Nestlé Professional Toque d'Or Grand Final: day 4

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 22nd March 2015
The Nestlé Professional Toque d'Or finalists have been put through their paces over the past four days. From butchery classes to mixology, fine dining to street food - the 18 students have all experienced a number of different sides of the hospitality industry. Today their final challenge was a brunch at Hospitality House in East Finchley, where they were tasked with recreating some of the classics from The Wolseley breakfast menu for guests. CAsj2rtWwAEAbt7I arrived at 10.30am to find the front of house students in full swing and adding the finishing touches ready for their guests. The finalists had been at Hospitality House prepping for the brunch since 7am and in the kitchen the students were good to go. On the menu was eggs Benedict, omelette Arnold Bennett , kedgeree, potato rosti with avocado, tomato and a poached egg plus a full english. Jessica Martin, 18, from Doncaster College explained she hadn't even heard of some of the dishes they were tasked with making. She said: "It's great to learn new skills and dishes which you can take back to college with you." With everything under control in the kitchen I grabbed a quick chat with head judge and Toque d'Or veteran, James Tanner. He's been judging the competition for ten years and when I asked him what appeals to him about it he explained: "It's really important to find and nurture young talent to keep our industry progressing at the highest level. There are staff shortages in this industry and it's important to do everything we can to encourage those who choose to work in it and offer them the best opportunities. I find all the finalists really inspirational."CAszdYlWYAEx2QL It was time to take a seat and experience the students hospitality as well as their cooking first hand. Although there were a few dishes I wanted to try I went for my old favourite - eggs Benedict. I wanted to be impressed and I most definitley was. Perfectly poached egg, with just the right amount of hollandaise sauce and a good helping of ham tucked underneath it all. And lets not forget the service - our lovely waitress was Megan Lyke from UCB and she kept us well topped up with brunch essentials. From a front of house perspective the competition has been quite different to that of the chefs in the kitchen. HR Director for CH&Co Catering, Alison Gilbert, has been impressed by how much they have progressed. It's the fourth year she has been involved and she said: "The students have been amazing. Breakfast is a difficult service and there is a lot to think about for front of house. They've all worked well together, collaborated and over come a few minor situations." She added: "Being a judge is tough - they have a mentor so we can't give them advice we just have to ask pertinent questions. Most of the time they know what they need to do it's just a case of encouraging them to retrieve that information." CAsvKQeW8AA8ivqAlison is also keen to be part of the Toque d'Or as she wants to represent contract catering a s a sector and offer students an insight into this area. "Students have the wrong impression of contract catering," she explained. "They think it's all pie and chips but it's a really sexy sector to work in and it's important for us as a company to educate young people on our sector and the opportunities it presents." So it was all over for another year - although the kitchen still needed breaking down and the restaurant reset! But in terms of the competition the final six teams will now have wait it out. The judges will be discussing how the students have done throughout the four day final and the winning team will be announced at an awards dinner at The Dorchester on April 21 - and then the planning for 2016 will begin. By Cara Pilkington The Nestlé Professional Toque d'Or competition is a UK wide search for the best student brigades of both chefs and front-of-house. The winning college will receive £2,500 worth of catering equipment and the students win £430 and a place on the annual Toque d’Or study trip.

In these challenging times…

…the hospitality landscape has dramatically changed in the last two months, and with that our advertising revenues have all but expired, significantly impacting our business. Despite having to furlough a large portion of our staff, we are still delivering the valuable content and honest information, which hundreds of thousands of you come to The Staff Canteen for. We believe we have a critical role to play in informing and supporting our audience. We need your support right now, more than ever, to keep The Staff Canteen active. Without your financial contributions this would not be possible.

Over the last 12 years, The Staff Canteen has built what has become the go-to platform for chefs and hospitality professionals. As members and visitors, your daily support has made The Staff Canteen what it is today. Our features and videos from the world’s biggest name chefs, are something we are proud of. We have over 500,000 followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other social channels, each connecting with chefs across the world. Our editorial and social media team are creating and delivering engaging content every day, to support you and the whole sector.

Your financial support means we remain independent and open to all. We were launched by a chef and remain the voice of chefs and other hospitality professionals.

We need your support to keep delivering the products and content that you love, giving you the platform to share opinions and inspiration. Every contribution whether big or small, means so much.
Support The Staff Canteen from as little as £1 today. Thank you

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 22nd March 2015

Nestlé Professional Toque d'Or Grand Final: day 4