Sam Roth, manager BA Lounges, BaxterStorey, has won the 2014 Acorn Scholarship following a two-day judging session at the Village Inn, Northallerton, yesterday.
The Acorn Scholarship, now in its 12th year, includes among its judges James Horler of 3Sixty Restaurants, William Baxter of BaxterStorey and Michael Caines of Brownsword Hotels.
The judges were impressed by the 25-year-old's commitment to mentoring. Roth, who is already a Springboard ambassador, talked about setting up a scheme that mirrors his own progression since leaving University College Birmingham where he obtained a First Class Honours degree in hospitality management.
With an ultimate goal to be CEO of his own foodservice business, Roth impressed the judges with his aim of working with the Acorn Scholarship to create a formalised, industry-wide mentoring scheme, with a database of ambassadors to nurture and guide students in the future. His journey has been supported by a succession of mentors including Stuart Johnson of Browns Hotel, London.
During the course of his year as an Acorn Scholar, Roth hopes to build on his career success, including project managing the payroll function for BaxterStorey in the media centre at the Olympics by working with entrepreneurial managers and gaining financial experience and extending his catering experience in all sectors of hospitality.
Horler said: "Roth is highly intelligent and has already proved his commitment to mentoring. The Acorn Scholarship can help him identify his next steps and help him put his plan into effect. He will be a great ambassador for the Acorn Scholarship."
The scholarship prize, valued at more than £7,000, includes a £2,000 bursary for professional development, £1,500 worth of Purple Cubed training, plus monthly coaching sessions with Purple Cubed managing director Jane Sunley, a trip to Villeroy & Boch in Luxembourg and a designated mentor to guide him through the year as a scholar.
Finalist Isabelle Habes, commis chef at the Parc Hotel by Thistle, was given a highly commended award for her sheer tenacity in pursuing a career as a chef.
The Acorn Scholarship is a self-nominated award and is open to individuals who are UK residents and able to work in the UK without restriction. Previous winners include Rob Hartwell of Peach Pubs, Joel Fagg of Puma Hotels and John Price, owner of the Village Inn and the first Acorn Scholarship 11 years ago. Sponsors included Villeroy & Boch, Unilever Food Solutions and the Dorchester Collection.