Prominent catering equipment firms have returned to sponsor Zest Quest Asia 2019, chefs Cyrus and Pervin Todiwala’s initiative to spark interest and develop knowledge of Asian cookery among ‘home grown’ student chefs.
Warewasher manufacturer Meiko, microwave supplier Regale, and food preparation equipment specialist Robot Coupe are among the line-up of supporters for the sixth edition of the competition, which will once again be held at Hilton London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 (Hilton T5), where the Todiwalas run their restaurant, Café Spice Namaste.
On Friday 8 February, the gala dinner will be the culmination of a 6-month search for the new Zest Quest Asia champions. Earlier in the day, teams from six colleges would have competed in a cook-off, helping to fulfil the aims of the competition, which is run in collaboration with the Master Chefs of Great Britain.
The finalist colleges are Colchester Institute, Farnborough College of Technology, New City College, North Hertfordshire College, University of West London, and Westminster Kingsway College.
The night will kick off with a drinks reception featuring Asian-inspired canapes prepared by students of the University of West London, the current Zest Quest Asia champions. It will be followed by a five-course Goan-influenced dinner created by Cyrus Todiwala, assisted by chef friends and highlighting local British produce.
BBC Radio 2 food and drink broadcaster Nigel Barden will emcee the evening, with legendary chef Ken Hom OBE a special guest.
Cyrus Todiwala said: “I hope as many people as possible will come to the Zest Quest Asia 2019 Gala Dinner and Awards Night. It’s going to be a great evening, celebrating skills and ambition, and we’re also planning a truly interesting menu to support the students, their colleges, parents and friends on the night. Of course, there will be the announcement of the first prize Asian destination at the end of the night.”
Nigel Barden commented: “I’m so looking forward to hosting Zest Quest Asia. Not only is it a fabulous opportunity to showcase talented young Asian chefs, who’ve reached the final of the competition, but also to spend time in the company of Cyrus and Pervin Todiwala, who are marvellous ambassadors for the food and drink industry. It’ll be an evening of celebration, excellent food and great banter. No wonder I’m excited at the prospect!”