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3rd May 2022

Toque d’Or competition announces three winners

Written by: Edward Waddell
Nestlé Professional has announced the three winners of this year’s Toque d’Or competition after the grand finals.

The grand finals celebration, with the theme balanced diets and sustainable futures, consisted of a week of challenges where the nine finalists of this years’ competition had to demonstrate their talent.

The winners include:

  • Back of House Student Winner – Samantha Watkins, Loughborough College
  • Back of House Apprentice Winner – James Shuttleworth, The Tower Hotel
  • Front of House Student Winner – Tara Humphrey, City of Glasgow College

Each day offered a new challenge, including a visit to Loddington Farm where finalists learned about regenerative agriculture including activities like, asparagus cutting, tasting and selecting the farm’s “Owlet” fruit juices that were showcased in the Fine Dining Challenge. 

Finalists also tasted and selected edible flowers from Loddington’s partners, Blooming Green that were used in the menu and on tables at the Fine Dining Challenge. This was followed by a visit to Bolney Vineyard for a tour of the winery and tasting of wines led by Judge Raul Diaz. A day at Dingley Dell Pork Farm was also a highlight that included a session on the importance of animal welfare, conservation of wildlife and bee pollination.

The finalists then had to deliver a three-course fine dining menu to 50 VIP guests including the Toque d’Or judges. The final challenge gave competitors the opportunity to put into practice the knowledge and skills they learnt during the week.

Tara, James and Sam will be taken to attend the Worldchefs Congress & Expo 2022 in Abu Dhabi as well as a gastronomic weekend in Dubai. The Savoy Education Trust will also be providing £1,000 for each of the colleges taking part in the grand finals and extra £2,500 for the winning colleges to be used to purchase equipment from Russums.

Katya Simmons, managing director of Nestlé Professional UK&I, said: “What a brilliant competition and congratulations to all the finalists that took part.  The standard was incredibly high, and we are so proud to support the young talent within the hospitality industry, equipping them with the experience and skills to succeed in their careers.

“This year’s theme – balanced diets and sustainable futures – was important for finalists, giving them insights on new trends and increasing their knowledge on sustainability. We would also like to give a big thank you to our fantastic panel of judges. As well as giving our finalists solid skills based on real-world experience, they’ve served as an inspiration to competitors throughout.”

This year, the Toque d’Or competition saw over 400 Back Of House (BOH) and Front Of House (FOH) workers registered to compete, representing 50 colleges and businesses from across the UK.