Gloucestershire College is delighted to announce that three of its catering students have reached the grand final of the prestigious Nestlé Torque d’Or competition; one of just six teams through out of the 36 that competed in the regional heats last month.

18-year-old Toby Darmody from Ross-on-Wye, 19-year-old Shannon Byrne from Lydney, and 22-year-old William Wood from Westbury-on-Severn, who all study Level 3 Professional Diploma in Catering at the Royal Forest of Dean Campus, are following in the footsteps of some of industry’s finest chefs, including Jamie Oliver, James Martin and Anton Mosimann, all of whom were previous competitors.

After sailing through the first stage of the competition, which saw the team complete a paper entry, testing their theory knowledge, and respond to a topical industry question on nutrition, health and wellness, the 156 teams from 65 UK colleges were whittled down to just 36, who attended masterclasses and wine tastings hosted by Nestlé Professional Chef Andrej Prokes. The GC students competed in the final heat at Westminster College Kingsway.

Each team then had to recreate and serve the three-course fine dining lunch, demonstrated for ten covers, which included a starter of salmon on a purée of broccoli with chargrilled baby gem lettuce and lightly picked vegetables; a main of pot-roasted guinea fowl with root vegetables, rosettes of curly kale, hasselback potatoes and a red wine jus; and dessert of chocolate and lime mousse with lime curd, sesame cream and crumble, and dark chocolate ganache.

Established in 1989, the competition is one of the toughest catering competitions for college students and the only one of its kind to help bridge the gap between the theories in the classroom and the reality of the industry.

Lecturer, Tina Roberts said: “I am extremely proud of the students’ achievement and excited for the experience they will have competing at the final and the challenges ahead of them. All three students demonstrated brilliant skill, teamwork, commitment, dedication and hard work.

“Not only does the competition provide an opportunity for excellent work experience and employment opportunities, but they also got to meet and learn from some aspirational master chefs.”

The grand final will be held over four days in March at the Rashleighs Business Centre in Maidenhead, and incorporate a range of real life challenges to test the teams on all aspects of the hospitality industry. The winning team will be announced at an awards ceremony in April.

All finalist teams win £1,000 towards catering equipment for their college, while the winning team is awarded £2,000 towards equipment.

For more information about catering courses available in Cheltenham and the Forest of Dean, visit or call Student Services on 0345 155 2020.