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University caterers win big at TUCO Skills awards
Earlier this week (16-18 March) the 22nd University Caterers Organisation (TUCO) Annual Skills Competitions returned to the Blackpool Hilton for the 22nd time.
Here, over 200 talented chefs, foodservice personnel, caterers and baristas from higher education institutions across the UK took part, showcasing the passion and dedication that go into this particular sector of the industry – a sector whose offering today is, quite frankly, unrecognisable when compared with the one endured by previous generations of students.
The competitors’ skills and knowledge were put to the test in a series of events, including Barista Skills Challenge, Chefs’ Challenge, Foodservice Skills Competition, Salon Culinaire and Training Workshops.
New to the competition this year was the Bartender of the Year award; 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 wonderful to welcome such an outstanding selection of professionals from all over the UK who brought a huge range of talent to 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
- TUCO Sustainability initiative of the Year: University of Reading
- TUCO Chefs’ Challenge: University of Reading
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