Rising star chefs set to compete in the heats of  2021 Toque d’Or competition

Rising star chefs set to compete in the heats of 2021 Toque d’Or competition

A team of three Trafford College hospitality students are set to compete in the national heats of the prestigious Toque d’Or contest having fought off competition from nearly 1000 entries from across the UK.

Despite the ongoing pandemic, this year saw a record-breaking 956 entries from 80 individual colleges and businesses, all vying for a place in the competition after what has been an incredibly challenging twelve months for the hospitality industry.

The professional competition aims to inspire the industry’s next generation and provide them with the key skills required to succeed in their career.

In recognition of the increasing importance of community and inclusiveness, this year’s competition will be open to entry level Front and Back of House professionals as well as college students and apprentices.

Flying the flag for The Trafford College Group are students Chilli Stuart, Emily Arnott and Karl Jones.

Adult student Thi (Chili Stuart) Nguyen, or Chilli as she likes to be known, is a Level 3 professional chef originally from Vietnam. She is a passionate chef with a keen eye for growing her own vegetables and keeping livestock, and she is determined to show how far she can go in the competition.

Fellow chef, Emily Arnott, is also a Level 3 professional chef who just loves to be in the kitchen. Emily constantly impresses her tutors with her drive, ambition and positive attitude, which is why she was persuaded to submit her Toque d’Or entry. No stranger to competitions, Emily has competed at a high level in her other passion of martial arts, but this will be her first venture in the world of culinary competitions.

Joining Emily and Chilli is commis chef, Karl Jones. Currently studying an apprenticeship, Karl was selected for his drive, ambition and dedication to his course. Karl also works full-time as a sous chef at the Botanist restaurant & bar, and says he loves the buzz of a professional kitchen. In the little spare time he has, he helps deliver a BTEC qualification in food technology at a SEND school. He was also crowned 'Apprentice of the Year' at the college’s recent Student of the Year awards event.

The next stage of the competition takes place virtually on 15 April at the college’s Altrincham campus where the chefs will create a sustainable and nutritious meal with their own flare, as well as taking part in a digital challenge of creating their own story on Instagram about their journey in the competition so far.

The heats will welcome 112 students, apprentices and young professionals from a wide range of colleges and employers across the country. Finalists will be announced on 30 April and the finals of the competition will then be held on 28 June, with the awards broadcasted live over YouTube for the rest of the industry to enjoy in the third week of July.

Katya Simmons, Managing Director of Nestlé Professional UK&I, comments, “2020 has been an unprecedented and hugely challenging year for hospitality. Through it all, we’ve pulled together and, now more than ever, it’s important we work as a community to help build a sustainable future for the hospitality industry. I am delighted with the standard of entries we have received.

"The passion and dedication of each competitor is a credit to our industry, and I am excited to welcome them to the heats. We are proud to support the next generation and provide them with the opportunity to learn and grow in their career. Good luck to all of the 2021 competitors.”