Mateusz receiving the Toque d’Or Apprentice Competition award at The Dorchester Hotel in London.
Success in Nestlé Professional Toque d’Or
The first thing you learn on speaking with Mateusz, is how the experienced he gained during the Toque d’Or process far outweighs the glory of winning the competition. Humble, grateful, but primarily keen to learn, Apprentice Chef with Restaurants Associates Mateusz, barely mentions the title he won or the prizes he is set to receive, instead focussing on the confidence and new skills he has developed.
Mateusz’s participation in the Toque d’Or started simply enough with a YouTube application: entrants created a 90 second video of them cooking a chosen dish. A parmesan infused artichoke purée with morels, cabbage and feta cheese dish later and Mateusz found himself in the semi-final. After recreating this dish in judged, competition conditions Mateusz was then informed he would be joining five other apprentice chefs in the final.
“A lot of preparation went in to the semi-final; my head chef Adam stayed late with me, helping me think of new ways of approaching cooking,” Mateusz said. “We worked hard on perfecting that dish on time and to a good standard.”
With the semis successfully navigated, the final is really where the fun started. Spread over five days, Mateusz and the fellow finalists undertook a series of visits, tutorials and cooking challenges. From gaining a beginner’s wine tasting certification and recreating a famous restaurant brand’s dishes to serving a 150 cover, 3 course meal in The Gherkin building, London, the young chefs were put through their paces. It would take over a month to find out, but at an event at The Dorchester Hotel, Mateusz was named the winner!
Although he mentions them only when prompted, the prizes Mateusz will receive keep the brilliant experiences coming. Cooking at a prestigious racecourse, level 2 wine tasting and a week back in the Gherkin’s kitchen top the list.
It certainly seems a long way from when Mateusz joined Restaurant Associates, Compass Group UK & Ireland, as a kitchen porter 3 years ago. Given his chance in the kitchen by his head chef, he joined the Compass apprentice programme (Chef Academy) two years ago and hasn’t looked back.
“The Chef Academy has given me a lot; I have been able to develop my skills and gain a qualification while earning. But most of all it gave me a chance to explore my aspirations in cooking. I would recommend a culinary apprenticeship to anyone considering a career as a chef.”
About Nestlé Professional® Toque d’Or®
At Nestlé Professional® we believe professional culinary challenges are a vital part of any apprentice’s training.
So much more than a competition, Toque d’Or® provides real life challenges that inform, test and push both students and apprentices in the most exciting ways. By linking education with industry, Toque d’Or presents a series of unique experiences which bridge the gap between the classroom and exciting reality of industry.
Open to apprentices at commis level, Toque d’Or is designed to provide ample opportunities for entrants to interact and network with judges, experts and industry partners as well as explore different avenues within the hospitality industry.
Visit www.nestleprofessional.co.uk/about-us/toque-dor for additional information.