Killoran wins at Zest Quest Asia with rice cream dish made with lockdown leftovers
By Melanie HallShare post:
Read time: approx 5 mins
A University College Birmingham student well and truly put the lime in the coconut to win recognition at this year’s Zest Quest Asia Tilda Challenge.
Professional Chef FdA student Killoran Wills was not only hailed first place runner up at yesterday’s grand finale, but won Best Use of Rice after a virtual cook-off, beamed live from the University’s training kitchens.
Her accomplishments are especially deserved as she started her competition campaign during lockdown - using the remnants of her kitchen cupboards.
Judges of the award, restaurateurs Cyrus and Pervin Todiwala, Murray Chapman, Steve Munkley and Jo Witchell from Tilda Foodservice, deemed her coconut and lime rice cream the perfect accompaniment to her cardamom and cumin jasmine rice sponge, whipped up with a sesame seed tuile, mango compote and coulis.
Killoran’s mentor, University College Birmingham lecturer Richard Taylor, said: “This was a great competition and all of the finalists did extremely well. We are especially proud of Killoran, especially as this was all started during lockdown using what was in her kitchen cupboards.
“She put a lot of effort into the competition, her dish was amazing, full of flavour and had that wow factor in presentation.”
Competition founder Cyrus Todiwala said: “This was one of the toughest competitions to judge in a long time.
"Each and every finalist wowed the judges with their sheer effort and talent, so regardless of there being only a few named winners, everyone deserves a pat on the back for a great job done.”
Killoran, who is also a student ambassador and Unibuddy for the University, was one of 12 student chefs from across the UK to compete in the final.
A life-long learner and proud Brummie, she decided to pursue a foundation degree in professional cookery after a full-on career, keen to do all the things she couldn't do when she was at work.
Zest Quest Asia was the first cookery competition she had entered, encouraged by Richard and the rest of the University’s Birmingham College of Food team.
The virtual competition is a spin-off of Zest Quest Asia, the national student culinary competition founded by Cyrus and Pervin with the Master Chefs of Great Britain and which is now in its eighth year.
Attracting more than 90 entries from over two dozen colleges, the competition brief was to create an Asian dish that demonstrated great creativity, flavour and authenticity, taking inspiration from today’s hottest food trends from plant-based to one pot recipes.
"This was a great competition and all of the finalists did extremely well. We are especially proud of Killoran, especially as this was all started during lockdown using what was in her kitchen cupboards. She put a lot of effort into the competition, her dish was amazing, full of flavour and had that wow factor in presentation.”
Annette Coggins, Head of Foodservice at Tilda UK, said of the winners: “This year’s competition was tougher than ever before, with the chefs creating a diverse range of dishes and executing each one to the highest quality.
“At Tilda, we pride ourselves on innovation and the versatility of our rice products and we consider everyone who got to this final stage as a winner. We extend our thanks and congratulations to all the finalists.”
In normal times, teams of three compete for the Zest Quest Asia trophy, which was won by University College Birmingham students John Almeida, Dorottya Kalo and Gonçalo Machado in 2020, while Peter Price, Hugo Montgomery and Alex McLaren took the crown in 2017.
Ultimately, the competition aims to inspire student chefs across the UK to consider Asian cookery as a future career by recognising outstanding talent, knowledge and understanding of the cuisine. Together they hope to place classical Asian cookery firmly on the curriculum, as well as build on the skills needed for future chefs to succeed in the Asian food industry.
University College Birmingham provides a wealth of opportunities for students on our renowned food and hospitality courses to gain experience and put their skills to the test in industry competitions.
Find out more about the range of courses available within our Birmingham College of Food.
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