From Denis Sheehan MIH, Editor, H&C News: Cyrus and Pervin Todiwala launch Zest Quest Asia 2023.
Students who believe they have the talent and ambition to prove themselves in the world of Asian cuisine can now submit their entries for Zest Quest Asia 2023.
Founders Cyrus and Pervin Todiwala have announced the official launch of their annual landmark competition, first launched in 2013 with support from the Master Chefs of Great Britain. Zest Quest Asia was designed to encourage students to strive for excellence in the knowledge, understanding and preparation of Asian food.
The competition, now in its ninth year, is open to all full-time UK permanent residents in the hospitality industry. There are no age limits, so older students can participate if they meet the criteria.
Zest Quest Asia is organized by the Todiwala Foundation, a non-profit organization established to support education and training in the hospitality industry, particularly in Asian culinary arts. Last August, through its colleges, including North Hertfordshire College, Sheffield College, Loughborough College and the Colchester Institute, the Foundation was able to distribute small cash grants of up to £500 to students, who in turn have used the grants to fund the purchase of Items that students need but may find it difficult to afford. To date, Zest Quest Asia has been funded entirely through sponsorship and the Todiwalas are proud to announce this year’s lineup of confirmed Gold Sponsors: Tilda, Hilton, Cobra, Meiko, Panasonic, Schwartz by McCormick Flavor Solutions and Mizkan.
Zest Quest Asia is a team competition where colleges field 3 students assisted by their faculty. Both the admission requirements and the evaluation criteria are strict; While the presentation of the dishes can be modernized, their preparation must reflect authentic Asian cooking techniques and ingredients. The finalists are expected to attend a live cooking session at the Hilton London Heathrow, Terminal 5 on Friday 17 February 2021 and the winners will be announced at a gala dinner that evening.
The grand prize is a cultural and educational trip to a secret Asian destination that was only revealed at night. Since the competition’s launch, Zest Quest Asia Champions have traveled to India, Japan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines. There will also be a number of additional prizes, such as a discovery trip to Italy for the team demonstrating the Best Use of Rice, sponsored by Tilda.
Cyrus Todiwala said: “Once again we are expecting great things from college students from across the UK through their performance at Zest Quest Asia. This summer, Pervin and I hosted a get-together at our restaurant, Café Spice Namaste, where college faculty members who saw their students thrive because of Zest Quest Asia were only too proud to share how much value it is to them now what was once a chick competition.
“Zest Quest Asia is a substantial competition – resources are invested to ensure students receive as much support as possible prior to the competition, such as: B. the tutorials and masterclasses provided by our food sponsors. In fact, the students get the most points for their ability to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the kitchen.”
Pervin Todiwala said: “Hundreds of students have participated in Zest Quest Asia since we started the competition in 2013. The winners have had experiences in different Asian countries that put them in direct contact with the culture and cuisine that they might not have discovered if they had not participated in Zest Quest Asia. Their hearts and minds were opened to new worlds.”
Steve Munkley, Chairman of the Jury at Zest Quest Asia, said: “It’s not just about cooking, although that is a challenge in itself, it’s about appreciating the culture behind the Asian cuisine chosen. But then the prices are sensational. I don’t know of many student competitions that are this challenging and rewarding. Zest Quest Asia motivates the future of our industry to aim high.”
The Zest Quest Asia submission deadline is Friday 16th December 2022. Finalists will be announced on Wednesday 4th January 2023. For more information on attending, please contact Cora Strachan at [email protected] Information is also provided below www.zestquestasia.org
The following companies have also pledged invaluable support to Zest Quest Asia 2023: Bidfood, Chefi, Russums, Metcalfe Catering Equipment and Clive Roberts’ The Old Forge Wines. Sheffield College, current winner of Zest Quest Asia, travels to Negros Occidental (“Sugarlandia”) in the Philippines, compliments of Bleeding Heart Rum, makers of Don Papa Rum.