Nestlé Professional has announced University College Birmingham and apprentice Drew Dawson from five-star hotel and members’ club, The Ned as the winners of the Toque d’Or 2019 competition.
It is the fifth time University College Birmingham has won the college accolade since 2010, most recently picking up the title in 2017.
This year’s stars were revealed at a VIP awards lunch at the Royal Lancaster London on Friday 14 June 2019, in a ceremony hosted by TV presenters Mark Durden Smith and Angellica Bell.
The winners took part in a four-day grand final held at the beginning of May. The 12 college and apprentice finalists experienced the breadth of the industry with challenges including:
- WSET Level One training (and exam) at English vineyard Denbies, followed by wine tasting and a tour of the vineyards and wine cellars
- Fast-paced shifts under the eye of chef James Tanner at unique dining and drinking venue Smiths of Smithfield
- Recreating and serving a three-course fine dining sustainable menu developed by Simon Hulstone at the luxurious Kimpton Fitzroy Hotel
- Harvesting vegetables before creating their own sustainable vegetarian dish at Watts Farm in Dartford
Katya Simmons, managing director, Nestlé Professional UK and Ireland, said: “This is a life changing moment for the winners. By giving them the opportunity to develop their knowledge in all aspects of the industry and work alongside high profile experts and chefs, the competition has paved the way for their careers.
“The winners’ creativity in their approach to the challenges really set them apart from the pack and they have set an incredibly high standard for next year’s competition.”
She added: “For us at Nestlé Professional, sustainability covers everything from food sourcing through to talent sourcing and retention. Rewarding career opportunities, innovation and creativity are exciting prospects for young talent, so it’s important the industry works together to celebrate its creativity and attract fresh talent.”