The 25 regional finalists of the inaugural Gold Service Scholarship, a new front-of-house competition designed to promote excellence in restaurant service, have been announced.
A front-of-house equivalent to the prestigious Roux Scholarship, the Gold Service Scholarship is open to restaurant service staff from all areas of the of the hospitality industry aged between 22 and 30 years old. It is run in association with the Academy of Culinary Arts and the Academy of Food and Wine Service, and backed by BaxterStorey.
Following an initial online test of multiple choice questions and photo analysis, judges including industry luminaries such as Willy Bauer, Fred Sirieix and Silvano Giraldin have chosen the regional finalists.
Selected from more than 100 entries, the 25 regional finalists include seven women, three from pubs and two from university catering, while more than half are from establishments outside of London.
The contestants will compete at two regional finals held at University College in Birmingham on 11 January and at the University of West London on 15 January, where they will be asked to complete a series of practical tests in front of judges.
A group of six finalists will then receive a one-day masterclass from the mentors, before being asked to serve judges and invited guests at a special lunch during the competition's final next February.
The Gold Service Scholar will receive an unrivalled one-year mentoring programme, including one-on-one sessions with the scholarship's elite group of mentors as well as educational trips and stages at restaurants and hotels both in the UK and internationally.
Industry heavyweights including Emmanuel Landre, general manager at Le Gavroche, Jesus Adorno, director at Le Caprice, and Edward Griffiths, deputy master of the household at Buckingham Palace, have all pledged their support for the competition.
Danielle Thomson, general manager at Scott's, added: "It's great to see over a quarter of the finalists are female. This can be a tough business but it is so rewarding. I'm looking forward to meeting everyone at the next stage - technical skills can be learnt but it's their demeanour and approach with people that will make the difference to me."
The regional finalists are:
Marco Adreani - the Pass restaurant, South Lodge Hotel - chef de rang
Matthew Balman Lower Slaughter Manor- restaurant manager
Jenna Beech University of Birmingham - assistant manager
Emma Bell Keele University - catering supervisor
Niall Burns Hastings Hotels, trainee manager
Robert Clark the Doric - assistant manager
Frances Grace Croly the Sportsman - trainee assistant manager
Romain Crozat Galvin at Windows - sommelier
Daniel Crump Restaurant Gordon Ramsay - chef de rang
Ivo De Beus Claridge's Hotel - bartender
Rebecca Dibben Gleneagles Hotel, restaurant supervisor
Hayri Dogan the Rib Room - senior waiter
Stuart Dolby Ockenden Manor Hotel - assistant restaurant manager
Steven Driscoll the Berkeley - graduate trainee food and beverage
James Fleming Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons - chef de rang
Devid Isabella the Ritz - asst restaurant manager
Jonathan Kent the Savoy - back of house supervisor
Stuart McIvor Galvin at Windows - head waiter
Wojciech Pastor the Gleneagles hotel - head waiter
Ben Robinson Le Manoir aux Qaut'Saisons - sommelier de rang
Pawel Skrzpinski Hogarth's Hotel, Dorridge - fine dining assistant manager
Stephanie Srey Galvin at Windows - chef de rang
Katharina Stritzelberger Galvin at Windows
Amelia Thornhill the Bell at Fetcham - restaurant manager
Sam Ward L'Enclume - restaurant manager
By Kerstin KÁ¼hn
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