Nestlé Toque d'Or, the long-running student catering competition by Nestlé Professional, will launch at the Salon Culinaire at Hotelympia tomorrow.
A new programme of activity that will see competitors exposed to a broad spectrum of ‘real life' hospitality scenarios will also be unveiled; the widest in the competition's 24 year history.
Designed to test the competitor's skills to the max, this year's Toque d'Or offers catering students the opportunity to take part on a number of levels, including business strategy, procurement and menu planning skills.
James Tanner, chairman of judges for Nestlé Toque d'Or, who has been involved in the competition for the last four years, commented: "The future of the hospitality industry depends more than ever on the ideas, enthusiasm and passion of the next generation.
"I don't know of any other competition that offers students this level of opportunity and exposure to the very best of our industry's diverse experiences."
Students no longer need to go through a complex paper entry process and the revamped programme has been split into three bite-size stages: the one-day Taste of Toque regional heats (launching at Hotelympia); the residential grand finals in May; and the awards ceremony, which will be held at the Dorchester hotel in June.
Neil Stephens, managing director at Nestlé Professional, said: "The idea that the hospitality industry could be an exciting, rewarding and well-paid sector is often beyond the belief of catering college students.
"For many, their early years of on-the-job training do very little to change this view. This is why competitions like Nestlé Toque d'Or are so important. They help prepare students for reality; testing and stretching their skills while at the same time inspiring them by bringing them into contact with the great and the good of the industry."
At the first set of heats at Hotelympia, 17 colleges will take up the challenge before a further schedule of heats take place around the country involving more catering colleges.
Each team will be made up of three to include one from the kitchen, one front of house and a commis (who ideally will be a first year student). With a budget of no more than £6 per person, the team will be required to prepare, cook and serve a two course healthy lunch for six covers; two for judging and four for invited diners, in two hours.
Prizes will include a Toque d'Or uniform for students in all competing teams, equipment for their college, certificate and a place in the all new Nestlé Toque d'Or grand finals for the top eight teams from all the ‘Taste of Toque' heats.
For further information about the competition, call 020 8667 5530, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.nestle-toquedor.co.uk.
By Janie Manzoori-Stamford
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