A team of students from North Devon College was named 2009 Nestlé Toque d'Or Champions at an awards luncheon at indigo2 at The O2 arena, London today.
Emma Colwill, Tom Turner, Max Bowen, Karl Partridge, Mike Stern and James Ballantyne made up the North Devon team who saw off challenges from Blackpool and the Fylde College, Belfast Metropolitan College, City of Bristol College and Sussex Downs College to claim the coveted title.
The five teams took part in the Grand Final of the competition, now in its 21st year, at the BBC Summer Good Food Show held at Birmingham's NEC in June where they took turns to set up their own themed restaurants to prepare and serve a three-course lunch to 100 paying diners.
The North Devon team's Hook, Line and Divine restaurant idea was inspired by the region's coastline with its abundance of fresh seafood.
"The team excelled themselves with their concept which brought together great fresh food and a simple brasserie feel," said head judge James Tanner, joint chef-patron of Tanners Restaurant in Plymouth.
The students' three-course menu comprised fennel soup with crab tortellini and sauce vierge; curry-spiced Cornish monkfish tail with red pepper sabayon, cauliflower purée and sweet pickled vegetables; and apple trifle with warm brioche cinnamon doughnuts.
On receiving the trophy team member Max Bowen said: "Words can't describe how much this award means to us and how it will make a difference to our careers moving forward. At times the pressure was intense and ensuring each dish at the BBC Good Food Show Summer was ‘just so' was when we really felt the heat. But this recognition makes our sheer hard work and determination worthwhile."
The winning team's prize is a trip to Vevey, Switzerland, home to the worldwide headquarters of Nestlé, and stages with Anton Mosimann, Chris Horridge and Alan Murchison.
By Diane Lane
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