Sheffield’s winning young chefs in anxious wait

Emily Aizlewood, 20, Katy Whittle, 17, and Alice Cassinelli, 20, competed in the Nestl� Professional Toque dOr 2016 grand final.
Emily Aizlewood, 20, Katy Whittle, 17, and Alice Cassinelli, 20, competed in the Nestl� Professional Toque dOr 2016 grand final.

A trio of young chefs are among the cream of catering students, and that’s official.

Sheffield College trainees Emily Aizlewood, 20, Katy Whittle, 17, and Alice Cassinelli, 20, won through the rounds to compete in the Nestlé Professional Toque d’Or 2016 grand final.

But they have until June 24, when an awards ceremony takes place in London, to find out if they have won the prestigious competition.

Student Emily Aizlewood said: “I have learned the positive power of teamwork. When you’ve got three people who are good at what they do, then good becomes great!” She added: “Since starting college I’ve gone on to achieve so much. The knowledge and experience the lecturers have and pass on to the students is second to none.”

Six further education college teams from across the country got through to the grand final to take on challenges over two days set by leading industry figures.

These included catering for fine dining at a gala evening, menus for casual dining, perfecting a chocolate challenge dessert based on a Nestlé product and giving a nutrition presentation. Six teams were selected from 36 at regional heats. There were 156 entrants to the competition.

Heather Smith, Principal, The Sheffield College, said: “Our catering team has a national reputation and this is another fantastic achievement by our students, and thanks to the expert guidance of our highly skilled staff.” She added: “Working under pressure in a competitive environment prepares students for the world of work and boosts their employment prospects and industry connections.”

Team mentor Mick Burke, Deputy Head of Learning for Hospitality, Travel and Tourism at The Sheffield College, and a Fellow of the Master Chefs of Great Britain, said: “This tests attributes such as teamwork, performing to a brief under pressure and culinary skills. I am proud our students have got this far.”