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11th June 2024

Nestlé Professional crowns 2024 Toque d'Or champions

Written by: Edward Waddell
Nestlé Professional has announced that Geraldine Sierra Torres from Westminster Kingsway College and Jasmine Ferdinando from York College have been crowned as the champions of this year’s Toque d'Or competition.

Two Michelin-star chef Tommy Banks spearheaded the Back of House (BOH) judging panel and footman at the Royal Household Jupiter Humphrey-Bishop led the Front of House (FOH). Geraldine was the Back of House winner and Jasmine was the Front of House winner.

This year's Grand Finals, which took place from 21-25th April, comprised a series of challenges focused on sustainability, covering topics such as food provenance, regenerative agriculture and how hospitality plays an important role in supporting communities.

Each day presented a unique opportunity for the 12 finalists to showcase their skills, creativity and passion, from curating menus using sustainably sourced ingredients and engaging in food foraging activities, to delving into the principles of sustainable farming and production.

It all began with Sodexo’s ‘farm-to-fork’ challenge set by competition partners Sodexo Live! and Full Circle Farms. The competitors were assessed on a wide range of criteria, including their approach to foraging wild ingredients and their teamwork skills when assembling their street-food inspired menus.

The Starbucks coffee challenge took place the following day, where the finalists learned about the provenance of 100% ethically sourced Arabica coffee beans and delved into the art of coffee craftsmanship at the Starbucks Support Centre in Chiswick. In pairs, the finalists were tasked with crafting an iced signature beverage tailored to the discerning palate of Gen Z consumers.

The Fine Dining Challenge provided competitors with an opportunity to use all these learnings to deliver an ‘unforgettable fine dining experience’, including a menu curated by Tommy Banks for 60 guests.

Using ingredients supplied by competition partner Woods Food Service, the finalists successfully cooked and served a well-presented range of food including lamb with asparagus and mint, red mullet served with Jerusalem artichoke and a roast bone sauce, and a mushroom and filo tart.

Katya Simmons, managing director of Nestlé Professional UK&I, said: “Yet again, this year's Toque d’Or competition has demonstrated just how much young talent there is in hospitality. We enjoyed watching all the participants as they progressed through key stages of the competition and extend our warmest congratulations to those who advanced and competed in Grand Finals Week. It’s no mean feat and they should all be proud to have made it this far, in what is an incredible achievement. 

"The essence of this competition lies in our unwavering commitment to fostering the next generation of hospitality professionals, through close collaboration with the industry. It has been truly inspiring to partner with other pioneering businesses on crucial topics such as sustainability and regenerative agriculture, ensuring we set the new standard for emerging talent and a benchmark for success.

“A huge thank you to all who have contributed to making this Grand Finals Week, and indeed the entire Toque d’Or event, a resounding success. And another huge congratulations to this year's winners Geraldine and Jasmine.”