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Dining competition winners announced

Posted 21 May 2014

First prize winner, Davide Tortora (more photographs in below slideshow)

Students from across the globe united by their love of good food came together to take part in the Harper Adams University version of popular cookery programme, Come Dine With Me. 

12 pairs of students took part in the competition, with each UK team competing against an international team. Collectively the participants prepared 12 evenings and 36 dishes. 

Due to its popularity, the competition is now an annual event at the university in Shropshire, concluding with a special prize-giving ceremony which took place earlier this week.

This year’s winners were announced as 20-year-old off road vehicle design student Alexander Kay from the Isle of Man, and Davide Tortora, 22, who studies Agri-food Marketing with Business Studies. 

Their menu, entitled ‘Welcome to Mario and Luigi’s place’, was a fusion of British and Italian favourites – a starter of smoked salmon and salad followed by Spaghetti alla Bolognese, concluding with Eton Mess.

Davide, who originates from Italy, said: “Both myself and Alex visited Beijing University of Agriculture on a cultural exchange through the university, so thought it would be a great idea to reciprocate our cuisine with the Chinese students at Harper Adams.

“We are really surprised to have won! I really enjoyed the experience and it is great to have our efforts recognised. 

“In terms of the menu, we wanted to keep it simple yet tasty, combining Italian and English influences to produce something new for the Chinese students.  It was also important that we chose to cook something that we were familiar with, as after all it is a competition and we wanted to win!”

The teams were judged on their menu design, welcome/ambience, presentation, taste and compatibility of dishes.

Second place was awarded to Yikun Li and Jiali Yu and coming in third place was Beth Hanson and George Goring. Runners up were Yiran Li and Weida Song. The students were able to choose from a selection of prizes, generously donated from the Zhejiang Hengyi Group fund, including a cookery experience at the Brompton Cookery School, local food hampers and supermarket vouchers.

Pam Thompson, from the International Student Support Office at Harper Adams, said: “The competition is one of a variety of activities offered at Harper Adams, with the aim of encouraging students to mix outside of their regular friendship groups.  

“By choosing a cooking competition, students are able to share the cuisine of their home countries with those who have often never tasted such dishes before.  This is a great starting point for conversation.”

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