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Toque d’Or® Finals and Awards Postponed until late 2020

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#ToquedOr2020 postponed due to #Coronavirus outbreak @NestleToquedOr 

In light of the current situation surrounding COVID-19 and the advice from Public Health England, Katya Simmons, Managing Director of Nestle Professional® UK & Ireland, has confirmed that the Toque d’Or 2020 Grand Finals and Awards, set to take place in April and June, have now been postponed until later in the year. 

Speaking about the decision Katya said:

“This was a difficult decision, however, the health and wellbeing of our competitors, colleagues, partners and customers is our top priority. Whilst a new date has not yet been set, we will continue to monitor the situation and keep everyone updated on plans as we move into a position of being able to make new arrangements.

“We’ve had a successful year so far for Toque d’Or 2020, with the National Heats taking place earlier this month, where we announced the 24 talented apprentices and college students that will compete in the Grand Finals. Reaching the final is no mean feat and we look forward to seeing how the competition progresses later in the year with challenges designed to push the competitors to their limits around the Toque d’Or 2020 theme of sustainability. 

“Whilst the Grand Final has been postponed, the Toque d’Or community will continue to spread messages of positivity with a digital challenge on Instagram to ensure the creative juices keep flowing for our finalists. We want to continue to showcase the best of our industry and demonstrate how, when we pull together, we come out stronger.

“This is a tough time for the hospitality industry and there is a lot of uncertainty around what the future holds. At Toque d’Or, our ethos has always been focused on supporting the sustainability of careers and the wider industry, and we appreciate this is now more important than ever. We are constantly inspired by the resilience of our industry and know that we will support each other through this time.

“If you would like to keep updated on the competition, see some of the highlights from the recent heats and support our finalists through their digital channels, please do follow us on social media @nestletoquedor and #toquedor2020.”

College students and apprentices were ready to battle it out in the Nestle Professional® Toque d’Or® Grand Final

#ToquedOr2020 The ones to watch: Finalists of the @NestleToquedor 2020 heats were announced 16th March 2020, when Nestlé Professional® revealed the 12 college students and 12 apprentices who took the top spot at the coveted Toque d’Or National Heats and secured a place to compete in the Grand Finals taking place w/c 27th April.

Competing in the National Heats, which took place across the country in Glasgow, Birmingham, Westminster and Gatwick, were a total of 78 aspiring hospitality superstars who battled it out in front of a live audience and panel of expert judges.

The college students and apprentices of both chefs and front of house professionals all took part in a series of challenges and masterclasses focused around the holistic relationship between food, sustainability and nutrition.

For the back of house students and apprentices this meant watching a masterclass in preparing a two-course menu of beetroot risotto and a rhubarb, ginger and clementine posset accompanied by shortbread biscuits, to replicate and serve to the watching judges and guests diners.  

New for this year is the Front of House award, where the industry’s budding baristas, service champions and aspiring managers were tasked with showcasing five-star service, sommelier skills and cocktail crafting for the guests, after taking part in a customer service masterclass. The skills of the back of house and front of house competitors were then put to the test as they teamed up to serve one table of two guests.

Judges for the National Heats included hospitality mogul, Alison Taffs; Group Operations and Development Chef at Principal Hotels, Adam Bateman; Hospitality consultant, Miriam Garstang; and new to the competition this year, Ruth Hansom, the first female to win Young National Chef of the Year. The judges were looking for technical skill, an understanding of nutritional menus, minimal food waste and sustainable ingredients, five-star service and passion from the competitors.

Those which stood out the most to the judges and are, therefore, going through to the Grand Finals are:

Student Back of House

Ben Smith, Tameside College

Erica Agyei, University of Derby

Joshua O’Reilly, The Sheffield College

Katherine Altham, Kendal College

Kian Marshall, Newcastle College

Vasileios Xanthopoulus, City of Glasgow College

Student Front of House

Alex Dick, City of Glasgow College

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Eleanor Dee, Ayrshire College

Josh Tellwright, University of Derby

Patrick Murray, Vision West Notts

Sophie Taylor, Edinburgh College

Taylor Corkery, Farnborough College of Technology

Apprentice Back of House

Andrej Zak, Eccles Hotel & Spa

Ben Dullea, Pomona’s

Fergus Chalmers, The Polecat Inn

Jack Clarke, East India Club

Lily Stock Boodle’s, St James’s

Mohit Kaku, Eccles Hotel & Spa

Apprentice Front of House

Ciro Pizzi, Nirvana Spa

Chelsie Robinson, The Cross Keys Stow

Emad Shehata, Prima Pizza and Pasta

Rosie Burvill, The Westleton Crown

Tegan Taylor, Mallory Court Country House Hotel & Spa

Ziggy Ward, The Orchard Café

Commenting on this year’s heats, Ruth Hansom, said:

“As my first year judging the competition it was inspiring to see just how passionate and hungry to succeed the competitors are – there was some serious talent taking part. It’s going to be an exciting ride for those that have made it through to the Grand Finals. It’s amazing to see the competitors so engaged with the Sustainable Futures theme, it’s really apparent just how connected the future faces of hospitality are to this topic and competitions like Nestle Professional®’s Toque d’Or provide the perfect platform for this interest to grow.”

Katya Simmons, Managing Director at Nestlé Professional® UK&I, added:

“We saw some of the most challenging heats yet, but the talent shone through. We’re looking forward to giving the finalists the journey of a lifetime as we progress to the next stage of the competition.

“Through this year’s competition and workshops the contestants are exploring the holistic relationship between health, sustainability and nutrition and will shine a spotlight on how the hospitality industry can empower consumers in making better choices for themselves and the planet. It has been fantastic to see the contestants really getting to grips with this challenge during the National Heats and I’m excited to see what creations the finalists come up with during the Grand Finals – it’s one not to be missed!”

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