THE 22nd University Caterers Organisation (TUCO) Annual Skills Competitions returned to the Blackpool Hilton, on 17th March 2015 and saw hundreds of leading figures from the university catering sector gather to celebrate as the winners of the prestigious competition were announced.
Building on the successful awards evening last year, the atmosphere was unmatched as over 200 talented chefs, foodservice personnel, caterers and baristas from higher education institutions across the UK took part.
The competitors’ skill and knowledge was put to the test as they competed in a series of events, including Barista Skills Challenge, Chefs’ Challenge, Foodservice Skills Competition, Salon Culinaire as well as Training Workshops.
Brand new to the competition this year was the introduction of the Bartender of the Year award, in which bartenders went head to head and created some show-stopping cocktails, demonstrating their exceptional talent. There were also awards for Sustainable Initiative of the Year, Student Experience Initiative of the Year and the Street Food Chef of the Year.
Julie Barker, Chair of TUCO Ltd, commented on the event: “The TUCO Skills Competitions is the ideal platform for professionals to showcase the fantastic talent within this industry. The higher education catering sector can be overlooked in terms of style, skill and expertise, but every year this show-stopping event continues to prove that there’s no shortage of talent within this sector and that’s something that I’m truly proud of.”
“It was such a delight to welcome such an outstanding selection of professionals from all over the UK and we were lucky enough to witness a huge range of talent showcased over the event. The judges have expressed how impressed they were by the competitors this year and said that it was no easy task choosing the winners.” Winners of the awards were announced as:
- TUCO Street Food Chef of the Year: James Tudor, Keele University
- TUCO Service Skills Challenge: Terri Sindler, Royal Holloway University of London
- TUCO Barista Skills Challenge: Pariwartan Napal, Imperial College London
- TUCO Bar Competition: Natasha Vahey, University of Birmingham
- TUCO Salon Culinaire; Robert Stordy, University of Derby
- TUCO Student Experience of the Year: Royal Holloway University of London
- TUCO Sustainability initiative of the Year: University of Reading
- TUCO Chefs’ Challenge: University of Reading