The Royal Academy of Culinary Arts has announced the names of the 23 winners of the Annual Awards of Excellence (AAE) 2017.
The AAE recognise the skills of young chefs, pastry chefs and waiters and encourage them to achieve the highest possible standards in their chosen profession. Since it began in 1983, more than 550 young professionals have achieved the award.
The AAE is not a competition but an examination, and all or none of the candidates could achieve the award depending on their ability to score at least 70% in the judging. In addition, the candidate scoring the most marks in their section is named the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Young Chef, Young Pastry Chef or Young Waiter 2017.
The winners will be presented with their awards at a gala dinner at the Rosewood London hotel on 14 July, as well as a diploma, a chef’s jacket (kitchen and pastry) from Continental Chef Supplies or lapel pin (service), and a magnum of Laurent-Perrier Champagne.
The candidate who has scored the highest mark in each section will be announced at the dinner and presented with prizes including a scholarship from the Savoy Educational Trust, MAC knives and cookware from Continental Chef Supplies, an engraved silver trophy and a day’s work experience at Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck restaurant.
In the exam, the tasks were set by a panel of judges chaired by John Williams, executive chef at the Ritz London and chairman of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts. Kitchen finalists had five hours to produce four portions of a vegetable-based starter using ingredients from a mystery box and where celeriac was the central component; as well as four portions of a quail dish; turbot à la Normande plated on a flat; and their own modern interpretation of an English summer berry dish.
Pastry finalists had five and a half hours to produce 24 dipped chocolates with a ganache centre of their choice; a chocolate stand with a minimum of three flowers to show the summer season; 12 individual savarins, soaked and finished as desired but using mixed summer fruits; and four portions of crepe soufflé.
Service finalists were required to decant and describe wine 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.
The winners are:
Olivia Catherine Burt, Fera at Claridge’s
Samuel King, the Ritz London
Henry Wadsworth, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons
Tom Waters, Bonhams restaurant
Fergus Wilford, André Garrett at Cliveden House
Harry Barber, Hakkasan
Elena Bockshecker, Harrods
Alan Holloway, Claridge’s
Mathilde Pilaete, Alfred Dunhill
Lauren Chappell, Cromlix hotel
James Dainton, André Garrett at Cliveden House
Piers Gibson-Birch, Luton Hoo hotel
Karen Gruet, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons
Lewis Hunter, the Gleneagles hotel
Ross Hunter, the Gleneagles hotel
Stefanie Obermayer, the Gleneagles hotel
Rémi Orero, the Greenhouse
Charlotte Poynton, the Three Chimneys
Giuseppe Scudiero, the Ritz London
Antonella Sinisgallo, Roux at the Landau
Alexander Sumerauer, the Ritz London
Gabriele Tarantola, the Ritz London
Thomas Wickens, the Berkeley hotel
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