Winners of the Nestlé Professional Toque D’Or 2018 announced

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 8th June 2018

The winners of the Nestlé Professional Toque D’Or 2018  were announced earlier today at a ceremony at The Dorchester, Park Lane, London.

Now celebrating its 30th year, the competition supports young talent with a particular focus on apprentices and students entering the hospitality industry. The awards were compered by television presenter Mark Durden-Smith and Celebrity MasterChef 2017 winner, Angellica Bell.

In the apprentice heats, 45 contestants from 40 businesses entered the Toque D’Or. To qualify, each chef had one hour to cook and serve four covers of a vegetarian signature dish, in fitting with the theme ‘Good Food, Good Life’. All of the contestants had to work from the same ingredients list for this challenge.

Mateusz Hnatowski, Nestle Professional Toque Dor
 Mateusz Hnatowski
Credit: Shuttersmith

It was Mateusz Hnatowski, chef de partie at Restaurant Associates who was awarded the title of Nestlé Professional Toque d’Or Apprentice 2018. He said: “The Toque D’Or was a really good opportunity to push my career forward. You’re spending five days cooking and learning lots of different stuff with great chefs.”

The other four finalists in the running were Aaron Wessely, The Hand and Flowers; Hollie Parry-Carter, The Kentish Hare; John Howarth, CH&Co; Katarzyna Domienik, Levy UK and Theodore Lloyd-Jones, Bread Street Kitchen.

In the college heats, the students took part in several days of masterclasses and practical challenges. This involved a day at Billingsgate and Smithfield Markets, butchery and filleting challenges at Le Cordon Bleu London and a day running their own Las Iguanas restaurant. Another challenge was a Level One award from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, which many of the students achieved with flying colours.

For the grand finals of the college heats, the teams of student chefs had a fine dining challenge of 120 covers for lunch at Searcys at The Gherkin. The award was presented to Antonia, Rebecca and Alan from the City of Glasgow College. Other schools that took part included: University College Birmingham, University of Derby, Southern Regional College and Llandrillo College.

The team of judges was led by award-winning chef, Simon Hulstone and TV chef and restaurateur Chris Tanner. Also among the judging panel was Adam Bateman, Group Operations and Development chef at Principal London.

City of Glasgow College, Nestle Professional Toque D'Or

City of Glasgow College

Credit: Shuttersmith

He said: “The standard – as usual – has been excellent. The cream always rises to the top and this competition really allows that to happen. You can’t fluke it. It’s such a thorough process – some competitions are over a day or a couple of days, whereas Toque D’Or is judged over a few weeks so if you have a bad day, there’s the opportunity to recover. There’s so many stages of cooking, management and development that the students have to go through so all their skills get tested. That’s why it’s such a great challenge.”

He added: “I think that it’s a good competition for students and apprentices, for them to understand what the industry is about. This isn’t an easy industry but it’s a fun one and this competition allows them to see a bit of that.”

Andrej Prokes, consultant chef for Nestlé CHEF said: “I think that every year, the standard of the competition improves more and more. The students are pushed to increase their knowledge. Once they’ve finished their journey as an apprentice or in college, this is what will open doors for them. It gives them skills for the future.”

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 8th June 2018

Winners of the Nestlé Professional Toque D’Or 2018 announced