Blackpool and The Fylde College has been crowned 2007 Nestlé Toque d'Or champions at an awards ceremony at London's Dorchester hotel today.
The college beat three other teams from Bristol College, Ayr College and North Devon College.
The winning team of four chefs - Russell Lee, Mandy Riedel, Tony Bee and Graham Floyd together with front of house duo Ben Walsh and Stephen Bradley - served up 300 dishes during the course of the competition.
Toque d'Or tests students' kitchen and front-of-house skills, as well as their business acumen in developing a profitable restaurant concept.
Inspired by Blackpool's bid to host a Las Vegas style super casino, the college chose as its theme ‘Seventh Floor at the Palace Casino' and served a menu of cream of red mullet and Pernod soup, followed by supreme of guinea fowl with butternut squash risotto, creamed Savoy cabbage and a wild mushroom sauce, and an assiette of confectionery-inspired desserts to finish.
Chairman of judges James Tanner, who runs Tanners Restaurant, Plymouth, with his brother Chris, praised all four teams. "It was an exceptionally high standard and a difficult decision," he said. "I was very proud to see the next generation coming through."
Graham Floyd gave the winning team's reaction. "We're in shock, we really didn't expect it," he said. "We saw the other teams' menus and knew they'd done well."
Their prize is a study tour at the Johnson & Wales University in North Carolina, USA.
In addition, all four finalist teams receive catering equipment for their colleges.
By Diane Lane
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