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Quest for culinary success for Hallam competition finalists

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A team of students from Sheffield Hallam University have been selected as finalists for a national culinary competition - Zest Quest Asia 2018.

Areg Mohammed, Joyce Ip and Alicia Wright, all in their second year of studying international hospitality business management with culinary arts, will hope to impress the judges with their technical expertise, creativity, knowledge, and appreciation of Asian cuisine.

They will go up against student competitors from University of West London, Colchester Institute, North Hertfordshire College, the Sheffield College, and Westminster Kingsway College. Each team will make an authentic Asian three course meal for two in a two-hour cook-off followed by a Q&A with the judging panel about the sustainability of their dishes.  

The triumphant team will embark on a culinary study tour to an Asian destination unveiled on the night; previous destinations have included India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Japan.

Norman Dinsdale, course leader in international hospitality management, who is also the mentor for the finalist team, said:

"It has been a real pleasure to mentor the team through preparations for the initial paper entry for the competition.  I was really delighted when we received notification of their success and a place in the final, especially being up against so many strong teams.

"This is the first time that our hospitality and culinary arts students have ever entered a culinary competition and this just goes to support the university’s ambition to become the leading applied university in the region."

Zest Quest Asia was launched in 2013 by restaurateurs Cyrus and Pervin Todiwala to promote the cuisines of Asia to UK catering students as an outlet for their culinary skills and a platform for a potential career in Asian cookery. 

Alicia said: "We are all very excited about the final and are ready to show our skills. We are passionate about cooking and sustainability and very hopeful that we will win, we're ready for a challenge and what this may lead to in the future."

The cook-off will be held on Monday 12th February 2018 at Mr Todiwala’s Kitchen, the signature restaurant of gold sponsor of the competition, Hilton London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5.

The winners will be announced at a Gala Awards dinner on the night.

For press information: ContactDeanna Coult in the Sheffield Hallam University press office on 0114 225 2811 or email