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Pub chefs of the future

On 03/04/14 by Brigid Simmonds (Chief Executive)

I was privileged to attend the finals of the Nestle Toque d'Or competition for young chefs and front of house staff from colleges around the UK.

It is the 26th year of this award and I was very fortunate to have been placed next to someone who has been there from the start, Anton Mossiman. Anton was the chef at the Dorchester for 13 years and achieved two Michelin Stars during his residence there. Since then, he has owned his own restaurant and recently catered for the IOC at the Olympics and also Help the Heroes in his native Switzerland. In turn I was able to talk to him about our planned pub chefs campaign to attract more young people from catering colleges into our pub kitchens and how food in pubs has changed beyond recognition!

The Toque d'Or competition goes through various regional heats and ends with six teams in the finals. The initial written submissions were judged by Tim Hulme, CEO of the British Institute of Innkeeping, and James Armitage, Head of Marketing at Enterprise Inns. There was this year a stronger emphasis on ensuring that students received an educational experience as well as being tested on what they knew. Practical experience is crucial to ensure the next generation of hospitality stars are prepared for the real world of work and they were tested in a range of different situations from preparing and serving in a Michelin star restaurant, to preparing pub meals and food for service personnel.

The atmosphere of the final night was exhilarating and uplifting. The winner this year was the team of three from the City of Glasgow. "I've never been so happy in my life" said one of the young chefs who won. Just as they were leaving the stage one of their lecturers from Glasgow College spoke in tears. "I've been involved in this competition for 26 years and it is the first time we have won". There was hardly a dry eye there and certainly not mine!

BBPA and our members have been working with Nestle for some years. They have a particular interest through their expertise in Nestle coffee and the stocks they offer for pub chefs. Nestle is still a family owned company owning a whole range of products which never ceases to amaze me! The Toque d'Or competition is inspiring and I hope that through our soon-to-be launched Pub Chefs campaign and inspirational recruitment film some of the candidates will end up in pub kitchens and as front of house staff – benefitting from the thousands of career opportunities our industry offers.


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