Rebecca Dibben, restaurant supervisor of the Deseo Mediterranean restaurant at the Gleneagles hotel in Auchterarder, has been named as the winner of the inaugural Gold Service Scholarship, at an awards ceremony held at London's Claridge's hotel last night.
Dibben, (pictured with Alistair Storey, chief executive of BaxterStorey - sponsors of the awards) who will now go on to be mentored for 12 months by some of the industry's leading service specialists, was declared the winner after spending the day competing in the national final at Westminster Kingsway College.
She and the five other finalists had to show off their service skills to judges and invited guests at a three-course lunch. Each finalist served a table of four guests and were responsible for mise en place, decanting, greeting guests, and the food and wine service. They were judged on their general demeanor, engagement with the guests and level of professionalism.
Willy Bauer, one of the judges and founders of the Gold Service Scholarship and chairman of AB Hotels, told the reception at Claridge's that he had been encouraged to launch the scholarship by many front-of-house professionals and industry colleagues all over the country.
He also said that the award "was the chance to inspire and encourage home grown young people to join our great industry that offers so many opportunities worldwide and jobs for life for well-trained people."
It is expected that some of the establishments where Dibben will now spend time training will include Le Gavroche with Emmanuel Landre and Silvano Giraldon and Buckingham Palace with Edward Griffiths. She will also do an overseas stage, courtesy of Mandarin Oriental Hotels.