Nestlé Professional reveals Toque d’Or finalists

After a thrilling programme of National Heats, Nestlé Professional has revealed the six college teams and six apprentices that will compete in the Grand Finals of Toque d’Or 2019 on 30 April-4 May.

The results were announced as new research from Nestlé Professional® revealed that over half (56%) of those working in foodservice believe more interesting training and development opportunities such as study tours, competitions and secondments are key to making a career in the industry more attractive.

During the National Heats, which took place in Glasgow, Birmingham, Westminster and Gatwick, 24 college teams and 48 apprentices took part in a series of challenges centred around this year’s competition focus: Sustainable Futures.

For the college teams, this meant a three-course vegetarian meal masterclass with wine pairing. They then had to recreate the meal with full service to a table of eight guest diners plus the competition judges.

The apprentices were tasked with producing four covers of their original vegetarian dish in just 1.5 hours to serve to the judges, which for the heats included Paul Mannering, Chef Academy Principal at HIT Training and Adam Bateman, Group Operations and Development Chef at InterContinental Hotels.

After a rigorous judging process, the grand finalists have been selected:
City of Glasgow College
Southern Regional College
University College Birmingham
University of Derby
Westminster Kingsway

Dmitri Zihharko, Connect Catering
Megan Baldock, Goldman Sachs
Kathleen Davie, Upper Shirley High
Jack Baldwin, The Bruce Arms
Lily Stock, Boodles
Drew Dawson, The Ned

Commenting on this year’s heats, Mick Burke, Chair of Judges at Toque d’Or 2019 and Fellow of the Master Chefs of Great Britain, said, “Myself and my fellow judges were astounded at the standard of food service during the National Heats, selecting just 12 Grand Finalists certainly wasn’t an easy task.

'I’m very much looking forward to seeing how they cope with our toughest trials yet and can’t wait to see what they produce. If the standard so far is anything to go by, it’ll be worth the wait.”

Discussing the focus on Sustainable Futures, Katya Simmons, Managing Director at Nestlé Professional UK&I, added, “It’s clear that sustainability will become even more of a key factor in the foodservice industry in coming years and lead to exciting new trends. In fact, our latest research shows that the industry considers sustainable eating to be one of the most exciting opportunities for foodservice in the future.

'I have been particularly pleased to see the level of enthusiasm that all competitors have demonstrated towards this year’s theme. The results have been impressive, and it goes to show what can be achieved when embracing a sustainable future.”