2020 Acorn Scholarship opens for entries

29 August 2019 by
2020 Acorn Scholarship opens for entries

The Acorn Scholarship, an award created by previous winners of The Caterer's Acorn Awards, has launched the search for its 2020 Acorn Scholar.

With the competition coming of age with its 18th winner, the Acorn Scholarship gives a young manager, chef, HR manager, sommelier, or any high-achiever in hospitality the opportunity to make a name for themselves by presenting their skills and ambitions to some of the most respected names in the industry.

There is a prize worth more than £5,000 and the winner will become part of a prestigious Acorn Scholarship alumni. Past winners include Simon Houston, director at Houston & Hawkes; chocolatier and pâtissier Will Torrent; Daniel McLoughlin, owner of the Rocksalt Café, Ireland; Charlotte Horler, operations manager, New Hall hotel and spa, Sutton Coldfield; and 2018 winner, Sandra Preciado, head of hospitality UK, BaxterStorey at Goldman Sachs.


Last year's winner, Shane Cooke, senior company executive chef at Vacherin who used his bursary to complete WRAW workplace wellbeing training, and support his ambition of setting up his own business (Jasper Workplace Wellbeing), said: "I wasn't seeking the scholarship for my own self development; I was looking for training in mind health and the positive impact of food on wellbeing and mental health so that I could give back to the industry and other chefs. The judges told me that my passion for my subject was evident.

"With the support of Vacherin and the Acorn Scholarship team, I have started on my journey to help others. Now, as I perform my day-to-day role at Vacherin, I am more aware of people's wellbeing needs, whether it's Vacherin staff or customers within our clients' teams. This awareness is a result of the training and mentoring I've received. Longer term, winning has given me the skills and know-how to map out my future, in which mental health and wellbeing plays a huge part."

The judging panel selected to interview the successful finalists includes: Lisa Jenkins, products and suppliers editor, The Caterer; Sean Wheeler, director people development – Kimpton UK & Regent Hotels at IHG; James Horler, chief executive, 3Sixty Restaurants; Kayleigh Wiltshire, global learning and development manager at Dorchester Collection; Moira Laird, human resources director, Valor Hospitality Partners; Ruston Toms, founding trustee of the PM Trust and director of Blue Apple Contract Catering; Hannah Horler, managing director of Cartwheel Recruitment; and Jon Reed, brand director, Paddy & Scott's.

Scholarship judge Jo Harley, managing director of people and talent specialists Purple Cubed commented: "Purple Cubed takes on the role of coach for our winning scholar each year and the judges and I will be looking for a determinedly ambitious individual, and a leader of tomorrow with drive and passion for our diverse, fast-moving and exciting industry."

Applicants are asked to complete an entry form and, if shortlisted, present their submission to the panel of judges at the Kimpton Fitzroy hotel, London on the 25 November 2019.

The closing date for entries is 25 October 2019.

The Acorn Scholarship sponsors are: the Dorchester Collection, the PM Trust, Principal Hotels Company and Valor Hospitality.

For more information on the Acorn Scholarship, to sign up, see information on our previous scholars, judges, hotel partners and sponsors visit our Facebook page

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