WorldChefs President NZ Bound

Thursday, June 8, 2017

The President of WorldChefs Thomas Gugler is set to make a trip down under in July to attend the NZ Hospitality Championships and judge at Nestlé Toque d’Or.

Thomas Gugler

Appointed as President at last year’s WorldChefs Congress in Greece, it will be Thomas’ first visit to New Zealand.

The acclaimed German chef has decades of experience judging culinary competitions around the world. He is a certified Executive Master Chef and has won hundreds of medals and awards from international cooking competitions globally. He currently works as the Corporate Director of Kitchens for AFS (Arabian Food Supplies) Naghi Group.

Thomas joins an elite group of chefs and industry experts who have been drafted to judge at this year’s Nestlé Toque d’Or competition.

NZChefs National President and event organiser, Graham Hawkes, said it will be a great honour to host the world renown chef in Auckland.

“The depth of culinary knowledge he has is nothing short of extraordinary. We are extremely privileged to have him visit here and secure his involvement as a judge at Nestlé Toque d’Or,” Graham said.

Now in its 27th year, Nestlé Toque d’Or is one of the most anticipated events of the year for the hospitality industry.

“It’s a student culinary competition like no other that showcases our country’s brightest young culinary and restaurant service talent. Every year, the event shifts up a notch as the students manage to bring something new and exciting to the table impressing the judges with their clever techniques and menus.”

Drawn from the country’s leading culinary arts institutes, the students are the best in their fields. Each team consists of one restaurant service and two culinary students. At the event, they must prepare and serve six covers of a three-course meal that they have perfected in the months leading up to the competition. They have just two-and-a-half-hours to complete the service.

“While competing at the event is an honour in itself, this year’s competitors will have an added extra dimension as they get to showcase their skills in front of Thomas Gugler.

“While the competition is fierce and nerves are frayed by the end of the day, the winning team will be rewarded with one of the country’s top culinary honours. The event also opens doors to incredible career opportunities for all of the students.”

This year’s judges are:

Thomas Gugler

President of WorldChefs

Darren Wright

Chef Owner at Chillingworth Rd

Chetan Pangam

Executive Chef Copthorne Hotel Oriental Bay

Jinu Abraham

Executive Chef CPG Hotel Group

Nancye Pirini

Executive Chef Novotel Auckland Airport

Damian Peeti

Cookery Lecturer at UCOL Whanganui

Richard Hingston

Head Chef Christchurch Casino

MacLean Fraser

Artisan Restaurant at the Bolton Hotel

Ganesh Khedekar

LSG SkyChefs

Janine Quaid

Renard Group

John Snowball

Tutor Cook Islands Tertiary Institute

Amanda Turner

Hospitality Tutor Northtec

Tony Stewart

Owner/Manager of Clooney Restaurant


They will assess competitors against WorldChefs judging criteria which covers a range of areas including: timing, taste, food preparation skills, service, presentation and hygiene.

“The pressure is on throughout the event and the students know that they have to get it right or else valuable points will be lost.”

Graham said post event feedback from the judges is an important part of the competition.

“It’s not often that students receive such important feedback from highly experienced and acclaimed chefs including a world leading expert like Thomas Gugler.”

The 27th Nestlé Toque d’Or will be held on Thursday 27 July 2017 at the Auckland Showgrounds. An awards dinner will be held later in the evening at the Heritage Auckland where the winning team will be announced.

Sponsors of this year’s event are: Nestlé Professional, Beef + Lamb New Zealand,, Akaroa Salmon, House of Knives and Moffat.