29 Nov 2021

Laois student gives Saudi Arabian flavour to national baking competition

Laois student gives Saudi Arabian flavour to national baking competition

Asma Zulfiqar with her Home Economics teacher Aine Mackey at the Ceist All Ireland Bake-off final.

A Laois student showed off her talented baking skills and her pride in her ethnic roots, in a national baking competition final.

Portlaoise student Asma Zulqifar from Scoil Chriost Rí Transition Year, competed recently in the final of the fifth annual Ceist All Ireland Bake-Off which is sponsored by Odlums.

Asma was a Senior finalist and baked a spicy ginger madeira cake which was inspired by memories of her childhood in Saudi Arabia. It was decorated with 'sand', spices and stars, with a sugar crafted car and book, all made within the three hour competition time.

The talented Asma was awarded a Runner-up position for her cake. 

Her Home Economics teacher is Ms Thornton.

“Asma is very creative and made a very different cake than others, the ginger was unique. She put in a lot of work and did her best but the standard was very high. Well done to her we are all proud of her,” she said.

It has been a busy year for the talented and bright TY student, a daughter of Tasleem and Zulfiqar Ashraf.

Last October Asma won Silver at the Irish Junior Science Olympiad 2018 and flew to Africa in December to compete in the International final. This spring she was on a team that designed an entry for the Junk Kouture fashion design competition.

The final was in Ardscoil na Trinoide in Athy. The judges included Odlums baker Catherine Leyden from Ireland AM (pictured below with Asma and Ms Mackey) and Great British Bake-Off contestant Imelda McCarron. There were seven Junior finalists and seven Senior finalists. Students from Clare and Cork won the 2019 titles.

A Scoil Chríost Rí student won the Junior section of the competition last year. Tara Maher from Portlaoise, then a 2nd year student, won with her Spongebob Squarepants cake.

Originally established in Portlaoise by the Odlum family in 1845, Odlums has been an integral part of Irish baking and cooking for generations. To this day, Odlums are dedicated to developing the finest quality ingredients and products at their Mill in Portarlington in Laois.

CEIST, the ‘Catholic Education, An Irish Schools' Trust’ is the Trustee body for 110 Voluntary Catholic Secondary Schools in Ireland. CEIST is a joint trusteeship comprising congregations of the Sisters of Mercy, Presentation Sisters, Daughters of Charity, Missionaries of the Sacred Heart and Sisters of the Christian Retreat and has been in existence since 2007.

The 2019 Junior finalists were:

Ardscoil na Trionoide, Athy, Co. Kildare – Amy Larn
Ardscoil Mhuire, Co. Limerick  - Sadhbh Ryan
Colaiste Muire Ennis, Co. Clare - Ciara Mulligan
St Joseph’s College Lucan, Co. Dublin – Heather Burke & Ella Byrne

Presentation Secondary School Thurles, Co. Tipperary – Aoibh Carroll
St Marys Mallow, Co. Cork – Sarah Clifford

The 2019 Senior finalists were:

Presentation College Tuam, Co. Galway - Lora Dimihrova
Scoil Chriost Ri Portlaoise, Co. Laois - Asma Zulfiqar
Mean Scoil Muire Gan Smol, Co. Roscommon - Eleanor Walsh
St Anne’s Secondary School, Co. Tipperary - Aine Looby
St Vincent’s Dundalk, Co. Louth - Sophie O'Hagan
Mount Mercy College, Model Farm Road, Co. Cork - Eimear O'Sullivan
St Joseph’s Secondary, Tulla, Co. Clare - Aoife Kelly

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