More than 400 leading hospitality professionals and guests descended on historic Warwick on Monday 10th and Tuesday 11th April for the 24th annual TUCO Competitions to celebrate the high skill levels within the industry.
Over the course of the two-day event, 150 experts from the higher and further education sector went head-to-head to compete in a series of food and drink challenges. The champions in each category including, Bar Skills, Barista Skills, Campus Speed Cook, Chef’s Challenge, Cook & Serve and Salon Culinaire were announced at a glittering Gala Dinner held at the Arts Centre at The University of Warwick on 11th April.
New to the competition this year, the Cook & Serve Challenge put teamwork to the test as the entrants had to prepare, cook and serve a three-course meal for six covers in just 90 minutes. Judged on everything from presentation and food waste to individual culinary skills, seven universities competed to create the perfect fine dining experience in front of a live audience.
It’s always inspiring to see so many experienced and up-and-coming professionals coming together to share their knowledge and expertise, and showcase the innovation and creativity within our sector
In addition, the Salon Culinaire tested competitors’ skills as they were tasked with creating stand-out dishes, from delicate and intricately decorated cakes to perfectly baked bread and board displays. This year’s event also widened its appeal with the introduction of four new categories including amuse bouche, afternoon tea cakes, cookie challenge and tray bake display.
Matt White, Chair of TUCO, said: “The expertise and innovation displayed across the higher education sector never fails to impress me and this year was no exception. Huge congratulations to all our competitors who demonstrated some truly outstanding skills over the past two days. It’s always inspiring to see so many experienced and up-and-coming professionals coming together to share their knowledge and expertise, and showcase the innovation and creativity within our sector.”
Winners of the awards were announced as:
• TUCO Barista Skills Challenge: Dana-Maria Danut, University of Warwick
• TUCO Bar Skills Competition: Elle Gilligan, Lancaster University
• TUCO Salon Culinaire, Afternoon Tea: Robert Blackwell, University of Cambridge
• TUCO Salon Culinaire, Amuse Bouche: Claudia Krug, University of St Andrews
• TUCO Salon Culinaire, Bread Display and Coffee Shop Style Sponge Cake: Dave Quinn, University of Chester
• TUCO Salon Culinaire, Cookie Challenge: Haley Fry, University of Warwick
• TUCO Salon Culinaire, Cup Cake Challenge: Ruth Hanlon, University of St Andrews
• TUCO Salon Culinaire, Decorative Exhibit: Mary Fry, University of Warwick
• TUCO Salon Culinaire, Novelty Decorated Cake: Stefan Miles, Imperial College London
• TUCO Salon Culinaire, Plated Main Course: Peter Fry, University of Warwick
• TUCO Salon Culinaire, Restaurant Plated Dessert: Ravikkanth Kanthiya, Royal Holloway University
• TUCO Salon Culinaire, Tray Bake: Nadine Stanton, University of Birmingham
• TUCO Chefs’ Challenge: Glyn Jacklin and Richard Dutton, University College Birmingham
• TUCO Campus Speed Cook: Chris Murphy, University of Chester
• TUCO Cook & Serve Challenge: Phil Thorpe, Zoran Zivkovic and Samantha Chick, University of Warwick
For more information on the TUCO Competitions, please visit www.tuco.ac.uk