Nestlé Professional crowns 2024 Toque d'Or® winners

The winners of the 36th annual Toque d'Or® hospitality competition have been announced, following an awards ceremony held at Church House in Westminster last week (Friday 7 June). 

The event, organised by Nestlé Professional, culminated in Grand Finals Week held from 21–25 April. Having been put through their paces, Geraldine Sierra Torres from Westminster Kingsway College and Jasmine Ferdinando from York College, have been crowned the 2024 champions. 

Grand Finals Week

This year's Grand Finals comprised a series of challenges focused on sustainability, covering topics such as food provenance, regenerative agriculture and how hospitality plays an important role in supporting communities. Every day presented an opportunity for the 12 finalists to showcase their skills, creativity and passion, from curating menus using sustainably sourced ingredients and engaging in food foraging activities, to delving into the principles of sustainable farming and production.

Competitors received guidance and expertise from a distinguished panel of judges. Chef Tommy Banks spearheaded the back-of-house (BOH) judging panel alongside his culinary partner Tom Bell and Nestlé's global executive chef Emmanuel Lorieux. For front-of-house (FOH), the judging panel was led by winner of the 2023 Gold Service Scholarship and footman at The Royal Household, Jupiter Humphrey-Bishop, along with Nestlé Professional’s master barista Christos Sotiros, Nespresso customer service manager Vincenzo D’Aniello, and cocktail expert Nicolas Medicamento.

This year’s Grand Finals Week was hosted at various locations, with the Fine Dining Challenge taking place at D&D London’s ‘Blueprint’ on the south bank of the River Thames. 

"It was an absolute pleasure to collaborate with the finalists throughout what was a transformative, week-long learning experience," says Banks. "Witnessing their dedication and creativity during the Fine Dining Challenge was truly inspiring. As they move forward beyond the competition, I have every confidence that they will continue to flourish and make significant contributions to the hospitality industry."

This year’s winners, Geraldine and Jasmine – the respective BOH and FOH winners – are now set to embark on a journey to Switzerland, immersing themselves in Nestlé's rich heritage and Swiss traditions. This once-in-a-lifetime trip will include visits to the Nestlé headquarters, where they will learn more about culinary arts and sustainability in a masterclass with Nestlé Professional global executive chef, Emmanuel Lorieux; experience a hands-on training day with Nestlé Professional’s master barista Christos Sotiros at the Nestlé Beverage Centre in Orbe; receive a special tour of the renowned Nestlé chocolate factory; and visit some of the best food and drink destinations Switzerland has to offer, in what is set to be an unforgettable culinary journey.

"While I’m incredibly proud of my achievement, I think all of the finalists are deserving champions," says Torres. "As a group, we’ve spent so much time together and created some amazing memories. It’s great to have made so many friends. I want to thank everyone involved in making this competition so special; I’ve been able to grow so much both from a personal and professional perspective."

Ferdinando adds: "I know it sounds like a cliche, but when I first entered the competition, I never thought I would get this far. I’m so grateful to have had this opportunity, to meet so many amazing people and to develop great friendships along the way."

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