Sort by
Sort by

Tommy Banks joins judging panel for 35th Toque d’Or competition

Tommy Banks award-winning chef is to join the judging panel for the 35th Toque d'Or
Back to Press releases

Nestlé Professional has announced that award-winning chef and restaurateur, Tommy Banks, is to join the judging panel for the 35th edition of Toque d’Or. 

With experience in sustainability and farm to fork dining, Banks brings a unique perspective and skills to the panel of industry experts. Back and Front of house students on Level 2, 3 and 4 are being urged to complete their entries, so they don’t miss the deadline to enter the competition on 31st March.

The Great British Menu judge has two Michelin-starred restaurants in North Yorkshire and a premium food box business and canned wine brand. Raised in the rural village of Oldstead, Banks has been involved in his family farm since his childhood. And as a committed advocate of farm to fork dining, he has earned a prestigious Michelin green star for his continued pursuit of sustainability. This year's finalists will get to visit Banks’ sustainable farm, where they’ll learn about farming techniques, and get the chance to forage, harvest fruits and vegetables, and see the livestock.

Banks joins long-term Toque d’Or collaborator, Louisa Ellis who won Masterchef: The Professionals title in its 2020 Festive Knockout. Educator and well-respected sommelier and wine expert, Raul Diaz, returns for another year on the judging panel, along with 2021 FOH Toque d’Or winner, Sophie Taylor who has been taken on as chef de partie at the Gleneagles Townhouse since her win. Nestlé Professional head of training for hot beverages, Ryan Burke, and Nestlé Professional development chef, Justin Clarke, are also on the panel, offering competitors a broad array of skills and experience, representing the key areas and disciplines covered in the competition.  

Launched in 1989, Nestlé Professional Toque d’Or exists to inspire the next generation of food service professionals and provide up-to-the-minute knowledge on industry trends. Over the years, it has attracted judges, including Anton Mosimann OBE and food writer and influencer, Julie Jones and has developed a strong network of supporters, judges and competitor-alumni, ranging from James Martin and Jamie Oliver, to Brian Turner, Paul Gayler, James Tanner and Simon Hulstone.

Tommy Banks said: “Toque d’Or is a unique opportunity for college students to explore different careers and to learn about the latest industry trends. I’m delighted to be involved in this year’s competition, and I'm looking forward to mentoring and meeting the industry’s finest young hospitality talent.”

Katya Simmons, managing director Nestlé Professional UK&I said: “We’re delighted to welcome Tommy to the Toque d’Or judging panel. He has outstanding experience and knowledge of foodservice and retail – sectors which are converging in many cases, showing the diverse opportunities available in hospitality careers. His farming background and Michelin green star underline Toque d’Or’s continued theme of sustainability, and we’re excited about bringing this knowledge and passion to the table.”

“With Tommy on the judging team alongside such a diverse range of highly talented industry experts, this year’s Toque d’Or is set to be one to remember. But with time running out, students need to be in it to win it, so we’re urging lecturers to extend this learning opportunity to their students, registering budding hospitality superstars before time runs out.”
To register and find out more about the competition training, format and timeline, visit