From education to employment



It’s a great start to the New Year for the six colleges that passed the first hurdle on the way to becoming the new Zest Quest Asia 2024 champions.

Cyrus Todiwala, co-founder of the much-anticipated student culinary competition, today announced the judges’ picks.  Going forward to the finals are student teams from Cheshire College South & West, Loughborough College, New College Durham, North Hertfordshire College, The Sheffield College and University College Birmingham.  Having reached the main stage of the competition, budding chefs will now be challenged not only to demonstrate their ability to prepare a four-course, Asian-inspired menu but to prove they have the knowledge and understanding of the deeper culture behind their chosen dishes.

The finals will consist of two-parts: a 15-minute knowledge presentation to be held on 26th February at the Hilton London Wembley, followed by a live cook off on 27th February.  This is the second year running that the University of West London will be hosting the live cook off in its state-of-the-art training kitchens in Ealing.  Among the rules of the competition are that students must use product from headline sponsor Tilda Rice, and that a Panasonic combination oven features in the process of creating their menu.

The winners will be announced at a Gala Dinner and Awards Night at Hilton London Wembley on 27th February, following a canape reception prepared by current Zest Quest Asia champions University of West London.  The highlight of the evening will be the big reveal – which Asian country the overall champions will be visiting for a one-week ‘culinary trip of a lifetime’. 

Cyrus Todiwala said, “The judges and I can’t wait to see the extent of the finalists’ talent and ambition during the cook-offs and also how much knowledge of Asian food they can pack into their presentations.  Steve Munkley, our chair of judges, and I held tutorials with the college lecturers and tutors before the students submitted their entries, so we know these teams have the support they need to succeed in this rigorous competition.

“When we say that everyone wins just by competing in Zest Quest Asia, we mean that sincerely because these student chefs will learn so much more about Asian tastes, flavours and techniques than they could ever have dreamed of.  Zest Quest Asia is only the beginning.”

Zest Quest Asia was launched in 2013 by Cyrus and Pervin Todiwala with the support of the Master Chefs of Great Britain.

Tickets for the Gala Dinner and Awards Night are now on sale priced at £110pp, or £1,000 per table of 10, and include the drinks reception and 3-course dinner with wines and can be booked here.

Special accommodation rates for Zest Quest Asia gala dinner guests are also available at Hilton London Wembley.  Please contact Cora at [email protected] for the booking link.

For more information on Zest Quest Asia 2024 visit here.

Related Articles