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Highland campus cookery students head to London to compete in national competition

By Caroline McMorran

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Three professional cookery students from UHI North Highland headed to London this week to compete in the final of the national Zest Quest culinary competition.

Zest Quest is a team cooking competition designed to demonstrate the student competitors' technical expertise, creativity, knowledge, understanding and appreciation of Asian cuisine.

Ted Pennington, Finlay MacDonald and Holly Preston are competing in the Zest Quest culinary competition.
Ted Pennington, Finlay MacDonald and Holly Preston are competing in the Zest Quest culinary competition.

Ted Pennington, Finlay Macdonald and Holly Preston study SVQ Professional Cookery at UHI North Highland’s Dornoch campus and will travel with their lecturer, Simon Rodgers, to compete against five college-team finalists.

Principal Debbie Murray congratulated the students and said “I am immensely proud of our students and our staff in getting to the final of Zest Quest.”

A maximum of two hours is allowed to produce the four-course meal for three covers with a focus on traditional Asian cooking.

The winners will be announced at the Zest Quest Asia 2023 Gala Dinner and Awards Night on Friday, February 17, at Radisson Red Hotel, London Heathrow.

The winning team will win the opportunity of a lifetime to embark on a culinary study tour to an Asian destination.

The students said: “The opportunity to showcase our menu, cookery skills and represent UHI North Highland in London is something we are thoroughly looking forward to. We will keep up the hard work in preparation for the finals in the hope of taking the win of Zest Quest home to the Highlands with us.”

Judges for the competition include, Steve Munkley, Cyrus Todiwala, Pervin Todiwala, Clive Roberts, Murray Chapman, Sarah Hartnett, Ching He Huang, and Tony Singh.

UHI North Highland delivers a range of professional cookery courses from entry level to degree from their campuses in Thurso and Dornoch.

The hospitality and professional cookery teams have recently joined up with hospitality businesses to launch a new introductory course ‘First Steps into Highland Hospitality’.

Throughout this short course, students combine practical, work-based learning with college study and on completion of the course will be offered a job interview.

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