THE CATERING competition NESTLÉ TOQUE D’OR® last night [4th June] celebrated 25 years of sustaining and nurturing careers in the hospitality sector, as the winners of this year’s special anniversary competition were crowned at London’s Dorchester Hotel.
South West College took NESTLÉ TOQUE D’OR® victory, bagging Ireland its first Toque trophy, whilst also maintaining the all-girl winning streak from 2012.
The triumphant team, made up of food and beverage service student Colleen McCann and professional cookery student Lauren Beavers, join an illustrious list of NESTLÉ TOQUE D’OR® alumni including Anton Mosimann, the first ever winner of NESTLÉ TOQUE D’OR®.
South West College took the top spot after a challenging four day Grand Final against teams from University College Birmingham, South Downs College, University of Derby, City of Glasgow College, Liverpool Community College, Blackpool and the Fylde College and the College of West Anglia, Kings Lynn.
Neil Stephens, Managing Director of NESTLÉ PROFESSIONAL® commented: “This is a landmark year for Nestlé Toque d’Or, marking a quarter of a century of our commitment to inspiring careers within the hospitality industry. We know that the industry already recognises NESTLE TOQUE D’OR® as a mark of the very highest standards and our ambition through NESTLÉ TOQUE D’OR® is to help shape the careers and employability of the next generation and help them break into the industry. Every year, the bar is raised higher and every year, the students rise to the challenge. What they achieve over the course of the competition is truly inspirational. I take my hat off to them and wish them every success in their future careers - judging by their collective performance in this year’s competition, they’re destined for great things”
After an emotional initial reaction, the team found their words and commented: "This means so, so much for South West College. Words cannot describe what this means. This has been the best experience ever for us - an experience not to be missed. We've learned so much and feel privileged to have been part of Toque d'Or. To be the first college in Ireland to win is just the icing on the cake"
This year changes to the format saw the students undertake the most varied and challenging set of hospitality and catering scenarios’ ever seen in the competition’s 25 year history, as the competition organisers continue to offer the students a diverse and full learning and development experience.
Chairman of Judges, celebrity chef James Tanner, said: “I have seen the competition evolve a great deal the 7 years I have been involved with Toque, and this year the students are really thrown in at the deep end throughout the competition, faced with foreign products in an unfamiliar and often daunting environment. It takes a lot of guts to overcome the pressures, rise above them and make the most of the Grand Finals. South West College grasped the opportunity with both hands; they kept their cool throughout with a consistent performance, and really deserve huge congratulations.”