Sheffield College students compete in Nestlé Toque d’Or national heats

23rd April 2021

Sheffield College students made the national shortlist of rising industry talent to compete in the Nestlé Toque d’Or virtual cooking challenge this month.

Five catering and hospitality students at the College’s City Campus, on Granville Road, took part in the heats involving 112 competitors on April 15th, 2021.

Kathryn Hastings, 18, and Oliver Herrington, 20, from the College’s MSK Cookery Academy, took part in the back of house category, and Jessica Nicholson, 16, Ruby Osborn, 17, and Eric Schofield, 17, competed in the front of house category.

This year’s prestigious Nestlé Toque d’Or saw a record-breaking 956 entries from 40 colleges and 40 businesses. The finalists will be announced on April 30th, 2021.

Len Unwin, Curriculum Team Leader for Catering and Hospitality, and Chef Lecturer, The Sheffield College, said: “This is one of the most prestigious competitions in the catering industry calendar that really tests knowledge and skills under pressure.”

He added: “It’s a brilliant experience for our students and prepares them to go further in their careers. I’m really proud that five students got through to the heats shortlist.”

Back of house competitors had to create their own vegetarian sauce to accompany a gnocchi dish and demonstrate why it is vegetarian, nutritional, and sustainable.  Front of house competitors were required to create a non-alcoholic, mixed drink based on a high-quality Jasmine green tea.

Student Ruby Osborn said: "It’s amazing to take part in this competition, which has been a great boost for my confidence and provided an exciting opportunity to show what I can do. I love to experiment with new flavours and mouth-watering mixes.”

Student Jessica Nicholson, who is completing a BTEC Level 3 in Hospitality and Events Management, added: "The competition has helped me use the knowledge I have learned in the classroom and apply it to practical situations.”

She explained: “It has pushed me out of my comfort zone and I have learned a lot. Over the past year, most of my lessons have been online due to the pandemic. Although these have run smoothly, I am excited to be back in the classroom!”

Student Kathryn Hastings, who is completing Level 3 Diploma in Advanced Professional Cookery and aspires to run her own bar or restaurant, commented: “The Nestlé Toque d’Or has taught me to look into a dish’s nutritional value, and given me more experience in the skills I've gained in class by applying those to a competition.”

With the increasing importance of the role of digital in the industry, all competitors were asked to bring their dishes and drinks to life via a digital challenge - creating a video, series of stories and a post to present and promote their culinary creations.

The MSK Cookery Academy is one of the College’s 15 employer skills academies.

The award-winning programme launched in 2019/20 as part of wider moves to equip students with the qualifications and skills that employers need. Backed by 13 employers, the programme has received Association of Colleges Beacon Awards’ 2021 commended status.

For more information, about the Nestlé Toque d’Or competition, visit Follow @NestleToquedor

For more information about courses starting in September 2021, please visit or call 0114 2602600.

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