Toque d'Or Winners

July 2010

A team of chef and food service students from the College of Food here at UCB has won one of the most prestigious hospitality competitions in the UK.

At a glittering awards ceremony at the Dorchester Hotel in London, the team of six scooped the coveted title of Nestlé Toque d'Or Champions 2010, after beating off stiff competition from four other UK catering colleges.

Following weeks of training and practice sessions, for the grand final the team had to prepare and serve a three course meal for one hundred paying guests at the BBC Summer Good Food Show at the NEC in June.

Their menu was a starter of slow cooked organic Shetland Salmon with asparagus and avruga caviar followed by roast loin of Cornish lamb with green beans, Feta and chickpea and finishing with a dessert of caramel and chocolate parfait and espresso ice cream.

Head judge of the competition, James Tanner, was impressed with the level of skills demonstrated by the team. He said: The commitment and sheer natural talent in this team was clear from the very beginning.All showed 100% passion and really rose to the challenge in conditions that can only be described as working in a real pressure cooker! They should all be extremely proud of what they have achieved, especially with such a high standard of entries this year.

Michelin star chef, Andreas Antona of Simpsons, Edgbaston helped to guide the team as official mentor, along with UCB lecturers John Penn, Amy Hollier and Andrew Bisconti.

The team members were chefs Jonathan Evans, Yasmine Read, Syeda Begum and Enming Liang and food service students Benjamin Hare and Jakob Burnett.

The prize is a trip to Lyon for the team in January as guests of Nestlé Professional and the college receives £4000 worth of catering equipment from the Savoy Trust.

Professor Ray Linforth, Principal, University College Birmingham said: It is a tremendous achievement for the team to have won this competition as it is known to be one of the toughest in the industry. We are all very proud and their win will demonstrate to new students starting in September what can be achieved when you have the passion and dedication to succeed.

Team mentor, John Penn, Assistant Dean, College of Food at UCB said: I am ecstatic at the win, the team has worked so hard and really deserve it.

Delighted at their success the students said:

Winning has been such a fabulous achievement and I am so proud to have
been given this opportunity by UCB to compete in the Nestlé Toque d'Or 
Competition. I have learnt a great deal, especially the importance of communication and team work.

Liang Enming

I am completely over the moon at winning the competition, it is such a
huge achievement. I have developed great contacts in the industry
and gained practical management skills when working with a team of staff who I had never met before, there to help us serve in the restaurant at the Good Food Show. The experience has been amazing and has given me an opportunity to showcase my skills.

Benjamin Hare

I am still coming to terms with the win! I have become more confident
through doing the competition and it has given me a fantastic opportunity to now work part-time at Simpsons.I have gained managerial skills through working with others and meeting new people has
been great. Winning the competition will look great on my CV and hopefully open doors for me in my future career.

Jakob Burnett