Toque d’Or 2019 winners announced

The University College Birmingham winners with Katya Simmons, managing director, Nestlé Professional
18/06/2019 - 06:00
Nestlé Professional has announced the winners of its Toque d’Or 2019 competition as University College Birmingham and apprentice Drew Dawson from 5 Star Hotel and members’ club The Ned.

It is the fifth time University College Birmingham has won the college accolade since 2010, most recently picking up the title in 2017.

The winners were revealed at an awards lunch at the Royal Lancaster London on Friday 14 June, in a ceremony hosted by Mark Durden Smith and Angellica Bell.

The winners had been left in suspense following a four-day Grand Final held at the beginning of May. The 12 college and apprentice grand finalists experienced the ‘true breadth’ of the industry with challenges including:

  • Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Level One training (and exam) at English vineyard Denbies, followed by wine tasting and a tour of the vineyards and wine cellars
  • Shifts under the eye of chef James Tanner at 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&I, 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.”

Yasmine Selwood from from the winning University College Birmingham said: “I’m a mother of four, and an older student and this competition has proved that I can do anything I put my mind to. There really is no limit to what you can achieve. The secret is believing in yourself and being open to new opportunities when they arise.”

With over 400 registrations, this year’s competition received ‘record’ levels of interest and focused on sustainable futures.

Apprentice winner, Drew Dawson from The Ned added: “I’m absolutely over the moon! It’s an experience of a lifetime and I’m so lucky to have been given this opportunity.

“Competitions like this show just how supportive the industry is, giving young people the opportunity to do great things.

“I think the best part of the competition was meeting the farmers and really understanding the supply chain and how everything fits together.”

The Toque d’Or 2019 finalists included:


  • University College Birmingham (winners)
  • City of Glasgow College
  • Southern Regional College
  • University of Derby
  • Westminster Kingsway


  • Drew Dawson, The Ned (winner)
  • Dmitri Zihharko, Connect Catering
  • Megan Baldock, BaxterStorey at Goldman Sachs
  • Kathleen Davie, Upper Shirley High
  • Jack Baldwin, The Bruce Arms
  • Lily Stock, Boodles

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