Cyrus and Pervin Todiwala have revealed the three finalists who will go forward to the cook-offs of the Zest Quest Asia – Panasonic Autumn Challenge, the latest on-line spinoff of their student culinary competition, Zest Quest Asia.
Each competitor had to submit a recipe for an Asian-inspired dish that can be part-cooked in a Panasonic professional combination microwave oven.
Alfie Joe Alsop of Cambridge Regional College, Matas Gestautas of New City College (Redbridge Campus) and Emily Simkins of North Hertfordshire College were picked from a field of over 20 students. Both Alsop and Gestautas looked to Korea, with Alsop putting forward a Korean Bibimbap and Gestautas offering his version of a Bulgogi Korean BBQ short ribs dish, served with steamed rice. Simkins’ entry consisted of a Thai Salmon in spicy coconut sauce with turmeric rice.
For the final round, all three will be asked to prepare their shortlisted recipes using the Panasonic professional combination microwave oven that will now be delivered to their colleges. Each finalist must film themselves live on video as they cook the dishes in their college kitchens. The judging panel, which includes Cyrus and Pervin Todiwala as well as Murray Chapman, the current winner of the 2021 Catey Education and Training Award, will then make a decision based on the video content.
Cyrus Todiwala said: “The Zest Quest Asia – Panasonic Autumn Challenge is designed to inspire our next generation of professional chefs to accept the use of high-tech, high-output and power-saving equipment in the production of great quality dishes at speed.
“The ability to take advantage of available technology adds to the repertoire of skills demanded of chefs today, and the need will only grow in the future. I’m so proud of the fact that so many students like Alfie, Matas and Emily were talented and ambitious enough to accept our challenge and submit their entries. The judges and I are looking forward to seeing what our finalists come up with and to picking the worthy winner.”
Barnaby Sykes, head of category marketing, Panasonic, said: “We’ve been very proud sponsors of this fantastic competition since its inception in 2013 but this time wanted to showcase the versatility of the much underused combination microwave and challenge the students in their understanding of what place technology can have in a modern kitchen.
“We asked them to prepare and cook an authentic Asian dish, but they had to demonstrate how they could use a combination microwave to replace some of the traditional stages of cooking. We’ve been blown away by the response and high standard of entries and thank every college that took part. Now we can’t wait to see what these three finalists can do and look forward to announcing the winner very soon.”
The winning student will receive a Panasonic combination microwave for his or her college, as well as a Santoku knife and a £50 Russums voucher (for the lecturer as well). The two runner up students will win a commercial rice cooker for their respective colleges, as well as a Santoku knife and a £25 Russums voucher each for themselves and their lecturer.