The Yorkshire home of Dutch Barn Orchard Vodka, Ellers Farm Distillery, today hosted one of the Grand Finals challenges of Nestlé Professional’s 35th annual Toque d’Or Competition, alongside French gourmet syrup producers, MONIN.
The challenge – which took the form of a Dutch Barn Orchard Vodka-based cocktail-making competition flavoured with exotic flavours from Brazil featuring Le Fruit de MONIN Jabuticaba – saw Amber Clay from Gloucestershire and Chloe Collinwood from Cardiff, crowned winners of this Grand Finals challenge.
The prestigious Toque d’Or competition aims to educate and test college students in both practical, service-based and business-focused tasks, with a focus on providing up-to-the-minute industry expertise and experience. Entrants learn key skills in areas such as social media promotion, business management and sustainability. Not only do these challenges provide valuable hands-on experiences, but they also offer the opportunity to work with and learn from leading industry experts and businesses.
Award-winning Dutch Barn Orchard Vodka is an innovative vodka distilled from British apples, with a focus on making planet-friendly choices in every aspect of the production process, making it the perfect partner for this challenge as part of this year’s Toque d’Or Competition.
Jamie Baggott, Master Distiller at Ellers Farm Distillery, commented: “It was an honour to work alongside Nestlé Professional and Monin as part of this year’s Toque d’Or Competition. Here at Dutch Barn Orchard Vodka we are passionate about innovation, so it was such a fantastic experience to welcome this year’s competitors to the farm to teach them all about our brand and to see their incredible cocktail creations. The win was very well deserved, and we wish all the finalists the best of luck in their hospitality careers.”
The cocktail final saw 12 competitors travel to Ellers Farm Distillery in North Yorkshire and pair up to create a cocktail using Dutch Barn Orchard Vodka and MONIN’s Jabuticaba fruit mix – an exotic fruity flavour from the forests of Brazil. The winning cocktail was created by Front-of-House and Back-of-House pair Amber Clay and Chloe Collinwood, who mixed together Dutch Barn Orchard Vodka, MONIN’s Jabuticaba fruit mix, Pineapple, Cloudy Lemon Juice, Chilli, Mint & Pepper to create the ‘Jabuty Kick’.
This was the last round of the finals before the Grand Finale later today, and the announcement of the winners at an exclusive awards ceremony on Friday 30th June 2023.
Dutch Barn Orchard Vodka and MONIN will gift the two Toque d’Or winners a joint two-day experience, where they will return to Ellers Farm to create their very own spirit to be bottled and labelled, alongside the brand’s Master Distiller Jamie Baggott. They will then visit MONIN’s London showroom for an exclusive masterclass with MONIN’s Beverage Expert Jess Munro, where they will have the opportunity to create cocktails using their spirit and their choice of 150 MONIN flavours.
This is in addition to Toque d’Or’s main prize – a once-in-a-lifetime culinary trip to Brazil, where the winners can discover Brazil’s eclectic gastronomy from high-end fine dining, through to street food, and learn about sustainability on a bean-to-cup journey.
In its 35th year, the Toque d’Or competition aimed to focus on how provenance is being pushed in new and progressive directions, including the sustainable sourcing and seasonality of ingredients, farm to fork, bean to cup, and beyond. This year’s competition asked competitors to push their own boundaries in the sustainability sector, a theme which pairs perfectly with Dutch Barn Orchard Vodka’s planet-friendly approach to making vodka.
Offering drinkers the opportunity to rediscover vodka, Dutch Barn Orchard Vodka is a flawless and exceptionally smooth vodka, with a mission to showcase the quality and versatility of the liquid. Proud to offer an innovative vodka that is paving the way for a new gold-standard in vodka production, Dutch Barn Orchard Vodka is tasted every 20 minutes during the unique distillation process and is committed to making planet-friendly choices in every step of the creation of its liquid, having been carbon neutral since day one.
Speaking on the event, Camila Cabral, Strategic Partnerships & Events Planning Lead at Nestlé Professional, said: “We’re thrilled to have collaborated with Ellers Farm Distillery and MONIN for this year’s cocktail challenge during the Toque d’Or Grand Finals. Showcasing the fusion of culinary innovation and sustainable practice, this event demonstrated just how talented, passionate and creative this year’s finalists are. We are grateful to all of our partners for supporting the competition to help create an unforgettable experience for the students.”
Jess Munro, MONIN Beverage Expert, commented: “What a fabulous experience! The finalists were superb; the level of passion, enthusiasm and skill on display was incredibly exciting to see. Everyone at MONIN is passionate about helping talented young individuals make their mark on the industry. It was a pleasure to work with the Toque d’Or and Dutch Barn Orchard Vodka teams to nurture the next generation of hospitality professionals, and support youth employment in the industry.”