All new Nestlé Toque d’Or® 2012: a mix of all the best ingredients

The established student catering competition, Nestlé Toque d’Or® brought to you by Nestlé Professional®, a dedicated foodservice business, launches at the Salon Culinaire, Hotelympia, on 28/29 February 2012. The launch unveils a new programme of activity that will see competitors exposed to the widest and most varied range of “real-life” hospitality scenarios in the 24 year history of the competition.

This year’s Toque d’Or® has been designed to test skills to the full, offering catering students the opportunity to participate on a number of levels.  Business strategy, procurement and menu planning skills – among others – will be put to the test.

The new look competition will be easier to enter without the complex traditional paper entry that has been a mainstay of the competition since it began.  The revamped programme has been simplified and split into three “bite-size” stages; the one-day ‘Taste of Toque’ regional heats – launching at Hotelympia, the residential Grand Finals in May, culminating in the awards ceremony in June at The Dorchester Hotel

James Tanner, Chairman of Judges for Nestlé Toque d’Or®, who has been involved in the competition for the last four years, commented:  “The future of the hospitality industry depends more than ever on the ideas, enthusiasm and passion of the next generation.  Nestlé Toque d’Or® plays a pivotal role in engaging with catering students, whetting their appetite for the opportunities available to them and most importantly, helping them develop the plethora of skills required to succeed.

“I don’t know of any other competition that offers students this level of opportunity and exposure to the very best of our industry’s diverse experiences.”

Neil Stephens, Managing Director at Nestlé Professional® said: “The idea that the hospitality industry could be an exciting, rewarding and well-paid sector is often beyond the belief of catering college students.  For many, their early years of on-the-job training do very little to change this view.  This is why competitions like Nestlé Toque d’Or® are so important.  They help prepare students for reality; testing and stretching their skills while at the same time inspiring them by bringing them into contact with the great and the good of the industry.

“Skill, mixed with a strong work ethic and passion, are the ingredients needed to determine true success in the industry and Nestlé Toque d’Or® is unique in its ability to help young people get a taste and feel for what it really means to be a chef or front of house member of staff.” 

At the first set of heats at Hotelympia 17 colleges take up the challenge before a further schedule of heats take place around the country involving more catering colleges.

At Hotelympia those colleges competing include: Stratford-Upon-Avon College; Shrewsbury College of Arts and Technology; Llandrillo College Colwyn Bay; Bedford College; Liverpool Community College; South Downs College; Tresham Institute of Further and Higher Education, Corby; Petroc College, Barnstaple; Birmingham College of Food; City College Norwich; Colchester Institute; Sheffield City College; Westminster Kingsway College; Grimsby Institute; North Warwickshire & Hinckley College; Bournemouth & Poole College; and Chelmsford College. *

Each team will be made up of three to include one from the kitchen, one front of house and a commis (who ideally will be a first year student).  With a budget of no more than £6 per person, the team will be required to prepare, cook and serve a two course healthy lunch for six covers; two for judging and four for invited diners, in two hours.

The main course must not exceed 600 calories and the dessert needs to have the attributes of either KITKAT®, ROLO® or AERO®.  Use of other Nestlé® products is also encouraged, including CHEF® which must be used in the main course.  Consideration should be given to the inclusion of other products from the MAGGI® range. 

Prizes will include a Toque d’Or uniform for students in all competing teams, a generous award of equipment for their college*, certificate and a place in the all new Nestlé Toque d’Or® Grand Finals for the top eight teams from all the ‘Taste of Toque’ heats.

The top eight teams from the regional heats (Salon Culinaire – Hotelympia 2012, City of Glasgow College, The College of Food – University College Birmingham, SheffieldCityCollege, and The Wessex Salon Culinaire) will go through to the Grand Finals 17th – 20th May.  The Grand Finals are set to put students through their paces across key hospitality disciplines such as business strategy, creativity and innovation.

For further information about the competition, call 020 8667 5530, email, or visit