A trio of UCB trainee chefs will enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Japan after being crowned winners of Zest Quest Asia 2017.
Culinary Arts Management students Peter Price, Hugo Montgomery and Alex McLaren were victorious at last night’s (February 13) competition, held at the Hilton London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5. UCB was also honoured with the Koppertcress Award for Best Presented Menu.
The team went head-to-head, during a live cook-off, with students from four other colleges from across the UK to present a contemporary twist on classical Asian dishes, inspired by the theme of migration.
Their culinary knowledge was then put under the microscope when they gave a ten-minute presentation covering food culture, provenance and sustainability.
Twenty-year-old Peter, from Herefordshire, said: “We put in so much effort over the past few months it was great to get such a fantastic pay-off.”
Hugo, also aged 20 from Bristol, added: “Since October we have been dedicating two or three days a week to this competition. It feels unreal to have actually won.”
Alex, aged 22 from Aberdeen, thanked chef lecturer and mentor Lewis Walker for his support. He said: “We could not have done this without Chef Walker. It has been an amazing experience.”
The competition, which is now in its fourth year, is the brainchild of Chef Cyrus Todiwala of Café Spice Namaste, in collaboration with the Master Chefs of Great Britain.
Chef Walker said: “Our students undertook a huge task with this competition, and really challenged themselves with their dishes, as well as their research into the cultures and cuisines of Asia, and the sustainability and versatility of the ingredients they used.
“I’m incredibly proud that they competed with such professionalism, and really put in practice what they have learnt on the Culinary Arts Management programme. To win such an amazing competition is testament to the teamwork, collaboration and support of a breadth of staff across The College of Food – but all credit goes to Peter, Alex and Hugo.”
In addition to travelling to Japan, the team will also enjoy a three-night break in Holland courtesy of one of the sponsors.
The winning menu
Starter: Sri Lankan marinated North Atlantic mackerel, Ceylonese fish croquette wrapped in idiyappam noodles, tomato and tamarind fondue, garlic fried spinach, kiri hodi coconut sauce and pol sambol
Main course: Royal ‘Thali’ with roast loin of Scottish Speyside venison, chana dahl, bhartha, peanut sauce, spiced pea puree with fried paneer, mint sauce, aloo gobi, glazed pearl onion, roti bread
Dessert: Gloucestershire Williams pear and saffron zarda, chai tea soaked date and pear samosa, cinnamon poached pear, date puree, duqqa spice