Building a Sustainable Future for the Next Generation

Monday, April 15, 2019

Katya Simmons Manager Director, Nestlé Professional UK&I

With research stating nearly half (44%) of consumers consider the sustainability of ingredients to be important when eating out1, sustainability has had a significant impact on the UK foodservice industry. Our Manager Director, Katya Simmons shares her thoughts. 

It’s not only important to deliver on sustainability when working in the foodservice industry itself, but also integral to the training of the next generation of talent.

It’s our vision to drive and inspire the next generation of young chefs. To develop their skills, knowledge and experience to help them become the best they can be. A part of this is educating them on important topics that affect the foodservice sector - such as sustainability - meaning they enter the industry well-armed with a sound understanding on how to cater for consumer demands.

One of the ways we support the next generation is through our Toque d’Or competition - one of the UK’s most influential training and development programmes. Now in its 31st year, the competition bridges the gap between the theories of the classroom, work-based learning and the exciting reality of the industry.


Student chef in a professional kitchen preparing dishes for Nestlé Professional's Toque d'Or competition  

The competition itself has evolved significantly since its inauguration in line with the changing needs of the UK foodservice industry and education. With a growing number of consumers (44%) either not eating meat or reducing the amount of meat they eat2 a key competition focus this year is on sustainability and vegetarianism, centring around menu items that have excellent sustainability credentials and link into health and wellbeing. By focusing on this, students not only learn how to cater for consumer’s changing dietary preferences but also help consumer’s lead healthier lifestyles.

With 63% of adults in England now overweight or obese3 and with around two in five adults consuming meals outside the home on at least a weekly basis4, we as an industry can make a difference.  

Many consumers’ attitudes are changing. Research shows over two-thirds (69%) of consumers would like to see ‘fresh’ dishes and ‘healthy’ offerings on menus5. This is why we are bringing this to the fore of our competition this year; to in still the importance of these burgeoning topics and equally ensure our competitors are faced with real life challenges. 


Student chef plating up dishes at the heats of Nestlé Professional's Toque d'Or competition


We see Toque d’Or as so much more than just a competition; it’s about motivating and inspiring potential talent to the opportunities within our industry. I’m proud to say our history is of 8,000 students taking part and paving the way for their careers including James Martin and Anton Mosimann; our future is giving thousands more a taste of what this industry can give them. 


Register your interest for 2020 today!

Follow us on Twitter: #toquedor2019, @NestleToquedor

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  1. UKHospitality & CGA Future Shock Report - Issue 4 2018 
  2. Eating Better Alliance 2017
  3. Health Survey for England, 2015  
  4. CGA Peach & Barclaycard, Looking for Tomorrow’s Growth, 2016 
  5. One Poll Consumer research in Collaboration with NESTLE PROFESSIONAL, February 2017

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