Nestlé Professional reveals 2023 Toque d'Or finalists

25 May 2023 by
Nestlé Professional reveals 2023 Toque d'Or finalists

Nestlé Professional has announced this year's Toque d'Or competition finalists.

From a selection of 48 students, six back of house and six front of house students advanced to the Grand Finals.

Finalists include students from catering and culinary colleges including North Hertfordshire College, Westminster Kingsway, and City of Glasgow College.

The back of house competitors were tasked with creating a nutritious and sustainable plant-based starter and main course, after hearing a masterclass from Whitbread's senior quality and innovation chef, Paul Fletcher. Nestlé Professional's business development chef, Darren Chapman, oversaw the back of house competition during the heats.

Competitors had to replicate a plant-based starter created by guest judge Louisa Ellis, which featured Garden Gourmet's ‘Sensational pulled fillet'. For the main course, students used Garden Gourmet's ‘Sensational burger' product as the hero ingredient for the dish.

The winner of the back of house competition will be offered the opportunity to develop their plant-based dish, which will then be featured across Whitbread's menus.

Sommelier and guest judge, Raul Diaz, delivered a wine and customer service masterclass to front of house students before they were tasked with serving red and white wine to guests during a lunch service.

Nestlé Professional coffee training specialist, Aaron Dunn, delivered a further masterclass on how to make the perfect latte which front of house students had to serve as part of the overall lunch service. 2021 front of house Toque d'Or winner and now guest judge, Sophie Taylor, supported students during the heats.

Katya Simmons, managing director Nestlé Professional UK&I, said: "The heats have been both challenging and rewarding for everyone. It was an intense, action-packed round and the standard was incredibly high, so everyone who has taken part should be very proud. As we look ahead to an exciting finals week, I want to wish the very best of luck to our 12 finalists who will be put to the test one last time."

The grand finals will take place in York from 4 to 8 June. The winners will be announced during the awards lunch on Friday 30 June at the Leadenhall Building's Landing Forty Two, the capital's highest events space. The finals will comprise a series of challenges built around the overarching theme of sustainability with a key focus on home-grown, locally sourced produce.

The finals will be judged by Taylor, chef and restaurateur, Tommy Banks; MasterChef: the Professionals, the Festive Knockout winner Louisa Ellis; educator, sommelier and wine expert, Raul Diaz.

The winners will enjoy a culinary trip to Brazil, where they will sample food ranging from high-end gastronomy to street food, and learn about sustainability on a bean to cup journey with the world's biggest coffee producer.

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