BSc Culinary Arts students Matthew Williams, Matthew Dibb-Fuller and Michael Scholz, triumphed at Zest Quest Asia 2018 awards , where they were crowned champions in front of a 300-strong audience from the catering industry at the Hilton London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5.
At the terminal’s signature restaurant, Mr Todiwala’s Kitchen, the trio from UWL won a cook-off against teams from Colchester Institute, North Hertfordshire College, Sheffield Hallam University, The Sheffield College, and Westminster Kingsway College. They also impressed the judges with their knowledge of Sri Lankan cuisine, developed during four months of intensive study and research under the guidance of mentor Nathan Vasanthan, a Culinary Arts lecturer at the University’s London Geller College Hospitality and tourism.
As a result, the team are now looking forward to a fantastic prize of a seven-day trip to Hanoi in Vietnam and also a three-day research trip to the Netherlands. They will learn about Vietnamese cooking from expert chefs and how the food supply chain operates on the trips.
Michael Scholz, 22, said: ‘Winning Zest Quest Asia is a great thing for us. We’re all close friends and that has played a huge role in how we worked together; we had fun even when the pressure was on. We can’t wait to go to Vietnam as none of us have been there. I also believe the competition will help my career because it’s a well-recognised event and I’ve learnt so much about Asian cuisine.’
Nathan Vasanthan said: ‘Well done to our students for this fantastic achievement. They all contributed an immense amount of research and effort to the project and richly deserve this prestigious prize for their excellent culinary skills and knowledge.’
Master chef Cyrus Todiwala OBE co-founded Zest Quest Asia in 2013 to preserve Asian cooking in Britain. He praised the students’ efforts. ‘Congratulations to University of West London and all the other winners and participants,’ he said.
‘My fellow judges and I have been more impressed than ever at the standard and drive of the competitors. Zest Quest Asia continues 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.’
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