Students Triumph at “DOLMIO® & UNCLE BEN’S® Foodservice Student Catering Challenge” Live Cook-Off Final!

  • On 13th March 2018

 Mars Foodservice is delighted to announce the winners from the much anticipated “DOLMIO® & UNCLE BEN’S® Foodservice Student Catering Challenge”!

  • Sujin Chung, University of West London
  • Thomas Bell, University College Birmingham
  • Luca Castiglioni, Westminster Kingsway College


Monday 5th March 2018 saw Sujin, Thomas and Luca compete alongside 4 other catering students to battle it out in the live Grand Final Cook-Off at the UK’s most prestigious hospitality and foodservice show- ‘Hotelympia’. The competition, now in its second year, saw 7 catering students compete against one another for the chance to win the titles ‘Best Street Food Sharing Platter’, ‘Best Healthy Street Food Lunch’, ‘Best Street Food Dessert’ and a special award for ‘Best Overall Menu’.


Competing in the Show’s prestigious Salon Culinaire Live Theatre in front of their peers, industry professionals and some of the highest regarded chefs in hospitality, the students had just one hour to demonstrate their culinary skills and expertise in the kitchen, by preparing two dishes suitable for a Street Food menu.


Sujin Chung took home a fantastic two titles for ‘Best Street Food Sharing Platter’ and the special award for ‘Best Overall Menu’, as well as a most coveted Silver Salon Culinare Award.  Thomas Bell won the ‘Best Healthy Street Food Lunch’ Award and took home a Bronze Salon Culinaire Award, with Luca Castiglioni taking home the ‘Best Street Food Dessert’ as well as a Bronze Salon Culinaire Award too. in just 60 minutes, Sujin, Thomas and Luca demonstrated exceptional talent within the kitchen, marked by the judges not only on the quality of their final dishes, but also cleanliness of their workspace, preparation and cooking techniques. All three competitors took competing in the prestigious Salon Culinaire Live Cooking Theatre in their stride and delivered some innovative and distinct dishes – which certainly impressed the judges!


Sujin Chung inspired and wowed the judges with her traditional Korean sharing platter consisting of a ‘Chogye salad, Bulgogi wrap, Sweet chestnut jelly with sweet chili glaze’ using the UNCLE BEN’S® Korma, Sweet and Sour and Sweet  and Hickory Smoked Barbecue Sauces  which gained high levels on praise and as well as winning her the ‘Best Street Food Sharing Platter’ award, also earned her a Silver Salon Culinaire Award. She then went on to impress the judges further leading to her win of ‘Best Overall Menu’ with her stunning ‘Spicy Szechuan sauce chicken soboro don’ Healthy Street Food Lunch.


Thomas Bell, just pipped Sujin to the post in an intense final cook off to win the ‘Healthy Street Food Lunch’ award, with his ‘Braised Shin of Devonshire Beef Bolognaise, Roast Cauliflower Super Seed Orzo & Fresh Horseradish’.  The dish, which was praised for its innovative use of the use of the DOLMIO® Bolognese Sauce, was served in a creative and imaginative standing out to the judges.

Luca Castiglioni’s delicious twist on a classic favourite certainly didn’t go unnoticed by judges, with his ‘Coconut rice pudding with mango and caramel macadamia nuts’ made with UNCLE BEN’S®  Long Grain Rice winning him ‘Best Street Food Dessert’.

The standard across the board in the competition was extremely high with 5 of the students all achieving Bronze standard, and Sujin gaining a Silver.

Alison Smith, Culinary Product Design Scientist in the Mars Global Product Development team spoke of her delight at the achievements of not just the winners, but all who took part in the Live Cook-Off Final:

“Our young chefs are very talented and to see what these students have achieved during this competition has made both Mars Foodservice and myself very proud. Each of the students created two unique and delicious dishes using our DOLMIO® & UNCLE BEN’S® products, creating Sharing platters, Lunches and even Desserts.  To see the quality of what they are cooking is inspiring and extremely encouraging for the future.


It’s hugely important to Mars Foodservice to connect with students and work with them throughout their journey into the industry. They are the new generation and there is a huge amount of new upcoming talent that we can to learn from as these students bring new trends, dishes and fresh ideas into the industry.  Mars Foodservice will certainly be looking to work with catering colleges again in 2019”


Mars Foodservice also offers congratulations to the other 6 finalists who all received Bronze and Merit Salon Culinaire awards:

  • Joshua Singer, Westminster Kingsway College
  • Jordan Pomerance, North Hertfordshire College
  • Luke Watkins, North Hertfordshire College
  • Remy Sharman, North Hertfordshire College