University of West London retains Zest Quest Asia crown

Zest Quest Asia 2019 final University of West London
The winning UWL team with their tutor, judges and host Nigel Barden
12/02/2019 - 09:35
For the second year running, students at the University of West London have been crowned Zest Quest Asia champions. The result was announced at an awards night dinner Hilton London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 (Hilton T5) following a final cook-off earlier on February 8th.

As winners, Marian Tandy, Mika Narciso, Bhumika Rai and their tutor, Tarik Ramjaun have earned a seven-day educational journey to Manila, staying at the 5-star Fairmont Makati in Manila where they will enjoy a stage in the hotel’s kitchens.

Other planned activities include a visit to Pampanga, one of the Philippines’ culinary epicentres; cooking at a Zest Quest Asia fundraiser to be held at Romulo Café Makati, and taking part in a ‘fun cooking session’ at the residence of the British Ambassador to the Philippines, Daniel Pruce.

 Judges included Andrew Bennett, chairman of the Craft Guild of Chefs, 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.

They said they were ‘unanimously impressed’ by the team’s South Indian/Goan menu: a starter of South Indian Ulundu Vadai with Jerusalem Artichoke; a main course consisting of British Partridge Goan Cafreal made with fresh mint and coriander; and a dessert of Bibinca and parsnip Serradura.

Competition founder Cyrus Todiwala said: “Zest Quest Asia was always going to be a strong student competition because of its rigour and ambition.

“But this year, our sixth, we are extremely grateful for how we’ve been able to move to an entirely new level. You could see it in the effort and determination of students to win, and the passion of everyone involved in creating a positive buzz around Zest Quest Asia.

“You could see it in the quality of entries and finished menus and in the incredible support that the finalists generally received from their colleges.

“Unfortunately, there could only be one overall winner, and this year University of West London did it again. Congratulations to them.”

The team also won awards for Display of Sustainability and Best Wine Pairing, sponsored by Loch Duart and Castelnau/Patriarch Pere et Fils, respectively.

The other competition finalists were Colchester Institute, North Hertfordshire College, New City College, Farnborough College of Technology and Westminster Kingsway College.

Colchester won the Master Chefs of Great Britain Best Team Spirit Award and the KellyBronze Best Use of Local Sourcing Award. Glengoyne’s Best Menu Planning Award went to North Hertfordshire, the Chef’s Minimum Wastage Award was won by Westminster Kingsway, Tilda’s Award for Best use of Rice was awarded to New City College and the Koppert Cress Award for Best Use of Living Ingredient was picked up by Farnborough College.

The evening’s special guest speakers were American chef, author and TV presenter Ken Hom and Lord Karan Bilimoria, chairman of Cobra Beer. The evening was hosted by Nigel Barden, the BBC broadcaster, food and drink journalist, and chef.

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