The Caterer has announced the shortlist for the 2019 Acorn Scholarship, a development bursary award first created by previous winners of The Caterer's Acorn Awards.
The 2019 Scholar will become the Acorn Scholarship's 17th winner and will pick up the baton from last year's winner Sandra Preciado, events operations manager at the Rosewood London.
The final 10 shortlisted candidates will now be asked to prepare for their presentation slots in front of the scholarship judges to be held at the Rubens at the Palace hotel, part of the Red Carnation Hotel Collection, in London on 26 November 2018.
The finalists are:
- Shane Cooke, company executive chef, Vacherin, London
- Daniel D'Arcy, guest services manager, Whatley Manor, Wiltshire
- Andrew Di Sora, senior restaurant manager at Neptune, Kimpton, London
- Elliot Hill, head chef, Oddfellows Rooms, Chester
- Rhona Malcolm, reservations manager, the Caledonian, Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh
- Didzis Neimanis, head concierge, Amba Hotel Charing Cross, London
- Inna Nekrassova, reservations manager, Bulgari Hotels & Resorts, London
- Tanya Passi, assistant cluster director of finance, Waltham Abbey Marriott Hotel, Essex
- Liis Uprus, guest services manager, Rick Stein's the Seafood Restaurant, Padstow, Cornwall
- Nicky Woodman, marketing and communications executive, the Calcot Collection, Gloucestershire
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 2019 Acorn Scholar will become part of a prestigious Acorn Scholarship alumni with past winners that include Lee Bye, chef-patron, Tuddenham Mill; Charlotte Horler, operations manager, New Hall Hotel & Spa, Hand Picked Hotels; Daniel McLoughlin, opening project manager of Shoda market café and restaurant; Simon Houston, sales director of Bartlett Mitchell, and chocolatier and author Will Torrent.
This year's judging panel consists of Lisa Jenkins, products and suppliers editor, The Caterer; Kayleigh Wiltshire, global learning and development manager at the Dorchester Collection; Eimear O'Brien, area human resources manager for 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; Jo Harley, managing director of Purple Cubed; James Horler, chief executive of Ego Restaurants; Adam Bateman, group operations and development chef at IHG; Jon Reed, brand director of Paddy & Scott's; and 2018 Acorn Scholar, Sandra Preciado.
Harley commented: "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 by presenting their skills and ambitions to some of the most respected names in the industry.
Find out more about the Acorn Scholarship here.