University of Edinburgh caterers goes for gold at national ceremony

An Edinburgh university catering team has fought off tough competition to scoop a gold, and a clutch of other awards, at a UK-wide catering competition.

TUCO awards university of edinburgh winners

The University of Edinburgh’s catering team won gold in the ‘cook and serve’ category, silver in the new ‘grab and go’ challenge, and was recognised with bronze medals in the ‘tray bake’ and ‘decorative exhibit’ awards at The University Caterers Organisation (TUCO) Competitions 2019.


The gold-winning team were also given the ‘best food’ award at the annual ceremony, held at the University of Warwick to highlight the best university caterers across the UK.


Ian Macaulay, director (catering), University of Edinburgh’s Accommodation, Catering and Events team, said: “Our catering team always go the extra mile so it’s no surprise to me that they’ve won yet again at the TUCO awards. Even so, the gold award had always eluded us in the past, so this win is especially important to us and shows the continued strides we make to be the very best.”


Chef de partie, Karol Zelek, commis chef Pauline Hamma, and conference and banqueting supervisor Liga Boyd, fought off competition from teams at the University of Manchester and University of Cambridge to pick up gold in the ‘cook and serve’ category, where they had to work together to cook and serve a three course meal for judges in under 90 minutes. The meal consisted of:


Heritage Beetroot, Hibiscus, Pickled Shallot, Sour Cream, Horseradish, Crisp Artichokes


Medallion of Hake, Chorizo & Sweet Potato Bisque, Charred Courgettes,

Saffron Potatoes, Corn Puree, Kalamata Olives


Cheese from the Isle of Arran


Compressed Rhubarb, Orange, Edinburgh Rhubarb & Ginger Gin,

Coconut Shortbread, Clotted Cream

 chef finishing touches TUCO awards university of edinburgh


Craig English, commis chef, won silver in the ‘grab and go’, where he had to create two savoury and two dessert dishes that would be suitable for a university’s grab and go outlet.

Meanwhile, commis chef, Pauline Hamma and chef de partie, Rachel Meikel, also won bronze awards in the ‘salon culinaire’ category, which involves designing visually-appealing decorative exhibits with food.


Mr Macaulay added: “I can’t praise all of our winners enough. Many of them have attended TUCO for a number of years and continue to impress me with the high quality and innovative creations they submit.


“Through the ongoing efforts of our talented catering staff, we are able to provide students at the University of Edinburgh with high-quality food and drink, sourced locally – ensuring student living is anything but ‘basic’.”


For further information about the University of Edinburgh’s, Accommodation, Catering and Events department, go to