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Inspirational young chefs at the Nestlé Professional Toque D’Or grand final

On 24/04/15 by Brigid Simmonds (Chief Executive)

The Nestlé Professional Toque D’Or grand final awards is always inspiring and this year was no different. More teams than ever before entered this year’s competition and were eventually whittled down to six finalists. Each team comprises two chefs and one front-of–house team member. The finalists came from colleges in Glasgow, Birmingham, Sheffield, Doncaster, Blackpool & Fylde and Westminster.

In February, 108 students from 27 colleges took part and with just three hours, had to plan and produce chorizo with clams, mussels and squid, lamb with a mint crust and white chocolate crème brûlée for ten. Challenges for the finalists included preparing street food at the o2 and a five star breakfast at the Wolsey.

The overall winner this year, for the third time in the history of the competition, (a hat-trick like this year’s beer duty cut!) was Westminster Kingsway College. I was an emotional night so well compered by Mark Durden-Smith – he really does manage to encourage even the shyest students to say something. This year, we had an athlete from Sheffield who, before she trained as a chef, carried the Olympic torch. We had a diver who told us that vocations were not encouraged at his school; one candidate took part in the X Factor (he even sang for us) and is a keen Irish dancer!

It is the sort of competition which really does aim to raise standards in our industry and provide aspiration for all those who enter. For BBPA, there is clearly a link to our Pub Chef’s Passion website: 'Passionate in Life, Passionate in Work; we are all pub chefs'! Nestlé, which is a BBPA associate member, works with our member companies on their coffee offer, stocks and sauces and of course all the other products they own.

I had the privilege of sitting next to Anton Mosiman who will offer the winners the opportunity to be part of his team in Belgrave Square. They all aspire to reach his standard, and I am sure that some will work in our pubs, where of course they may well have the opportunity to run their own business from a very early age.


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