The winners of the 35th Acorn Awards have been announced, celebrating 30 of the industry's most talented stars aged under 30.
Each winner of the annual event was nominated by their senior team and peers for outstanding achievements and successes in their field.
The 2021 Acorn winners will collect their awards at a prize-giving event at South Lodge hotel, part of the Exclusive Collection, in Horsham, West Sussex, today, alongside the Acorn Awards' headline sponsor CH&Co and supporting sponsor Arla Pro.
The awards will be presented by Deborah Homshaw, CH&Co's managing director of education and healthcare, Andy Bacon, Arla Pro's senior global culinary lead, and The Caterer's managing editor Lisa Jenkins.
Guest speaker Simon Houston, co-founder and director of independent caterer Houston & Hawkes, will share his career insights with the winners and tell of his hospitality journey from sales manager to business owner, with an Acorn Scholarship, Acorn Award and Foodservice Catey win along the way.
The 2021 winners' weekend will include a tour of the Ridgeview Wine Estate and a creative workshop with Michael Isted, founder of plant-focused hospitality business the Herball.
Allister Richards, chief operating officer at CH&Co, said: "In a time when good news stories for hospitality have been in short supply, the announcement of the Acorn Awards 2021 winners is a breath of fresh air and a wonderful reminder of the talent, innovation, energy and commitment that drives our industry.
"I won't sugarcoat things; it's been a tough pandemic for us all and there's still a lot of work to be done as we bounce back. But this year's Acorn Award winners embody the qualities that make our industry great and puts them in good stead to become the most engaging and inclusive leaders – resilience, dedication, ingenuity, verve, pragmatism, openness… and much more. Congratulations to the class of 2021 from all the team at CH&Co, we look forward to watching them continue to flourish in the years ahead, along with our industry."
Andy Bacon, senior global culinary lead at Arla Pro, added: "Arla Pro is delighted to have sponsored the awards for the first time this year – and what a year it's been. This year's Acorn Awards winners have shown strength, resilience, passion and dedication to our industry at a time when it's needed it most. Collectively they represent the future of hospitality – which we think is in very safe hands – and demonstrate that it's a fantastic place not just to work, but to thrive. We can't wait to see what the future holds for all the Acorn Award winners."
David Connell, general manager of South Lodge hotel, which is hosting the 2021 Acorns Alumni event, said: "We are delighted to be hosting this year's Acorn Awards winners' weekend at South Lodge. It has been a long time in the making, as we originally planned to be the host venue for last year's winners. Being able to play host this year, for what will be the first in-person industry awards event, falling on Freedom Day, is extremely exciting and provides a great opportunity to bring together the future leaders of our incredible industry after such a long and difficult 18 months.
"Hopefully, this will be the first of many events whereby our wider hospitality family can once again meet, make new friends, share best practice and start to bring a sense of normality back to the country. We are all looking forward to welcoming the 2021 winners and sharing in their well-deserved success."
The 2021 Acorn Award winners
- Christopher Bancroft, front of house manager, the Newt in Somerset
- Rachel Banks, assistant director of people and culture, the Dorchester and 45 Park Lane, London
- Edward Bettley, site director designate, Roadchef Motorways
- Alex Borley, account manager, BaxterStorey
- Jordan Charles, general manager, Meldrum House Country Hotel & Golf Course, Aberdeenshire
- Jenni Clarke, people and development manager, the Bankside and St Ermin's hotels, London
- Emily Coubrough, guest experience and communications manager, the Savoy, London
- Jack Croft, co-owner, Fallow restaurant, London
- Andrew Deans, general manager, Shaws Fine Meats, Berwickshire
- Andy Durma, general manager, Roomzzz Aparthotels
- Philip Egan, executive assistant manager, Fairmont St Andrews
- Katie Forrest, people development manager, Dakota Manchester
- Lewis Greenwood, co-founder and director, Fink Street Food
- Amelia Harper, director of communications, Rosewood London
- Charlotte Jakubecz, head of F&B partnerships, BaxterStorey
- Joshua Jay-Bates, operations manager, the Headland hotel, Cornwall
- Jack Jolly, national campaign and PR manager, New World Trading Company, Manchester
- Iona Macleod, front office manager, Kimpton Blythswood Square, Glasgow
- Spencer Metzger, head chef, the Ritz London
- Koula Michaelides, F&B manager, the Ritz London
- Katie Moran, F&B manager, Voco Grand Central Glasgow
- Bethany Morgan-Jones, general manager, All's Well, London
- Freya Morton, house manager, the Pig at Bridge Place, Kent
- William Murray, co-owner, Fallow restaurant, London
- Lydia Rigby, restaurant manager, the Pig in the South Downs, West Sussex
- Callum Roberts, estate sous chef, Gleneagles, Perthshire
- Rachael Stevens, front of house manager, Pennyhill Park, Surrey
- Clémence Vermes, assistant director of finance, JW Marriott Grosvenor House, London
- Sean Wrest, head chef, Roots York
- Danny Young, head chef, Northcote, Lancashire