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Girl Power! New City College Wins Tilda’s Best Use of Rice at Zest Quest Asia 2020

19 April 2021

New City College is celebrating once again at this year’s Zest Quest Asia 2020, after its student chef team won Tilda’s ‘Best Use of Rice’ award for the second consecutive year.

The all-female team from Hackney, chefs Rebekah Samuels, Jenai Julien and Denique Cole Johnson were awarded the Tilda trophy after impressing the judges with their Indonesian street food inspired menu of Chicken Satay served with a satay sauce, Tilda Jasmine Lonton, pickled cucumber and handmade Tilda Arborio Rice crackers. Beef Rendang cooked on the bone, spinach & sweetcorn puree and Indonesian Rendang grilled Jasmine rice. For dessert the talented team created a traditional Lapis layer cake, with toasted ground Tilda Brown rice Ice Cream, seeded Tuile and Brown Rice Pudding with a rice pudding foam.

Speaking at the glittering awards, Zest Quest judge Johanna Witchell, Commercial Marketing Manager, Tilda UK said:

“A massive congratulations to New City College, the team really took their dishes to the next level with their complexity of ingredients, flavours and presentation. We were very impressed by not only their passion and knowledge of Asian cooking, but their understanding of how the right speciality rice can enhance a creation, as well as add authenticity. We’re delighted to present New City College with the Tilda trophy!”

Along with the coveted trophy, the Tilda winners will enjoy an all-expenses paid trip to Italy, spending time in the stunning Po Valley in Northern Italy and the cosmopolitan city of Milan. The two night trip will give the deserving chefs the opportunity to learn the story behind Tilda’s world famous Arborio rice, explore the paddy fields and have an exclusive tour of the rice mill. The team will then go on to Milan where they will discover the city’s hidden gastro gems with a food safari, as well as enjoy some of the best and most exciting Asian inspired restaurants the city has to offer.

Jeff Mason, Chef Lecturer at New City College added;

“I can’t tell you enough how proud I am of these three girls; they cooked their absolute socks off and trained so hard – what a journey!”

The gala dinner held at Hilton London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5, was hosted by BBC Radio 2 food and drink broadcaster Nigel Barden, with TV chef and food writer, Ching He Huang as a special guest. Earlier in the day, teams from six colleges competed in a tense cook-off, which saw University College Birmingham crowned the 2020 Zest Quest Asia winners, winning a culinary trip to Bangkok.

Cyrus and Pervin Todiwala founded Zest Quest Asia in collaboration with the Master Chefs of Great Britain, to inspire students across the UK to consider Asian cookery as a future career – Tilda has been a proud supporter of Zest Quest Asia since its launch seven years ago. The competition aims to help stem the skills shortage in Asian cuisine threatening the £4 billion Asian food industry, as well as to encourage educationalists to include classical Asian cookery in the curriculum.

Click here for the winning Beef Rendang recipe
Click here for the winning Chicken Satay recipe
Click here for the winning Lapis Cake recipe