Lily Stock, Nestlé Toque d'Or 2020 Back of house – apprentice winner
What do you currently do?
I am currently working as the pastry chef at a brand-new restaurant, The Pumproom. I have been here since last October, helping set the restaurant up and planning and designing the menu for our opening on 14th April.
During lockdown I also set up my own bespoke cakes and private home fine dining business, which has been extremely successful and has kept me very busy this past year. I have been able to create new dishes and progress my culinary skills.
Why do you want to work in foodservice?
Cooking has always been a passion of mine; for as long as I can remember I have been in the kitchen, from helping make dinner when I was very young to where I am now. I have always been interested in art and this is something I use in my cooking, being creative with flavours, as well as the design of the finished plate. This experimentation and wide range of possibilities is why I love cooking.
How did you come to enter Toque dor?
When I was at still college I was entering a lot of competitions to gain more confidence and different experiences. I came across the Nestlé Professional Toque d’Or competition and loved the ethos and ideas, of sustainability and highlighting local produce, behind it.
What did you have to do when entering?
The brief for the entry was to make a vegan dish using local, seasonal produce, which really intrigued me. Being vegetarian myself, I think it’s something that the industry lacks knowledge on. Being able to see everyone’s creative and unusual dishes was amazing!
How did it feel when you found out you had won?
This was my second time being in the final of the competition, so to win was a big achievement. I felt a big rush of relief that my hard work had finally paid off… and just a feeling of being overwhelmed!
How do you see your career developing? What is your biggest ambition?
I hope to go travelling next year to experience different cultures’ ways of cooking and new flavours, broadening my knowledge and how to incorporate new ingredients into my cooking. I would then want to come back home and one day open my own restaurant, using all the inspiration from my travels and previous work. I would love to enter master MasterChef next year, to really test myself and see how far I could go in the competition.