Hospitality and catering students at West Nottinghamshire College are raising their mocktail glasses in celebration after discovering they’re through to the heats of a prestigious national competition.
Once again, the college has put forward students with creative skills in the catering industry for the Nestlé Toque D’Or competitions. This follows-on from last year’s entrant, Patrick Murray, a Level 3 Hospitality Supervision student, who reached the finals with his vegan version of an Irish coffee.
Previous success came in 2019 with chefs Aaron Matthews and Rachel Duborg together with hospitality supervision student Olivia Boswell, who also reached the national finals with their vegetarian cuisine.
Despite the current climate, this year saw a record-breaking 956 entries from 40 different colleges and 40 businesses nationwide, taking part in the high-profile competition.
The next stage are the heats which will see five of the college’s trainee chefs and two hospitality supervision students submit their work through creation of a video, a series of online posts and stories in order to promote their creations.
Budding chefs Aidan Kemp, Luke Taylor, Mahmoud Attiya, Oliver Cooper and Oska Ready will be showcasing their skills in creating a vegetarian sauce to accompany an Italian gnocci dish and must display why it is vegetarian and consider the nutritional and sustainable aspects of it.
This virtual competition, which will take place on 15 April, will also see two more students bringing their skills to life for the front of house challenge.
Hospitality and supervision students Klaudia Adasiak and Lucy White are challenged with creating a non-alcoholic, mixed drink based on a high-quality jasmine green tea. Within the challenge the duo must express how they have kept the drink’s sugar levels to a minimum as well as highlight its nutritional content.
Klaudia, 17, from Mansfield, said: “Lucy and I have been practicing making our cocktail quite a bit. This is my first time entering a competition like this so I was really shocked to get through as it’s such a largescale competition.
“We decided to add honey to give it the sweetness which cuts out the need for sugar. Jasmine tea is a really strong tea so this sits well with it. We’ll add ginger ale to the drink as well as non-alcoholic gin because gin is a very popular drink at the moment. We’re looking forward to creating the video for the judges.”
Head of hospitality, tourism, animal care and foundation studies, Helen Wilcockson, said: “I’m extremely proud of the seven students who are now through to the competition heats.
“They all work tremendously hard to showcase their culinary and restaurant service skills and this achievement is even more incredible due to the lockdown restrictions, in which they had to practice from home on classroom live platforms for over two months.
“We’re looking forward to the students undertaking the video challenge within the Easter holidays and are confident that we will make the finals in London later this year.”
More about Toque D’Or
Nestlé Professional Toque D’Or began in 1989 and since then has evolved significantly to become one of the UK’s most prestigious catering competitions. Being part of this competition can change a student’s career, with the industry recognising that Toque D’Or students have demonstrated true passion and commitment.