Eight finalists have been announced for the 2020 Gold Service Scholarship, the competition for young, front-of-house professionals.
The semi-final was held at Rosewood London on Monday 25 November, where 44 quarter-finalists undertook a series of service tests and an interview.
The final will take place on 13 January 2020 at Corinthia London, and the winner will be announced at a gala ceremony at the Berkeley in London on 12 February 2020.
The prizes for the 2020 Scholar will include a trip to Champagne, working a state visit to Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle, and a choice of placements at prestigious establishments such as the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok hotel; the three-Michelin-starred Waterside Inn in Bray, Berkshire; the two-Michelin-starred Le Gavroche in London; or at an overseas Rocco Forte hotel.
The eight successful finalists are:
- Rémy Baben, assistant restaurant manager and wine buyer, Wild Honey St James, Sofitel London St James
- Stephen Kelly, footman, Buckingham Palace, London
- Lauren Frid, restaurant supervisor, Bar Boulud, Mandarin Oriental London Hyde Park hotel
- Clement Gosselin, head waiter, Jean-Georges at the Connaught, London
- Andreia Monteiro, conference and banqueting supervisor, Macdonald Randolph hotel, Oxford
- Elizabeth Forkuoh, FBS junior assistant manager, Strathearn restaurant, Gleneagles, Auchterarder, Perthshire
- Claudio Bosio, assistant maître d'hôtel, the Waterside Inn, Bray, Berkshire
- Andrea Nuninger, restaurant host, the Scarlett hotel, Newquay, Cornwall
Edward Griffiths, trustee and chairman of the judges, said: "It has definitely been a vintage year. We've seen the service skills, enthusiasm and general professionalism continue to grow each year, and that makes the task of whittling the list down to just eight finalists very difficult."
Trustee Silvano Giraldin added: "There was an exceptionally high level of scoring during the quarter-finals and semi-finals, and that made it tough for us to select just one person to be the new scholar. They are all already winners in our minds!"