Now in their 23rd year, the awards form part of the hospitality industry’s efforts to attract talented staff into the sector, and have come to be known as a key goal in the educational programme of many students.
The team of six from the College of Food, University College Birmingham, had competed against another four teams from colleges around the country in the final cook-off held at the BBC Good Food Show. Other competitors were: Blackpool & The Fylde College, Belfast Metropolitan College, Grimsby Institute of Further Education, and Colchester Institute.
Rounded chef skills
As part of the competition process, the teams had to compete in various real-life cook-off scenarios, pass the City and Guilds accreditation for Nutrition, Health and Wellness, and present and explain their business plan to a panel of judges. The grand finals cook-off saw them prepare a three-course meal for 100 paying diners.
Chairman of judges, chef James Tanner, said the competition tests the skill, imagination, passion and commitment of the teams.
“I think it is incredibly easy to forget how young the individuals competing are and the phenomenal journey they have been on,” he said.
I am privileged to be part of the competition and recognise the pivotal role it plays in developing the future of hospitality talent.”
Attracting and retaining talent
“Finding ways to attract and retain talented people into foodservice has always been a challenge,” added Bob Walton, president of the Restaurant Association, which supports the competition.
“Whilst it is an incredibly creative and passionate sector, on the flip side it requires dedication and often long hours. That is why competitions such as Nestle Toque d’Or, which harness talent and help it to grow is vital to the future of our industry.”