The Nestlé Professional Toque d’Or competition heats up



Premium Supplier 27th March 2018

The Nestlé Professional Toque d’Or competition heats up

The prestigious Nestlé Professional Toque d’Or Competition heated up this month with 45 apprentices from 40 businesses in the industry, as well as 24 student teams, taking part in the highly anticipated National Heats.

With the majority of apprentice and student heats taking place during the first week of March (and some last week due to the severe snow), the competitors showcased their creative flair and culinary prowess to impress the judges and secure a space in the Finals.

Those taking part in the apprentice Heats had one hour to cook and serve four covers of their vegetarian signature dish. Each contestant had to work from the same ingredients list and deliver against the theme of ‘Good Food, Good Life’.

Of the 45 apprentices who took part, the six highest scoring secured their spot in the Finals. The talented line up is: Aaron Wessely, The Hand and Flowers; Hollie Parry-Carter, The Kentish Hare; John Howarth, CH&Co; Katarzyna Domienik, Levy UK; Mateusz Hnatowski, Restaurant Associates; and Theodore Lloyd-Jones, Bread Street Kitchen.

Those participating in the student Heats witnessed a masterclass, hosted by Nestlé Professional’s Chef, Darren Chapman, and supported by Adam Bateman (Principal Hotels), Jonathan Belford (Compass UK&I) and Robert Reid (Balthazar). The foursome demonstrated three courses, as well as Alison Taffs (People Development) who gave a front of house and wine session. The teams then had to recreate the dishes for 10 covers each during a lunch service to guests of Nestlé Professional.

Those who go through to the finals will spend five days in London, where they will compete in a series of challenges that will provide them with new experiences and skills, enhancing their learning and career. Finalists from both the apprentices and college teams will take part in the same challenges, encouraging all to interact with and learn from their peers, as well as the chefs they will be acquiring knowledge from.

The judging team will be led by award-winning Chef Simon Hulstone, The Elephant Restaurant and Brasserie in Torquay, and TV Chef and Restauranteur James Tanner, The Kentish Hare and Barbican Kitchen, who will be joined by industry specialists joining the team at different challenges.

In its 30th anniversary year, Nestlé Professional Toque d’Or is one of the longest standing competitions in the sector. More than simply a competition, it motivates and inspires the next generation of hospitality professionals; a generation the sector needs to attract. With an estimated skills shortage of 1.3 million hospitality workers by 2024*, showcasing a career in the industry as rewarding, fulfilling and more than a ‘stop gap job’ is key to the future of the industry.

As part of Nestlé Professional, CHEF is involved with the Toque d’Or competition and passionate about supporting apprentices and students to progress up the ladder. And with a skills shortage on the horizon, nurturing up-and-coming talent and helping the next generation realise how viable a career path in the hospitality industry can be is arguably more important than ever.

The competition will continue to progress over the coming weeks, with further news to be announced on the Grand Final and winners.

If you’re interested in entering next year’s competition, please visit for more information on the entry process and the Toque d’Or journey.

* People 1st, Migrant Workers in the Hospitality and Tourism Sector and the Potential Impact of Labour Restrictions, April 2017

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