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Zest Quest Asia and Tilda Journey to Scotland for a Inspirational Upskill Day!

30th November 2021

As part of the St. Andrew’s Day celebrations, (30th November 2021), Tilda Foodservice joined Murray Chapman, founder of Passion to Inspire, at Zest Quest Asia’s first college based Upskill Day in more than 18 months.


Special chef-guests, Gary Maclean and Ross Sneddon led the educational day to inspire the next generation of budding chefs. They explored new techniques, were shown how to make the most of ingredients and to elevate their dishes from the everyday to the extraordinary. The students were joined virtually by Cyrus Todiwala, the founder of Zest Quest Asia who shared a thought-provoking and motivational speech.


Hosted by City of Glasgow College, 120 student chefs from eight Scottish colleges were taken on a culinary journey to explore the Tilda professional range (which includes Arborio, Jasmine, Long Grain, Pure Basmati and Wholegrain Basmati) through an interactive session where students were given the opportunity to gain experience, and smell and taste a selection of infused rice combinations. From fragrant Jasmine -  paired with Cardamom pods, orange peel and lemon zest to Mushroom and Truffle Risotto using infused Tilda Arborio Rice. Ten weeks ahead of the event, Tilda’s dry Arborio was combined with porcini mushrooms to allow the rice to embody the earthy notes that had been added, elevating the risotto. When each student tasted the dish, grated wild black truffle was used to enhance the flavour even further.


Speaking of the event, Gareth Jones, Regional Sales Manager, Tilda Foodservice UK said:  

“We brought the rice to life, taking it from a simple ingredient to an integral part of the dish. It’s so rewarding to show students -  and lecturers alike -  what Tilda know about rice. We work with this fantastic grain every day and knowing that we’ve been able to teach these young chefs something new about its application and possibilities is a wonderful feeling.


“At the start of the day, we asked the students if they had tried wild black truffle and only a few put their hands up. It was a thrill to leave the college knowing that all students had been able to experience and learn something new.”


Reflecting on the event, Murray Chapman, Founder of Passion to Inspire and City of Glasgow College Alumni said:


“On behalf of Zest Quest Asia – a massive thank you to City of Glasgow College and the fantastic support from May Donald and her team. A lot of hard work and time has gone into organising and executing this event but when you see the smiles on the faces of the students and lecturers, it makes it all so worthwhile.


“It was an exceptional day that has helped to inspire the future of our industry, and such a pleasure to be joined by Gary Maclean, Ross Sneddon and Cyrus Todiwala. And a special note to a very old friend Mark Poynton who sent 100g of fresh black truffle to finish the dish which we safely shared with all involved. Thank you also to all the lecturers who went out of their way and made a massive effort to be there for the event.”


The City of Glasgow College, who along with its own culinary students, welcomed colleges from across Scotland, including Granton Edinburgh College, Edinburgh Sighthill College, Milton Road Edinburgh College, West Lothian, Forth Valley, West College Scotland, South Ayrshire and Perth College. 


May Donald, Associate Dean for Culinary Arts at City of Glasgow College, said: 

"We were delighted to host the Zest Quest Asia Upskill demonstration. Events such as this are vital in helping to encourage the future generation of culinary students into a sector that has been badly hit by the pandemic, but which has so many opportunities available to those who want them. It's an exciting and diverse industry which offers a variety of different career choices, and which can take you in many different directions. We've had really positive feedback from the event which I hope has helped inspire and energise that future generation."


The Zest Quest Asia Upskill Day was made possible by the generous support of Russums, Blackthorn Salt, Infusions 4 Chefs, A Passion to Inspire, The Marine Conservation Society and The Master Chefs of Great Britain. 


Zest Quest Asia is returning in 2022 in its original format, with colleges and student chefs encouraged to submit their entries now. For details on how to enter visit

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