Dolmio Professional & Uncle Ben’s Foodservice Student Catering Challenge winners announced

2 award winner, Taek Min Lee
06/02/2019 - 11:28
Mars Foodservice has crowned two ‘budding’ young chefs the winners of its 2019 Dolmio Professional & Uncle Ben’s Foodservice Student Catering Challenge.

With three titles up for grabs, University of West London student Taek Min Lee took home best adult and best children’s dish, while Humayun Ahmed from Westminster Kingsway College was awarded best casual dining summer family menu.

Eight finalists participated in the live cook-off during the Foodservice Show (NEC, Birmingham) last month (January) where they had to serve two dishes appropriate for a casual dining summer menu in just one hour.

Praised for his “sensational” menu, Min Lee produced a rice cake lasagne for his adult and a scorched rice pizza for his summer menu. 

Judges, including Craft Guild vice president Steve Munkley, said they were “highly creative and technical dishes that infused the flavours of India, traditional Italian structures and rice dough technique from Korea.”

He said: “The Dolmio Professional & Uncle Ben’s Foodservice Student Catering Challenge was my first ever competition, so to be awarded ‘Best Adult’s Dish’ and ‘Best Casual Dining Summer Menu’ feels amazing.

“In the weeks leading up to the live cook-off, I spent lots of time practising my dishes within the 1-hour time limit.

“By doing this, I was able to grow my confidence in my menu as well as expand my culinary and time management skills.”

Ahmed, who won ‘Best Children’s Dish’ for his “creative” chicken lollipops, commented: Winning ‘Best Children’s Dish’ was the cherry on top of what has been a brilliant competition.

“I’m particularly happy that the judges liked my children’s dish as I spent a lot of time thinking about the taste and presentation of this dish.

“To ensure that a dish appeals to children, I think it’s important to add lots of interesting colours and textures alongside popular flavours. This is why I added lots of elements such as crispy breaded chicken, BBQ sauce, crunchy sweet potato crisps and a bright pea puree.”

They each took home £200 worth of Amazon vouchers, with Min Lee receiving an additional £400 worth as well as an experience at a top UK restaurant.

Alison Smith of Mars Foodservice, commented: “The creative standard of the finalists’ dishes was particularly high this year.

“From board game inspired dishes, cuisine infusions and edible bowls, the 2018/2019 finalists truly thought outside of the box with the summer casual dining brief.

“Mars Foodservice is committed to supporting students in the early stages of their culinary careers, so it’s great to see so many budding young chefs using the Foodservice Student Catering Challenge as a platform for gaining competition experience and showcasing their talents.”

Copyright 2019 Craft Guild of Chefs

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