Three young winners of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Annual Awards of Excellence (AAE) 2013 have been recognised further following a gala dinner at London’s Royal Horseguards hotel last night.
Matthew Ambrose from Claridge’s was named Young Chef of the Year, Lucy Jones from the Ritz took the Young Pastry Chef of the Year title, while the Young Waiter of the Year award went to Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons’ Adam Willis.
The three award winners scored the highest marks in each of their respective categories of the competition. Meanwhile, Ambrose’s success means he will take the remaining position in the final of the Craft Guild of Chefs’ Young National Chef of the Year competition taking place at the Restaurant Show in London in October.
The AAE is one of the most prestigious awards available to young people in the hospitality industry, recognising and encouraging the most talented up and coming chefs, pastry chefs and waiters. It is the only award to cover all three categories of kitchen, pastry and service. Since it began in 1983, almost 400 young people have achieved the award, setting them off on highly successful career paths.
The kitchen finalists had four-and-a-half hours to produce a pasta and crayfish starter using ingredients from a mystery box which included a whole baked turbot on the bone, Jersey royal potatoes and fresh asparagus, as well as create a modern interpretation of a floating island.
Meanwhile, the pastry finalists had to produce a modernised sacher torte decorated with elaborate tempered chocolate work, a chocolate stand on which they had to present their sacher torte, petits fours and a savoury quiche, over a period of five and a half hours.
In the service final, the candidates were required to decant and describe wines to the judging panel, as well as set up and serve a three-course meal with wines and liqueurs to a table of two guest judges.
Judges for the awards, which recognised 33 candidates, included AAE honorary president Heston Blumenthal, AAE chairman John Williams, executive chef of the Ritz, Martyn Nail of Claridge’s, Adam Byatt of Trinity in London, Westminster Kingsway pastry lecturer Yolande Stanley, Sergio Rebecci of Chez Nico Restaurants and John Cousins of The Food and Beverage Training Company.
The winners in full:
Matthew Ambrose, Claridge’s
Josh Bingham, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons
Sven-Hanson Britt, The Ritz London
Sophie Fenlon, Trinity Restaurant
William Gordon, Odette’s Restaurant
Andrew Newbon, Claridge’s
Clare Fletcher, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons
Lucy Jones, the Ritz London
Matthew Jones, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons
Shaun Mason, the Royal Household
Brynley Phipps, William Curley
Denver Schroffner, the Arts Club
Nicole Waefler, William Curley
Zhaokun Xu, Savoy
Alexander Austin, Lucknam Park Hotel
Christoph Bodnar, Turnberry Resort
Charles Carron Brown, the Ritz London
Hugo Clavaud, Le Gavroche
Rebecca Dibben, Gleneagles
Connor Donaldson, Gleneagles
Caitlin Flannighan, Turnberry Resort
Alba Moure Torres, Turnberry Resort
Matteo Paroni, Le Gavroche
Sarah Plowman, Clock Tower at Rudding Park
Stephanie Robertson, Roux at Parliament Square
Ben Robinson, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons
Hugo Santos, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
Kim Siekmann, Gleneagles
Sarah Stegfellner, Kitchen W8
Manuel Tempesta, Le Gavroche
Seana Tully, Gleneagles
Adam Willis, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons
Milda Zolubaite, Le Gavroche
Craft Guild of Chefs names last Young National Chef of the Year finalist >>