Cyrus Todiwala launches Zest Quest Asia 2020

Cyrus Todiwala launches Zest Quest Asia 2020

(London, 5th August 2019) ‘Colleges and aspiring student chefs should seriously consider entering Zest Quest Asia 2020 when they return to college after the summer recess,’ says Cyrus Todiwala OBE DL, announcing that the seventh round of the ground-breaking competition is now open for entries.

Founded by Cyrus and Pervin Todiwala, Zest Quest Asia is the student catering competition that recognises outstanding talent, knowledge and understanding of Asian cuisine.

Cyrus Todiwala OBE DL

The competition is open to full-time students with permanent residency status in the UK.  Colleges are invited to field teams of three students (plus their tutor) who vie for a first prize consisting of a 7 to 10-day cultural tour of an Asian culinary capital. Last year’s champions, University of West London, were treated to an unforgettable trip to the Philippines with an itinerary that included a cook-off at the Residence of the British Ambassador to the Philippines, H.E. Daniel Pruce, and a stage and cookery demonstrations at the 5-star Fairmont Makati and Raffles Makati.

University of West London goes to Manila with Zest Quest Asia

Zest Quest Asia was first launched in 2013 to inspire students across the UK to consider Asian cookery as a future career. In so doing, the competition aims to help stem the skills shortage in Asian cuisine threatening the billion-pound Asian food industry, as well as encourage educationists to include classical Asian cookery in the curriculum.

To-date, five colleges and universities have produced Zest Quest Asia champions: Westminster Kingsway College, Farnborough College, Milton Keynes College, University College Birmingham, and current champions University of West London, winners of the competition for two consecutive years.

While the overall winner wins a trip of a lifetime to such cities as Mumbai, Colombo, Bangkok, Tokyo, Osaka, Hanoi and Manila, every year generous sponsors also line up educational experiences that ensure all deserving teams feel like winners. Prizes have included trips to vineyards, farms and state-of-the art food production facilities in Europe and the UK, donated by generous sponsors.

The next winning destination is a closely held secret, to be revealed only at the Gala Dinner and Awards evening held at the Hilton London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5, following a cook-off and knowledge presentation at the hotel’s signature restaurant, Mr Todiwala’s Kitchen. This year the competition and awards evening is set for Friday, 7th February 2020.

Cyrus Todiwala said, ‘Last year’s Zest Quest Asia competition was one of the best we’d seen, matched by phenomenal prizes that make it more than worthwhile for ambitious students to enter. And competing is only the beginning, with a wealth of experiences and contacts opening up to the students. Being crowned Zest Quest Asia champion gives students not just an edge that helps them in their future careers, but serves as a brilliant badge of achievement for both students and their colleges that no one can ever take away.

‘We’ve seen some previous winners go on to careers in Asian cuisine, and every time they go abroad, they not only learn but become great ambassadors for Britain. We expect to have many great entries this year!’

Nathan Vasanthan, Lecturer at the London Geller College of Hospitality and Tourism at the University of West London, who accompanied the current Zest Quest Asia champions to Manila, said, ‘For the students, I believe the biggest challenge is to keep the authenticity of the dishes as modernity tends to focus more on how the dishes should be presented and served.  Zest Quest Asia, beyond the competition, media exposure and the reputation it can bring, highlights the great but still untapped potential of Asian cuisine in the UK.’

A number of companies have already pledged to sponsor Zest Quest Asia 2019 including Hilton, Tilda, Panasonic, Robot Coupe, Cobra, Regale, Meiko, Bidford and Glengoyne.


To submit expressions of interest and for details of how to enter Zest Quest Asia 2020, colleges should visit (How to Enter) or contact Nitin Kapoor at in the first instance.


The deadline for entries is Friday, 25th October 2019.  The shortlist will be revealed in early December, with the final cook off and gala dinner to be held on Friday, 7th February 2020 at the Hilton London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5.