Student chef Sarah wins prestigious culinary competition

Student chef Sarah wins prestigious culinary competition

New City College chef, Sarah Morton, has beaten hundreds of other students across the country to win her category of the prestigious Nestlé Professional Toque d’Or culinary competition 2021.

Almost 1,000 entrants were whittled down to just four champions – Front of House Apprentice/Young Professional, Front of House Student, Back of House Apprentice/Young Professional, and Back of House Student.

Following a gruelling week of challenges at Nestlé HQ in Gatwick, Sarah claimed top spot for Back of House Student.

Part of this year’s competition involved the student writing a biography about themselves and their culinary journey, as well as explaining their food in detail and the steps required to recreate their dishes so that it could be included in the first ever Toque d’Or recipe book, ‘Taste the Future’.

Julie Jones, 2008 Toque d’Or winner and author said: “Sarah added humour and nostalgia. Her personality shone from the page, she went the extra mile and it just came across so well. I was very impressed with Sarah.”

The final challenge of the week was to create four plates of both a main course and dessert in just 3.5 hours.

The chefs created their dishes in the kitchen under the watchful eye of judge Louisa Ellis, 2020 Winner, MasterChef the Professional Rematch, who said: “The most difficult part today will be the time pressure. They’re in a different kitchen, they’re not used to the environment they’re working in. So, it’s a real challenge for them and it will be really interesting to see how they adapt.”

Each finalist chef was paired with front of house finalist, who had their own drinks challenge to complete, as well as serving the food.

Sarah’s main course of Mackerel and Rhubarb was inspired by her childhood  – fishing for mackerel with her Dad on Dover Pier and growing rhubarb in the family garden. Sarah admits this is not a traditional pairing but wanted to use wonderful British ingredients that work well together.

Her fabulous dish was described as: A pan-fried mackerel with a herb crumb, mackerel ceviche, pickled rhubarb, rhubarb puree, potato, apple and chive salad, chive oil and cucumber ribbons.

Judge Louisa said: “I really enjoyed her flavour combinations, mackerel and rhubarb. Wow, delicious!”

Sarah’s dessert was strawberries and cream, which sounds simple and traditional enough, but it’s not strawberries and cream as we know it! A crème fraîche panna cotta with strawberry consommé, roasted strawberries with black pepper, honeycomb, a strawberry tuille and a strawberry and mint salad.

Sarah said: I really didn’t go into the competition expecting to win. I just thought it would be a good opportunity to learn and grow, so to actually win feels quite surreal! It was an all-round great experience to be exposed to different parts of the industry and to get to know my fellow competitors. I couldn’t have done it without my tutor at New City College, Jeff Mason, and all the support he’s given me throughout. It feels like a great way to finish my Level Three in professional cookery.“ 

Tutor Jeff Mason said: “Sarah embraced this competition fully and was committed to completing each challenge to the highest standard. She demonstrated an excellent attitude and professionalism throughout, deserving the accolade of Toque d’Or Student Winner. I am sure as result she will continue to be an inspiration to our young chefs starting their culinary journey.” 

Are you a star of the future but unsure of your next step? If you’re looking to retrain and upskill, look no further than New City College.

Enrol with us today!

New City College chef, Sarah Morton, has beaten hundreds of other students across the country to win her category of the prestigious Nestlé Professional Toque d'Or culinary competition 2021.