Sheffield College trainee chefs are through to the finals of the prestigious Zest Quest Asia 2023 competition.
Six colleges will compete in a live cook-off and team presentation at the Radisson Red Hotel London Heathrow this week.
Founded in 2013 by restaurateurs Cyrus and Pervin Todiwala, with the Master Chefs of Great Britain, the competition recognises outstanding talent, knowledge and understanding of Asian cuisine.
This latest success follows hot on the heels of Sheffield College students winning last year’s competition. As the current title holders, the students have recently returned from a prize trip to the Philippines.
Andy Gabbitas, Chef Lecturer, Catering and Hospitality, The Sheffield College, said:
“It’s been an amazing year for our students. Our reigning winners recently returned from the Philippines and it’s great to see the College make the finals again this year.”
He added: “We take great pride in educating and training our students in the skills that employers need. There’s no better way of putting those to the test than competing in high profile competitions led by the industry’s top talent.”
The Zest Quest Asia gala dinner and awards night on February 17th, 2023, will include a drinks reception featuring Asian-inspired canapes prepared by last year’s Sheffield College winners.
The students taking part include Max Heath, who is completing the Professional Chef’s Diploma at the College’s City Campus, on Granville Road, and who returned from the Philippines trip last month.
An educational trip of a lifetime, the visit included Manila and the province of Negros Occidental, known as Sugarlandia, and took place from January 9th to 16th, 2023.
The prize, sponsored by Don Papa Rum, enabled the students to discover first-hand the sights, smells and tastes of traditional Filipino cuisine, and participate in a range of activities including culinary master classes and a charity dinner.
In addition, the students enjoyed a rare opportunity to visit the lands and distillery in the southern Philippines where Don Papa Rum is produced from local sugarcane.
Andy Gabbitas continued: “It was the trip of a lifetime, absolutely stunning. We enjoyed various fine dining menus comprising 32 and 16 courses and rum tasting as well as flavoursome street food including delicacies such as sea urchin with wasabi and soya sauce.
“We visited the sugar mills and saw how muscovado sugar is made and we loved walking around the old town of Manila. We would like to thank Cyrus and Pervin Todiwala and Don Papa Rum for such an awe inspiring trip.”
Student Max Heath said:
“When it was announced that we had won Zest Quest Asia 2022, I was overcome with pride and excitement about visiting the Philippines.
“The visit was amazing. I learned so much about the cuisine and we were made really welcome. We ate everywhere from a seafood breakfast in a market to a 16 course tasting menu!”
Max added: “It has given me an appetite to travel after I have finished college. I will never forget my time in the Philippines and I am truly grateful to all the organisers.”
To find out about tickets for the event, please visit the Zest Quest Asia website.