For 32 years, the Nestlé Professional Toque d’Or competition has been helping to bridge the gap between the theories of the classroom, work-based learning and the exciting reality of the industry. Those who take part in the competition are following in the footsteps of some of the finest talent in the profession, including past participants Jamie Oliver, James Martin and Anton Mosimann.
Back in March, contestants and crew had just come off the high of the National Heats, where 72 apprentices and college students had gone head to head for a place in the Grand Finals, by competing in a series of challenges and masterclasses focused around the holistic relationship between food, sustainability and nutrition.
For the 2020 edition of the competition, Nestlé Professional developed a series of digital challenges initially to keep up momentum with contestants, but since the arrival of COVID-19 this has proved invaluable as a platform to keep the Toque d’Or community connected. Since then, the 24 finalists have been taking part in digital challenges designed to showcase their outstanding skills, keep their creative juices flowing and spread a bit of joy in these difficult times.
The challenges have provided a way for the Nestlé Professional team to keep connected with the #toquetribe in a time where unprecedented circumstances isolate us all more than ever. At the heart of the Toque d’Or competition are the hospitality stars of tomorrow, so providing ongoing support for competitors and crew alike is incredibly important.
Every fortnight, the BOH and FOH finalists are set a different challenge. One week, Judge Adam Bateman, challenged chefs to put their own unique spin on his favourite dish – lasagne. FOH judge, Alison Taffs, set FOH competitors a task to talk about the drinks they love serving to guests and why.
For a recent challenge, Toque d’Or partnered with Springboard FutureChef, an industry backed resource aimed at inspiring young people aged 11 – 16 to cook. The finalists were given the task of creating a short teaching video, with the winning entries being shared with 1000’s of people in schools across the UK, as part of Springboard’s new digital academy.
One of this year’s Toque d’Or BOH judges, Ruth Hansom, won Springboard’s FutureChef Competition in 2012 and, at just 24, is already a trailblazer within the industry. Hanson joined BOH judge, Alison Taffs in challenging the competitors to create a video showcasing their skills and enthusiasm to inspire the next generation of the hospitality industry.
Following a scrutinous judging process, the deserved winners of this task were revealed and are as follows:
- Ben Dullea, BoH Apprentice;
- Chelsie Robinson, FoH Apprentice;
- Eleanor Dee, FoH Student;
- Fergus Chalmers, BoH Apprentice;
- Joshua O’Reilly, BoH Student;
- Katherine Altham, BoH Student;
- Lily Stock, BoH Apprentice;
- Sophie Taylor, FoH Student;
- Tegan Taylor, FoH Apprentice;
- Vasilieos Xanthopoulus, BoH Student.
Watch the winning entry videos here
If you would like to keep updated on the competition, see some of the highlights from the recent heats and support the finalists through their digital channels, please do follow @nestletoquedor and #toquedor2020 on social media.
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