Nestlé Professional has announced the shortlist of students who will get to compete in the 35th Toque d’Or Heats. Taking place at Nestlé headquarters from 15 May 2023, the Heats will host 48 front of house and back of house students. The four days will be packed with challenges and expert mentoring, making the Heats the learning experience of a lifetime.
This year, the competition received nearly 400 registrations from Back and Front of House students on Levels 2, 3, and 4. To qualify, students uploaded a 30-second video to YouTube, explaining their passion for hospitality and why they entered Toque d’Or. In addition, BOH entrants prepared and cooked a piece of sustainable fish, submitting a menu description and photos of the mise-en-place, fish knife skills, and final dish. FOH students laid up a table inspired by a theme of their choosing and came up with a coffee drink to fit the same theme. They then submitted a drink description and photos of the mise-en-place (with drink ingredients), final drink, and laid-up table.
Katya Simmons, Managing Director at Nestlé Professional UK&I said: “Each and every year of the competition, I’m taken aback by the level of passion, skill and commitment shown in people’s entries. It’s a real privilege to see and reaffirms how much future talent we have to look forward to as an industry.
“I’m delighted to welcome all the shortlisted candidates to the next stage of the competition, the heats. The bar has been set extremely high and exceeded our expectations, so we’re excited to see how the rest of the competition shapes up. We hope all the incredible action that unfolds over the coming weeks and months has a positive ripple effect, inspiring others to think differently about the wonderful world of hospitality and the career opportunities available. Good luck to all the 2023 competitors!”
Those competing in BOH at the National Heats will learn how to create sustainable plant-based dishes through masterclasses delivered by judges Louisa Ellis, MasterChef: The Professionals, The Festive Knockout winner; Justin Clarke, Development Chef at Nestlé Professional; and Paul Fletcher, Senior Quality & Innovation Chef at Whitbread.
As the competition gets ready to heat up, Paul Fletcher said: “Plant-based food has become a crucial part of people’s diets as consumers seek more sustainable and healthier lifestyles. It’s our responsibility as chefs to continue to innovate in this space and we look forward to seeing how the students rise to the challenge.”
Front of House competitors will learn barista and wine skills from judges Raul Diaz, wine expert and Founder of Wine Training School; Ryan Burke, Head of Training for Hot Beverages at Nestlé Professional; and Sophie Taylor, 2021 FOH Toque d’Or winner now Chef de Partie at the Gleneagles Townhouse. Students will then work together to serve lunch to guests before receiving feedback on the food, drinks and overall service.
Commenting ahead of the Nationals Heats, Raul Diaz said: “We’re looking for people who demonstrate real passion about the art of hospitality, from delivering great customer service to understanding and confidently explaining food and wine pairings to guests. The Heats are going to be both challenging and rewarding for the students and I’m excited to see the action unfold!”
To see the full list of shortlisted entrants for the Heats, go to the Nestlé Professional website.