Played out over four consecutive days, the activities range from a task with the British Army and an initiative involving a team of industry-recognised catering entrepreneurs.
“All too often, students embark on catering courses with pipe dreams of owning their own business without having really thought through what this actually means,” said Stephen Mannock, Toque d’Or Judge and general manager of Wivenhoe House - home of the Edge Hotel School.
“What the Nestlé Toque d’Or does, is force students to think long and hard about their restaurant concept and everything involved in making their vision a reality.
“The competition puts learners in a position where they have to consider the wider context; the economic climate we’re operating in, the impact this will have on their business, what type of property they require, its location, interior design, the rent and rates, the overheads, staffing, environmental health requirement - the list is endless.”
From battlefield to business pitch
The first challenge kicked off yesterday at the Defence Food Services School (DFSS) at Worthy Down, led by the Army’s Cookery Training Squadron. The task is specifically designed to take students out of their comfort zone and encourage them to think ‘on their feet’ in preparation for the many real scenarios that occur every day in the hospitality industry.
From the battlefield to business planning, the second challenge, which takes place today, sees teams presenting their restaurant concepts and business plan to successful industry personalities including Richard Pursey - chairman of the 10 In 8 fine-dining group - celebrity chef James Tanner and entrepreneur Geoff Ward.
The student catering teams include:
- Blackpool & The Fylde College
- Hull College
- Liverpool Community College
- Sheffield City College
- Shrewsbury College
- South Downs College
- Westminster Kingsway College
Neil Stephens, managing director of Nestlé Professional, which runs the competition, concluded: “I am proud that Nestlé Professional is able to deliver such a programme that really builds on the skills of the next generation of our industry. Nestlé Toque d’Or acts as a gateway to a unique set of catering scenarios that most students would not otherwise have the chance to engage with.
“And it goes further than this - it gives students access to a community of experienced industry professionals from all areas of the business whose experience, insights and advice are invaluable in helping shape their careers and employability.
“I extend my personal thanks to all the industry professionals who continue to support the Nestlé Toque d’Or and help us provide a lifetime’s experience in one competition.”
The winning team will be announced at the Nestlé Toque d’Or awards ceremony, which will be held at The Dorchester on Friday 29 June.