Tue 9 Aug 2016

Silver Service

WITT’s hospitality school has produced more medal winners at the prestigious Nestle Professional Toque d’Or competition in Auckland.

Having won the supreme prize for the first time last year, WITT returned to finish second by a whisker last weekend.

The event pitches teams of three – two chefs and one member working at the front of house – against each other. There are also separate competitions for individuals.

Tutor Alex Dickie said the quality of the competition – eventually won by WITT’s neighbour UCOL, was so high that any one of six teams could have collected the supreme title. He said it was a further measure of the quality of the hospitality schools at WITT and UCOL that they finished second and first in a field containing teams from the country’s biggest tertiary education providers. Waiariki Polytechnic finished third.

WITT’s team comprised two international students, Tom Simon and Omkar Kulkarnie, and Cassandra Hancock.

The trio had prepared for the event for several months and excelled in two warm-up events, the Hawke’s Bay Regional Salon Culinaire and regional competitions at WITT in June.

“They were training up to four times a week while continuing their studies, and I just couldn’t fault their work in Auckland where they were up against some people who are already working professionally in the industry,” Alex Dickie said.

WITT’s other entrants, Chef Mannie Anglesey and Barrie Williams, who worked front of house, also came home with gold medals.

The Toque d’Or teams were challenged to produce three course meals making liberal use of the sponsor’s products. The WITT team’s entrée was fillet of Akaroa salmon prepared three ways, the main featured oven roasted New Zealand beef sirloin and dessert was centred on a chocolate mousse.

The full menu presentation was: Petite salad: Chotto Salad; Entrée: Trio of Akaroa Salmon; Main:  Duo of New Zealand Beef; Dessert:  Nestlé Docello Chocolate and Raspberry Mille Feuille.

The team was required to create six covers of each course, three of which were served to diners by Cassandra Hancock.  She also had to serve a petit salad to her diners showcasing silver service skills, serve two matched beverages, as well as water and coffee, and wow the judges with her customer service skills. Witt’s kitchen and restaurant service were both rewarded with silver medals.

The Toque d’Or team was trained by Alex Dickie (kitchen) and Kristin McCormack (front of house and overall team manager),   Nicky Findlay (trainer/mentor for Barrie Williams) and Andrew Brooking (trainer/mentor for Barrie Anglesey).

Kristin McCormack said a lot of training goes into these events.

“We all have to give up a lot of our time, but it is definitely worth it for the students, and great to see them succeed.’’

Picture:  Omkar Kulkarni, pictured in action during last weekend’s event.