Two Michelin-star chef Tommy Banks shares his top tips ahead of highly-anticipated Toque d’Or Grand Finals

There are just days to go until the Grand Finals of Nestlé Professional’s prestigious Toque d’Or competition. And award-winning chef and judge, Tommy Banks, has offered last-minute advice for the 12 budding chefs and restaurateurs competing for the grand prize.

As the finalists prepare to go head-to-head, Tommy shares his five top tips to help them excel under pressure and make the most of the transformative, week-long experience:

  1. Stay organised and focused: “First and foremost it’s all about maintaining your composure. And nothing helps more than staying organised and focused on the job at hand. Remember to stick to your usual methods and stay disciplined, while always taking a moment to think through your approach. This time you invest will pay off in your work.”
  2. Soak up the experience: “Toque d’Or opens doors to extraordinary experiences and expert mentoring. Whether you win or not, there will be so many learnings that help you come out of this experience stronger. And you will gain so much experience, that I can promise, so it’s a ‘win-win’ situation.”
  3. Demonstrate your passion and determination: “It’s what stands you out from the crowd. And in our dynamic industry, a good work ethic and a positive attitude really does make a huge difference. But don’t ever forget to be your true authentic self – your personality is what makes you unique and it’s what sets great chefs and restaurateurs apart.”
  4. Embrace the networking opportunities: “While you might have to step outside of your comfort zone, the competition offers fantastic opportunities to meet new people. This is a rare opportunity, so seize it by networking with your fellow contestants and judges. You never know, these connections can become invaluable as you advance in your career.”
  5. Enjoy and take care of yourself: “Most importantly, enjoy yourself. Although finals week will be nerve-wracking, especially the Fine Dining Challenge, the experience of doing a good job and putting smiles onto people’s faces makes you feel great. That’s what is unique about hospitality – so don’t forget that and be present in those moments. It’s also just as much about self-care. So prepare as much as you can to ease the nerves and ensure you get plenty of rest and sleep in-between the challenges. It can work wonders for performance!”


The Finals will comprise a series of action-packed challenges built around the competition’s overarching theme of sustainability, covering topics such as locally sourced produce, regenerative agriculture and how hospitality plays an important role in supporting communities. Competitors will get the opportunity to hone their skills while exploring the latest culinary trends and learning about farm-to-fork dining.

Joining Tommy on the judging panel for Finals Week will be winner of the 2023 Gold Service Scholarship and footman at The Royal Household, Jupiter Humphrey-Bishop. The Finals will also comprise a mix of judges from Nestlé Professional and former Toque d’Or competitors – both finalists and winners – providing a platform for them to continue to develop their knowledge and also pass on their advice to this year’s competitors.

For more information about the competition, please click here.