The team, comprising Megan Lyke, Katie Lewis and Jack Gameson, beat five other teams to win in the four-day 2016 Grand Finals contest in March, with the result announced at a special awards lunch at The Dorchester hotel on Friday (24 June), in front of some of the industry’s biggest names including legendary French chef Anton Mosimann.
The competition judges were also in attendance, including chef-owner at The Elephant in Torquay, Simon Hulstone; restaurateur James Tanner; and executive pastry chef for Hakkasan, Graham Hornigold.
The other teams to take part in the finals were Glasgow College, Gloucestershire College, Sheffield City College, University of Derby Buxton and York College, all of which had to create and serve a three-course, fine dining dinner for 48 people in London.
The teams were also given front-of-house training from the ETM Group, took part in a nutrition masterclass with writer and nutritionist Amanda Ursell and Footprint Media, and a desserts masterclass led by former Toque d’Or contestant and pastry chef, Thomas Leatherbarrow.
James Tanner, chairman of judges, commented: “This year, I have been completely bowled over by the passion, commitment and sheer talent that has shone through at every stage of the competition. We may be in the midst of a talent crisis, but the level of passion and commitment demonstrated by these youngsters has been unquestionable.”
Speaking of UCB’s overall team win, team member Lyke said: “Toque is different to every other competition. It is life-changing; we know people will look at us differently. It has given us a stepping stone to our future with contacts, connections and experience.”
Luka Seddon, apprentice commis chef at CH&Co, was also announced as the winner of the first ever apprenticeship contest, which was supported by partners including HIT Training and People First.