Chef and restaurateur, Cyrus Todiwala, has announced the extension of the submission deadline for Zest Quest Asia 2022. Full-time students with permanent residency or indefinite leave to remain in the UK will now have until 12 noon on Friday, 4th March to submit their entries to the culinary competition founded in 2013 by Cyrus and Pervin Todiwala to help develop ‘home grown’ talent in Asian cuisine.
The finalists will be announced on Tuesday, 15th March, with the live cook-off and awards ceremony now scheduled to take place on Friday, 8th April at the Hilton London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5.
Cyrus Todiwala said, ‘With all the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus restrictions, we decided it was best to adjust the competition calendar, particularly the timing of the live cook-off, as soon as we had greater clarity. But we’ve been delighted by the interest and number of entries so far, and extending the deadline means even more colleges have the chance to enter Zest Quest Asia and more students will be able to show off their talent and ambition. The excitement among the colleges and students has been fantastic!’
Known for its rigorous judging criteria, Zest Quest Asia recognises outstanding knowledge and talent in the preparation of Asian cuisine, with colleges invited to field teams of three students supported by their tutors. The first prize is a coveted trip-of-a-lifetime where the winning teams can immerse themselves in the culture, food and culinary traditions of a secret Asian destination revealed only at the awards ceremony.
Among the colleges to have signalled their enthusiasm for Zest Quest Asia 2022 are The Sheffield College and current Zest Quest Asia champions, University College Birmingham (UCB).
Andy Gabbitas BEM, chef lecturer at The Sheffield College, said ‘It’s great to see that Zest Quest Asia has returned to its old, live format. We cannot wait to enter. The knowledge, fun and confidence that the students gain whilst going on an Asian culinary journey is second to none.’
Lewis Walker, chef lecturer and deputy head of the College of Food at UCB, said, ‘For me, Zest Quest Asia has always been much more than a cooking competition. It’s been a life changing experience for our students and an incredible opportunity to immerse themselves in Asian cuisines and cultures, to challenge their skills and understanding of flavours and spices, and to expand their networks across colleges, suppliers and professional chefs. I’d encourage anyone who is qualified to enter, to do so and to give it their all!’
A number of industry suppliers have pledged their support for Zest Quest Asia. Products by gold sponsors Panasonic and Tilda will feature in the live cook-off. Bidfood, Cobra Beer, Don Papa Rum, Gonzales Byass, Ian MacLeod Distillers, McCormick, and Meiko have also come on board as major sponsors.