This blog is very special to me as I go down memory lane and talk about the most memorable moment I had while studying at UCB……
Since coming to the UK, many things have changed, and I have made many memories while studying here. However, the most special one happened a year ago when I got the chance to represent UCB and compete in a competition and fortunately enough emerge as one of the winners.
It happened on the 3rd March 2020; I participated in Uncle Bens and Dolimio student catering challenge held by Salon Culinaire in HRC, London. I competed against seven more finalists from various universities and won the title of ‘Best Main’, ‘Best Hygiene’ and a silver Salon Culinaire badge. It was a feeling that cannot be expressed in words as it was my first competition ever following my passion for cooking. Finally, getting the recognition after putting in months of practice and planning in place is always heartwarming to see your hard work. Most people get happy and excited when they hear their name winning the title, but I got numb and could not express my feelings as it took me a while to realise what was happening finally.
Our challenge was to make a free-form dish using the companies sauces or products. My winning dish was a vegan Khao Soi, inspired by a trendy Thai dish from the northern region, which is noodles served in a curry-based sauce and usually served with chicken or pork. To make it vegan, I substituted meat with tofu and used their chilli con Carne sauce for the base. The judging panel was made up of chefs working in the industry for many, many years with an eye for professionalism and good food. So, hearing positive comments from them and appreciating the food I cooked was a significant boost to my confidence and just the start to thrive and achieve more. Facing a competition is not an easy task, but the key is always staying focused and working hard for your goals. Also, as a finalist receiving a chef jacket with your name imprinted on it is always an extraordinary moment for any chef, so to have that as a memento gave me a sense of pride as a chef.
I have never been a confident person and am an introvert; therefore, I never in my life thought I would have the courage to enter the competition and cook in front of hundreds of people. However, coming to university has been a turning point in my life where it has taught me many things. I have learnt that by stepping out of my comfort zone, that big things can be waiting for you, all you have got to do is believe in yourself and trust people who believe in you too, as I would never have been able to do this without the support of my lecturer. Plus, once you are into that moment competing and the clock ticking, you forget everything and everyone around you, and all you have in your mind is to put your best foot forward and cook the best dish you have ever cooked.
At first, if you are in any way like me, it might sound overwhelming and challenging, but one piece of advice I give to any student is ‘If I can do it, so can you.’ I have made many memories while studying here, but this forever will remain my most memorable one. I have just got a few months before my course is over, but one thing I can say when I leave UCB, I would be walking out as a more independent and confident person.
If you wanna hear more about my experience in UCB, watch this video