living Ingredient– Colchester Institute
Zest Quest Asia was founded in 2013 by Cyrus and Pervin Todiwala, with the support of The Master Chefs of Great Britain, to address the gaps in skills and knowledge of classical Asian cuisine and to stimulate interest in Asian cookery as a viable, long-term career.
Now in its fifth year, there is every indication that the competition has found its firm supporters in the hospitality industry as well as the wider business community. Guest speaker Andrew Wong, Chef Patron of Michelin-starred restaurant, A.Wong, cited the many myths behind Chinese cuisine, while Sir David Brewer KG CMG CVO JP, former Lord Lieutenant of London, led grace before the 4-course dinner prepared by Cyrus Todiwala and his team.
This year too, Emmy-nominated TV chef Ching He Huang joined the panel of judges comprising Chairman of Judges, Andrew Bennett, Cyrus and Pervin Todiwala of Café Spice Namaste, Steve Munkley of the Royal Garden Hotel, Clive Roberts of Master Chefs of Great Britain, and Murray Chapman of Passion to Inspire. The evening was emceed by Andrew Merrett, Marketing and Communications Director of leading hospitality and catering company CH&Co Group.
Ken Hom OBE, the American chef, author and TV presenter, in a message sent to the Todiwalas before the Gala Dinner, said “Although I am unable to be at the 2018 Zest Quest Asia Gala Dinner and Awards, I would like to wish Chef Cyrus Todiwala and everyone much success with the evening. As an advocate for Asian foods, I am also delighted to see that Asian cuisine is now part of the DNA of British food culture.”
Cyrus Todiwala OBE DL said, “I am touched and truly overwhelmed by the support that our friends in industry and beyond have shown to Zest Quest Asia this year. We cannot thank them enough. What’s more, my fellow judges and I have been more impressed than ever at the standard and drive of the competitors. Zest Quest Asia, which is rigorous to begin with, seems to attract those who want to win something big, and there are few things that are more important to our industry today than the future of Asian cuisine. Congratulations to University of West London and all the other winners and participants.”
Zest Quest Asia’s main sponsors this year were Hilton T5, Koppertcress, Panasonic, Regale Microwaves, Tilda, Bidfood, Cobra Beer and Glengoyne.