10 finalists in line to be the 2020 Acorn Scholar

07 November 2019 by
10 finalists in line to be the 2020 Acorn Scholar

The Caterer has announced the shortlist for the 2020 Acorn Scholarship, a development bursary award first created by previous winners of the Acorn Awards.

The 2020 scholar will become the Acorn Scholarship's 18th winner and will pick up the baton from last year's winner Shane Cooke, senior company executive chef at Vacherin.

The 10 shortlisted candidates will deliver a presentation to the scholarship judges at the Kimpton Fitzroy, London, on 25 November.

The finalists are:

  • Hannah Bamford, general manager, Heritage, Slaugham, West Sussex
  • Jack Coghill, chef-patron, Jack ‘O' Bryan's, Dunfermline
  • Harry Donaghy, food and beverage manager, Old Course Hotel & Golf Course, St Andrews
  • George Hersey, general manager, the Frog, Hoxton, London
  • Ellice Hudson, account manager, BaxterStorey - Amazon FCs UK, Milton Keynes
  • Rachel Jay, spa operations manager, Doubletree by Hilton, Chester
  • Jacob Keen-Downs, sous chef, the Seafood Restaurant, Padstow, Cornwall
  • Peter Ley, senior sous chef, BaxterStorey, Reading
  • Cristina Mesa, pastry chef de partie, Sake no Hana, London
  • Stephen Moloney, demi chef de partie, Rick Stein's Café, Padstow, Cornwall
  • Emilie Parsons, HR assistant, the Rick Stein Group, Cornwall

With a personal bursary of £2,000 to allocate to a development programme and individual coaching from employee engagement specialists Purple Cubed, the total prize is worth more than £5,000.

The 2020 Acorn scholar will join a host of prestigious alumni, with past winners including the 2019 scholar Shane Cooke, who used his bursary to complete WRAW workplace wellbeing training and to support his ambition of setting up his own business, Jasper Workplace Wellbeing; Sandra Preciado, head of hospitality UK, Goldman Sachs for BaxterStorey; Lee Bye, chef-patron, Tuddenham Mill, Newmarket; Charlotte Horler, operations manager, New Hall Hotel & Spa, Sutton Coldfield; Daniel McLoughlin, owner at Rocksalt Café, Leinster, Ireland; Simon Houston, director at Houston & Hawkes; and chocolatier and author Will Torrent.

This year's judging panel consists of Adam Bateman, group operations and development chef, IHG Hotels; Jo Harley, managing director of Purple Cubed; Hannah Horler, managing director of Cartwheel Recruitment; James Horler, chief executive, Ego Restaurants; Moira Laird, human resources director, Valor Hospitality Partners; Ruston Toms, founding trustee of the PM Trust and director of Blue Apple Contract Catering; Jon Reed, brand director at Paddy & Scott's; and Laura Wigley, global director of learning and talent, Dorchester Collection.

Lisa Jenkins, chair of judges for the Acorn Scholarship, commented: "The scholar that takes the Acorn Scholarship into its 18th year will be representative of how the scholarship has come of age. The Acorn Scholarship is a priceless opportunity for any individual in hospitality and the 2020 scholar will have the opportunity to develop their career with one-on-one training and a network of judges and mentors who could change their lives for the long-term."

Harley added: "As a people and talent specialist, I take 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."

The competition presents a young manager, chef, HR manager, sommelier, or any young high-achiever involved in hospitality with the opportunity to make a name for themselves.

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