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12th March 2020

Finalists revealed for Toque d’Or 2020

Written by: Edward Waddell
Nestlé Professional® has revealed the 12 college students and 12 apprentices who have advanced to the Toque d’Or Grand Final.

There were 78 aspiring hospitality students or apprentices competing at the National Heats, which took place in Glasgow, Birmingham, Westminster and Gatwick. 

The theme of Torque d’Or 2020 is the holistic relationship between food, sustainability and nutrition.  

The Regional Heats took place in front of a live audience and judging panel, which included Adam Bateman, Alison Taffs and Ruth Hansom. The judges were looking for technical skills, nutritional menus, minimal food waste, sustainable ingredients and a passion from each of the competitors. 

Hansom said: “As my first year judging the competition it was inspiring to see just how passionate and hungry to succeed the competitors are – there was some serious talent taking part. It’s going to be an exciting ride for those that have made it through to the Grand Finals. 

“It’s amazing to see the competitors so engaged with the Sustainable Futures theme, it’s really apparent just how connected the future faces of hospitality are to this topic and competitions like Nestle Professional®’s Toque d’Or provide the perfect platform for this interest to grow.”

The back of house students and apprentices watched a ‘masterclass’ in preparing a two-course menu of beetroot risotto and a rhubarb, ginger and clementine posset accompanied by shortbread biscuits. They had to replicate the two-course meal in front of a live audience and the judges. 

New for the Toque d’Or 2020 is the ‘front of house award’, which asked baristas, service champions and aspiring managers to showcase a ‘five-star service’, sommelier skills and cocktail crafting for the guests. 

Katya Simmons, managing director at Nestlé Professional® UK & Ireland, added: “We saw some of the most challenging heats yet, but the talent shone through. We’re looking forward to giving the finalists the journey of a lifetime as we progress to the next stage of the competition.

“Through this year’s competition and workshops the contestants are exploring the holistic relationship between health, sustainability and nutrition and will shine a spotlight on how the hospitality industry can empower consumers in making better choices for themselves and the planet.

“It has been fantastic to see the contestants really getting to grips with this challenge during the National Heats and I’m excited to see what creations the finalists come up with during the Grand Finals – it’s one not to be missed!” 

 Student Back of House 

  • Ben Smith, Tameside College
  • Erica Agyei, University of Derby
  • Joshua O'Reilly, The Sheffield College
  • Katherine Altham, Kendal College
  • Kian Marshall, Newcastle College
  • Vasileios Xanthopoulus, City of Glasgow College

Student Front of House 

  • Alex Dick, City of Glasgow College
  • Eleanor Dee, Ayrshire College
  • Josh Tellwright, University of Derby
  • Patrick Murray, Vision West Notts
  • Sophie Taylor, Edinburgh College
  • Taylor Corkery, Farnborough College of Technology

Apprentice Back of House 

  • Andrej Zak, Eccles Hotel & Spa
  • Ben Dullea, Pomona's
  • Fergus Chalmers, The Polecat Inn
  • Jack Clarke, East India Club
  • Lily Stock Boodle's, St James's
  • Mohit Kaku, Eccles Hotel & Spa

Apprentice Front of House 

  • Ciro Pizzi, Nirvana Spa
  • Chelsie Robinson, The Cross Keys Stow
  • Emad Shehata, Prima Pizza and Pasta
  • Rosie Burvill, The Westleton Crown
  • Tegan Taylor, Mallory Court Country House Hotel & Spa
  • Ziggy Ward, The Orchard Café