Hit Scotland


Zest Quest Asia 2016

  • 24/09/2015

Colleges have less than two months to submit their entries for Zest Quest Asia, the competition designed to recognise student teams that can best demonstrate their knowledge and skill in Asian cuisine. The final date for submissions is 6th November 2015.

Cyrus Todiwala OBE, Chef Patron of Café Spice Namaste, The Park Café Mr Todiwala’s Kitchen, Assado and other businesses comprising Mr Todiwala’s Collection, launched Zest Quest Asia in 2013 in collaboration with Master Chefs of Great Britain.

The competition’s aims are two-fold; firstly to stimulate an interest in Asian cuisine and by extension, Asian culinary arts, as a valuable career among budding chefs more accustomed to European and other world cuisines. Secondly to help stem the talent drain in authentic Asian cookery by up-skilling home-grown chefs, thereby helping to secure the future of the UK’s £3 billion Asian food sector. Only students who hold permanent residency in the UK are eligible to enter the competition.

With Zest Quest Asia now on its third year, the organisers have arranged a first prize of a trip to yet another Asian destination, where the winning team and their tutor will immerse themselves in new culinary adventures. Previous winners from Westminster Kingsway College and Farnborough College enjoyed ten-day gastronomic voyages in India and Sri Lanka, respectively.

Zest Quest Asia has once again succeeded in attracting big-hitting sponsorship, with some sponsors returning for the third year in a row. Confirmed gold sponsors for 2016 are Panasonic, Tilda Rice, Regale Microwaves and Hilton London Heathrow T5, who are once again hosting the cook-offs and gala dinner on 15th February 2016. The competition also has the support of the Professional Association for Catering Education (PACE) and HIT Scotland.

Cyrus Todiwala said, “I urge colleges up and down the UK to get their entries in now. So much research of late has shown that Asian food is more in demand than ever before and chefs who can demonstrate their ability to cook Asian food well, using flair and imagination, are at the cutting edge of global cuisine.

“One collateral benefit of Zest Quest Asia is that the knowledge participating students accumulate as part of what is a very rigorous process will help them to develop a fine sense of what Asian cuisine is all about, setting them up for the future. My dream is that one day even the youngest schoolchildren will understand the origins and techniques behind the Asian food many of them eat today. Zest Quest Asia is only the beginning.”

For entry forms and more information, visit the new Zest Quest Asia website zestquestasia.com. Gold level sponsorship slots are all filled now but positions are still open for Silver and Bronze. Tickets for the gala dinner will go on sale in November.