Nestlé Professional has announced the finalists of this year’s Toque d’Or® competition, following action-packed Heats which included several days of intense challenges and expert mentoring.
The 48 students who competed at the Heats had to replicate a plant-based starter created by guest judge Louisa Ellis, which featured Garden Gourmet Sensational Pulled Fillet. The competitors were also tasked with creating a nutritious and sustainable plant-based main course, following a masterclass from Whitbread’s Senior Quality & Innovation Chef, Paul Fletcher. The eventual winner of the Back of House (BOH) competition will be offered the opportunity to develop their plant-based dish, before being featured across Whitbread’s menus.
Well-respected sommelier and guest judge, Raul Diaz, delivered a wine and customer service masterclass to Front Of House (FOH) students before they were tasked with serving both red and white wine to guests during a lunch service.
Commenting after the national Heats round, Raul Diaz said: “It was a pleasure to see the passion of our students come through in this stage of the competition. They were able to learn about the art of hospitality and put everything into practice through an intense lunch service, from delivering excellent customer service to confidently explaining food and wine pairings to guests. Well done to everyone who took part!”
To see the list of 12 BOH and FOH students advancing into the Grand Finals, go to the Nestlé Professional website.
Katya Simmons, Managing Director Nestlé Professional UK & Ireland said: “The Heats have been both challenging and rewarding for everyone. It was an intense, action-packed round and the standard was incredibly high, so everyone who has taken part should be very proud. As we look ahead to an exciting Final’s week, I want to wish the very best of luck to our 12 finalists who will be put to the test one last time.”
The Grand Finals will take place from 4th-8th June 2023 in York, with the winners announced during the Awards lunch on Friday 30th June 2023. The Finals will be judged by award-winning chef and restaurateur, Tommy Banks; MasterChef: The Professionals, The Festive Knockout winner Louisa Ellis; educator and well-respected sommelier and wine expert, Raul Diaz; and 2021 FOH Toque d’Or winner, Sophie Taylor.
This year’s winners will enjoy a once in a lifetime culinary trip to Brazil, sampling high-end gastronomy through to street food, and learning about sustainability on a bean to cup journey with the world’s biggest coffee producer. The winners will also visit a flavour development lab and coffee farm, which is part of the Nescafé Plan, to learn more about regenerative agriculture and coffee.
About Nestlé Professional
At Nestlé Professional®, Hospitality is more than just a business. It is our business.
For the Hospitality Industry, this means inspiring the next generation of culinary talent through Nestlé Professional® Toque d’Or®; striving in the field in Nutrition, Health and Wellness; and collaborating with the industry for a more sustainable future. From coffee to cocoa, and from food waste to water, we work with farmers, chefs and operators continually to help make strides towards sustainability.
After all, for our partners and for the Industry, Hospitality is our business...