South West College has bagged Ireland its first NESTLÉ TOQUE D’OR® victory, while also continuing the all-girl winning streak from 2012, after being crowned the winner of the prestigious student catering competition at a ceremony at London’s Dorchester Hotel yesterday (4th June).
The winning team, made up of food and beverage service student Colleen McCann and professional cookery student Lauren Beavers, join an illustrious list of NESTLÉ TOQUE D’OR® alumni including Anton Mosimann, with whom the team will spend time with enjoying a personalised work placement experience.
South West College took the top spot after a challenging four day Grand Final against teams from University College Birmingham, South Downs College, University of Derby, City of Glasgow College, Liverpool Community College, Blackpool and the Fylde College and the College of West Anglia, Kings Lynn.
Chairman of Judges, celebrity chef James Tanner, said: “The students are really thrown in at the deep end throughout the competition, faced with foreign products in an unfamiliar and often daunting environment. It takes a lot of guts to overcome the pressures, rise above them and make the most of the Grand Finals. South West College grasped the opportunity with both hands; they kept their cool throughout with a consistent performance, and really deserve huge congratulations.”
Speaking on the night, Colleen – who competed front of house for the team – said they were ‘delighted’ their hard work had paid off, adding: "We couldn’t believe it when we made it through to the finals, and winning the overall competition is just surreal – we simply can’t believe it!"
"We felt very far from home throughout the competition, but were determined to represent our college the very best we could. We worked hard as individuals and as a team and couldn’t be more proud to be the first team to lift the trophy as representatives of colleges in Ireland."
"We are now looking forward to spending some amazing time working with Anton Mosimann – it’s literally a dream come true."
This year changes to the format saw the students undertake the most varied and challenging set of hospitality and catering scenarios’ ever seen in the competition’s 25 year history.
Neil Stephens, Managing Director of NESTLÉ PROFESSIONAL® commented: "It’s impossible to underestimate the pressure that is on the students throughout the Grand Finals. Every year, the bar is raised higher and every year, the students rise to the challenge. What they achieve over the course of the competition is truly inspirational. I take my hat off to them and wish them every success in their future careers - judging by their collective performance in this year’s competition, they’re destined for great things."