March 2019

UCB trio bag Grand Finals spot in Nestlé Professional Toque d'Or

Read time: approx 2 mins

A team of University College Birmingham students have wowed judges to secure a place in the final of a prestigious national competition.

Luke Hayward, Yasmine Selwood and Faiha Ahmed battled it out with students from 23 other institutions across the UK in the Regional Finals of the 2019 Nestlé Professional Toque d'Or last week.

UCB hosted one of the four regional heats of the annual competition, which tests teams not only on their cooking but also their service skills.

Professional Cookery students Luke and Yasmine followed a masterclass of three dishes based on the theme of health and sustainability, while Hospitality and Tourism Management student Faiha had a separate front-of-house masterclass featuring service, commodity knowledge and food and wine pairing.

Between them, the trio had two hours and 45 minutes to cook and serve a table of eight guests, with two extra plates of each dish for the judges.

And having been pitted against teams from all the heats across the UK in the regional final standings, the UCB trio finished in the top six to book their place at the climax of the competition in London.

The Grand Finals, which take place over five days in April and May, will see the trio face a series of as-yet-unknown challenges in their bid to clinch the Toque d'Or crown.

Team mentor Neil Rippington, Dean of the College of Food at UCB, praised the team on their performance.

"The students performed excellently," he said. "Each dish was served promptly and exactly as per the masterclass earlier in the day.

"Faiha's service was outstanding. Her knowledge of provenance and descriptors of each dish was truly professional. It was a pleasure to listen to the comments of Nestlé's guests dining during the lunch service.

"The students will have an amazing experience at the final and, fingers crossed, bring the sacred trophy back to its home in the UCB trophy cabinet."

UCB has previously won the Toque d'Or four times since the contest was first launched in 1989.

It will be a second appearance in the Grand Finals for Luke, who was part of the University's team that reached the same stage of the competition last year.

It is also a second major contest final of 2019 for the budding star chef after he clinched the bronze medal at the Young Chef Olympiad in India in February.

Find out more about our range of courses at UCB’s College of Food here.

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