A host of chefs, baristas and waiting staff from the University of Edinburgh are celebrating sweet success at the 23rd annual The University Caterers Organisation (TUCO) Awards.

Scooping five of the prizes, the University of Edinburgh’s Accommodation, Catering and Events team battled it out against other UK universities at the national event hosted at Warwick University.

For the second year running, the University of Edinburgh received the top accolade in the Barista Skills challenge. Emelise Vassallo, John McIntyre conference centre supervisor, won ‘Best signature drink’ by creating an espresso fused with star anise syrup, accompanied by homemade honey-infused ice cream, straight from the University’s own beehive, served on a Scottish shortbread base.

Winning best table layup was Emma Cullen, conference and banqueting supervisor, in the Service Skills challenge, the second year the University of Edinburgh has achieved this.

Securing two awards was Chef de Partie, Stuart Mitchell, who was awarded the Best Newcomer in this hotly-contested category and placed third overall for the Street Food Chef of the Year category.  Mr Mitchell got taste buds tingling with one of his signatures dishes of roast spring vegetables, quinoa salad, goat’s cheese bon-bons and candied lemon.

New to 2016 was the vegetarian version of the Speed Cook Challenge in which Karol Zelek, commis chef, came second overall for her mouth-watering beetroot pancake with mushroom and goat’s cheese salad.

Ian Macaulay, assistant director of catering at The University of Edinburgh Accommodation, Catering and Events, said: “Events as prestigious as TUCO are really important for the university catering industry to help shine a light on the vast talent that these young chefs, baristas and food servers hold.

“At the University of Edinburgh, we have been holding internal competitions, such as or recent Chef’s Challenge, in which we provide an opportunity for our staff to compete against one another, promoting healthy competition and building confidence ahead of these larger events.

“In our 15th year entering these awards, it is a fantastic to have achieved in five different catering areas. The TUCO awards have helped showcase the intensive training and creative freedom that our staff have within our university under the leadership of the kitchens manager, Gordon Dockhard.”

TUCO is the leading professional membership body for ‘in house’ caterers operating in the higher and further education sector. It is committed to advancing the learning and developing of catering and hospitality teams, and works to provide quality standards, advice and information to those working in the sector.