March 2019

UCB wins first 'University Challenge' food science quiz on coeliac question

Read time: approx 3 mins

Move over Paxman! UCB College of Food students thrashed the opposition in a University Challenge-inspired quiz for the nation’s undergraduate food scientists.

UCB’s team of four brainboxes beat The School of Biosciences at the University of Nottingham to be crowned the first ever University Food Challenge champions following a fiercely-fought final at Coventry University.

The question that clinched the deal was, “What condition causes the gut lining to be damaged from ingesting gluten?”, the correct answer being coeliac disease.

Third year BSc (Hons) students Tea Vrcelj (Applied Food and Nutrition), Leandra Molina Beato (Bakery and Patisserie Technology) and Zoe Ager and Alex Carr (Food Development and Innovation) pipped their opponents to the post by 185 to 180 points in the challenge organised by the Institute of Food Science and Technology (IFST).

Zoe, who put the team together, said: “I was proud to lead the UCB team in the first ever IFST University Food Challenge and extremely pleased that we won after a closely fought final against Nottingham, winning on the final point.”

Leandra said: "I am so happy and proud to be part of the winning team and represent the UCB bakery degree course. I couldn't believe it when we won. This clearly shows the baking industry that UCB students have the knowledge of food science and the importance of this within the food industry.

Tea said: “It feels amazing to have won! Credit to the University of Nottingham team, who showed stunning knowledge in food science and microbiology. We were pleased to go up against them in the final.

“I feel this has opened many doors for my future education and the development of my career, not mentioning that the audience called us the best dressed team!”

In total, five teams went buzzer to buzzer in the challenge, Coventry University, Cardiff Metropolitan University and Oxford Brookes University being knocked out in the initial rounds.

With questions that required swotting up on everything from food safety, food regulation and food manufacture to nutrition and sensory science, each team had to play two others in the initial round.

Each 20-minute match started with a ‘fastest finger’ buzzer question, the winner of which was then awarded three bonus questions.

The team with the most points then progressed to the next round, leaving a final two to go head-to-head for the title.

UCB College of Food lecturer Mandy Lloyd said: “We were all really pleased to be represented in this national competition and the whole teaching and support team was getting updates as the competition progressed throughout the day.

“As you can imagine, we were all really excited and waited with bated breath to hear the final count. And what a fantastic achievement!

“We are so proud of the team and want to congratulate them all on a brilliant demonstration of their knowledge and confidence when up against some tough opposition, the cross discipline collaboration was a great bonus.”

Leandra added: “We all hope to motivate more students to participate in competitions like this as it helps UCB stand out from the crowd even further, and give us the chance to network with industry. I’d like to thank the lecturers for all their support and the knowledge they’ve given us so far.”

“I’m ready glad I had the opportunity to take part in this huge competition during this lovely journey in England,” added Tea. “I’m proud of my team, which had the perfect mix of knowledge in different areas.”

The IFST is the qualifying body for food professionals in Europe.

Find out more about courses at UCB’s College of Food.

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