The 140 teams from 70 colleges originally entered the competition, which will award the winner a grand prize of £2500 worth of catering equipment for their college from the Savoy Educational Trust Nestlé Professional Toque d’Or equipment fund and an additional £400 cash prize for each member of the winning team.
Neil Stephens, UK & Eire managing director of Nestlé Professional, said: “We’re seeing a growing movement by employers in their awareness of the advantages of recruiting a ‘Toque’ candidate and many of our past students have gone on to work with the finest establishments in the UK, whether as a chef or in a front of house role.
“Teamwork is key - hence we place so much emphasis on combining front and back of house skill sets.”
The first round focused on testing student’s understanding of sustainability by asking them to complete a paper entry and submit it to judges including Footprint Media’s Nick Fenwicke-Clennell and Charles Miers.
The 36 teams now set to take part in February’s regional heats will be given a reward of £500 worth of equipment, with the 6 teams who eventually make it through to the grand finals in March set to receive £1000 worth of equipment and an additional cash prize of £200 for each student involved.
Stephens added: “Indeed, Nestlé Professional Toque D’Or enjoys a reputation for dramatically accelerating students’ career paths for those who participate – [the competition] is part of Nestlé’s broader worldwide commitment to supporting youth skills, training and development.”
Previous contestants have gone on to work for establishments such as Heston Blumenthal’s the Fat Duck, Whatley Manor, Mosimanns, the Lanesborough and L’Ortolan.
Nestlé Professional UK & Ireland has announced the appointment of a new managing director.
George Vezza, assistant vice president of Nestlé’s Global Sales and Marketing function, will take command of the role from Neil Stephens on February 1, 2015.
Vezza said: “It is an enourmously exciting time for Nestlé Professional as we continue to morph into a business partner that delivers entrepreneurial solutions to its customers.
“Neil [Stephens] has created a legacy that I am proud to be taking forward to a new level as we continue our journey of growth and innovation.”
Stephens leaves the role to take up the position of managing director of Nestlé Beverages UK & Ireland.
He said: “George has played a key role in our on-going vision of inspiring our partners’ growth” – he knows our industry well and will provide great continuity moving forward.”
Steve Norris, currently sales controller for the RTM channel, has been promoted to the role of division sales director.