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TUCO Competitions return for 25th anniversary

The prestigious annual skills competition brings together 150 entrants from the university hospitality sector

Posted by James Higgins | March 07, 2018 | Catering & hospitality

The University Caterers Organisation (TUCO) Competitions returns for its 25th anniversary.

The prestigious annual skills competition will be held at the University of Warwick between the 26th–28th March 2018.

Celebrating a quarter of a century of culinary excellence, the event will be a three-day extravaganza, showcasing the extraordinary skills of university hospitality. The competition expects to welcome more than 150 entrants and 400 delegates.  

Entrants are from across the sector and come from over 40 institutions

TUCO Chair Matthew White commented: “So much has changed since it started. If you consider the current hyper-interest and differing approach to food and drink, the bar has simply never been higher.”

“University caterers are in a unique position,” White continued, “we cater for students across the globe and as soon as the terms close, we go on to provide best-in-class corporate hospitality to FTSE companies. It’s an extremely broad range of skills required and the TUCO Competitions is an excellent opportunity to see all of those these skills on show.”

The main objective of starting the competition was to help show off the calibre of staff working in the university sector and to give chefs the opportunity to network and develop their skills

On Monday 26th March, the event will begin with competitors and visitors invited to several learning and development sessions in preparation for competitions the following day.

Peter Griffiths MBE, President of British Culinary Federation and head judge of TUCO Competitions 2018, said: “I have been involved with judging for TUCO for over 20 years and during that time have certainly seen the standards and culinary skills grow, year on year.” 

The competition has, in Griffiths view, enriched university hospitality with talent and skills from the catering sector. “The main objective of starting the competition was to help show off the calibre of staff working in the university sector and to give chefs the opportunity to network and develop their skills. One of the results of this has been that talented chefs from within the industry have successfully moved over into the university sector, which in turn has helped to lift standards even higher,” Griffiths added.

Competitions include barista skills, bar skills, the cook and serve challenge, the speed cook challenge, Salon Culinaire and – new to this year – the HOTS (hotel, operations, tactics and strategy) competition. The HOTS competition has teams working together to run a simulated hotel business, challenging participants to develop and manage a 125-bed virtual hotel over a simulated two-year period.

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