Sheffield College Student Triumphs at Zest Quest Asia – Tilda Challenge 2021!
Tilda is thrilled to announce that Oliver Herrington from Sheffield College has won the Zest Quest Asia – Tilda Challenge Award 2021, with his Nagasaki Ramen Pork-Belly and Handmade Tilda Basmati Rice Noodles.
Zest Quest Asia founders Cyrus and Pervin Todiwala welcomed the student chef to the Tilda winner’s circle in this, the 8th year of Zest Quest Asia.
Mentored by Chef Lecturer Andrew Gabbitas, Oliver prepared a Nagasaki Ramen-marinated Glazed Pork Belly served with langoustine, mussels and kamaboko, fried wood ear mushrooms with garlic & ginger broth, and handmade basmati rice noodles. The Sheffield College student said that he had been inspired by a Japanese dish created in 1899. The judges felt the dish went ‘above and beyond every part of the criteria’ with its creativity, good flavour, texture and skill.
As the winner of the virtual spin-off, Oliver and Sheffield College will enjoy an exclusive Masterclass with Cyrus Todiwala, trophy, chef knives and jacket, alongside plenty of Tilda goodies for the kitchen!
The award for ‘Best Use of Rice’ went to Killoran Wills from University College Birmingham who especially impressed the panel with her Coconut & Lime Rice Cream using Tilda Basmati Rice, served on a Cardamom & Cumin Jasmine Rice Sponge with sesame seed tuile and mango compote & coulis.
The nationwide, thrilling final was judged by Cyrus and Pervin Todiwala, Murray Chapman, Steve Munkley as well as Jo Witchell from Tilda Foodservice.
Tasting judges were on hand to guide the panel and included guest chefs, Mark Poynton from MJP Restaurant, Graeme Watson Vice Chairman – Master Chefs of Great Britain, Steve Bennett from Healing Manor, Adam Lestrelle from Roehampton Club, Chris Hanson from Blend Kitchen, Willie Pike – Chef Consultant, John Jackaman from Infusions4Chefs, Douglas Jordan – Chairman NECTA, Nick Claxton-Webb from Adnams, Jasbir Dawar from Chefi and Hilton T5, along with Tilda’s very own Simon Hall, Luke Dalley and Gareth Jones.
Annette Coggins, Head of Foodservice, Tilda UK said of the winners:
“This year’s competition was tougher than ever before, with the chefs creating a diverse range of dishes and executing each one to the highest quality. At Tilda we pride ourselves on innovation and the versatility of our rice products and that’s why Oliver took the trophy this year. We do want to say that we consider everyone who got to this final stage as a winner, so we extend our thanks and congratulations to all the finalists”.
The competition is headline sponsored by Tilda Foodservice who, in collaboration with the Todiwalas, hope to inspire student chefs across the UK to consider Asian cookery as a future career by recognising outstanding talent, knowledge and understanding of the cuisine. Together they hope to place classical Asian cookery firmly on the curriculum, as well as build on the skills needed for future chefs to succeed in the Asian food industry.
Cyrus Todiwala said, “This was one of the toughest competitions to judge in a long time. Each and every finalist wowed the judges with their sheer effort and talent, so regardless of there being only a few named winners, everyone deserves a pat on the back for a great job done.
“Oliver is a worthy Zest Quest Asia – Tilda Challenge champion. His winning dish was outstanding on so many levels and reflected everything this competition was about – his fantastic use of Tilda rice, the research he undertook to learn more about an Asian culture and its cuisines, and the talent and ambition he displayed in creating and executing a superb award-winning dish.
“Pervin, myself, our director Murray and all the Zest Quest Asia team are grateful to Tilda Foodservice for the commitment and resources they’ve poured into the Zest Quest Asia – Tilda Challenge 2021. It’s unbelievably rewarding to see that our passion to ensure student chefs develop skills and knowledge in Asian cuisine is also shared by college lecturers up and down the country, as well as the tasting judges who shared their expertise with us.”
This year’s winners were revealed virtually due to Covid-19 regulations but that didn’t dampen the spirit of any of the incredibly talented entrants. Due to the competition’s growing popularity and the sheer quality of applications the original format of six entrants were doubled to allow for twelve. Entrants took inspiration from today’s hottest food trends from plant-based to one pot recipes and created recipes that are authentic, flavourful and celebrate the best of regional Asian cuisine.
Cyrus and Pervin Todiwala founded Zest Quest Asia in collaboration with the Master Chefs of Great Britain, and Tilda has been a proud sponsor since its launch eight years ago. Zest Quest Asia Tilda Challenge 2021 couldn’t have happened without the support of Richie Carter from MK College, A Passion to Inspire, Chefi, Russums Catering, Master Chefs of GB, and MSC Seafood.
To recognise as many students as possible, all entries to the competition were reviewed by MSC Seafood, who awarded Ben Addy from Sheffield College first place in a special Best Use of Fish prize, designed to encourage the next generation of chefs to think about sourcing and cooking with sustainable fish.