Top hospitality students prepare to defend Toque d'Or

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23 Apr 2014

Top hospitality students from CPIT are getting ready to defend their title in a live kitchen cook off that will see one team named the nation’s best in the annual Nestlé Toque d’Or competition.

Last year, a team from CPIT won the event notching up the Institute’s fourteenth win in the history of the competition.

Now entering its 24th year, Nestlé Toque d’Or is considered by those in the hospitality industry to be the pre-eminent student culinary and front of house competition. The title is ‘hotly’ contested by all of those who compete in it.

New Zealand Chefs Association National President and organiser of the event, Anita Sarginson, said the three students from CPIT will battle against the clock and competing teams from 11 other institutes, to be in contention for the top title.

“Each team is made up of two culinary and one restaurant service students. Their brief is to prepare and serve six covers of a three course meal within an allotted timeframe,” Anita said.

In the months leading up to the big event, teams will spend hours training to perfect their menus and rehearsing how they will be presented to guests dining at the event.

“Competitors are given in advance a list of ingredients that they can use and it is up to them to create a menu that will impress the judges. Included in this year’s line-up of ingredients are: Nestlé Professional products, fresh and seasonal New Zealand grown vegetables, New Zealand Lamb and Akaroa Salmon.”

For one team that goes the extra mile and demonstrates innovative use of the products, they will receive a special award comprising a Moffat oven worth over $4,000 plus a selection of cook books.

High profile chef and leading culinary figure Paul Jobin will head the panel of judges all of whom are respected industry experts.

They will mark competing students against World Association of Chefs’ Societies (WACS) criteria that includes things like taste, service of food, presentation, food preparation and hygiene.

“On the day, the judges will pace the floor scrutinising every move being made by the students. Any slip ups could cost dearly with lost valuable points.

“It’s intense, it’s high pressure but it needs to be, in order to find out who the winning team will be. Not only does the event give students the opportunity to compete against their peers, it also gives them a forum for showcasing their talents to influential culinary professionals who could end up hiring them,”

Each person from the winning team will receive $2,000, while the institution they represent will be awarded $1,000.

Sponsors are: Nestlé Professional, Beef + Lamb New Zealand, vegetables.co.nz, Akaroa Salmon, House of Knives and Moffat.

Nestlé Toque d’Or will be held on Monday 18 August at the Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau Auckland. An awards dinner will be held later in the evening at the Villa Maria Estate where the winning team will be announced.