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Game on for Annual Excellence Awards 2016 as RACA reveals semi-finalists

16 March 2016
Game on for Annual Excellence Awards 2016 as RACA reveals semi-finalists

By Carol Millett

The Royal Academy of Culinary Arts has revealed the semi-finalists in the Annual Awards of Excellence 2016, after assessing an "unprecedented" amount of entries this year.

Interest has been so high this year that for the first time the RACA will run two events for finalists for the London service category in May.

A spokeswoman told The Caterer: "It has been unprecedented. There has been a substantial increase in entrants across all categories but this year we have been particularly excited by the number of entries for our Service category, which has increased significantly."

She attributed the rise in entries in the Service category to an increasing pride and professionalism among front of house staff and rising recognition from chefs that service "should be recognised and celebrated."

Entries for Pastry Chef are also continuing to rise. "We've had an overwhelming response," the spokeswoman said, pointing to the popularity of The Great British Bake Off as a possible factor in raising the category's profile.

The Annual Awards of Excellence, which is an exam rather than a competition, is open to young professionals aged between 20 and 26 who have worked in the UK hospitality industry for a minimum of two years. It aims to recognise and encourage the most talented and ambitious chefs, pastry chefs and waiters in the industry.

Launched in 1983, over 500 young professionals have achieved the award so far. The entrants who score the highest marks in each section will be named the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Young Chef, Young Pastry Chef and Young Waiter 2016.

Judges will include Heston Blumenthal, chef-patron, the Fat Duck, Bray, Berkshire; John Williams, executive chef, the Ritz, London; Martyn Nail, executive chef, Claridge's; Adam Byatt, chef-patron, Trinity, London; Yolande Stanley, lecturer in patisserie, Westminster Kingsway College; Sarah Hartnett, head pastry chef, Sheraton Park Lane, London; Serchio Rebecchi, director, Serenata Hospitality; and John Cousins, director, the Food and Beverage Company.

The London Service semi-final will be held on 19 March at the Ritz in Piccadilly, and the Scotland Service semi-final will be held at the Gleneagles hotel in Auchterarder on 21 March.

The regional Kitchen and Pastry semi-finals will be held at the University of West London, Westminster Kingsway College and University College Birmingham on 30 March.

Two London Service finals will be held this year, one at Le Gavroche on 14 May, the other at the Connaught on 16 May. The Scotland Service final will be at Gleneagles hotel on 23 May. The Chef and Pastry Chef finals will take place at the University of Westminster in London on 15 June.

Kitchen semi-finalists

  • Olivia Baggley Wilton's
  • Martin Baylis Opus Restaurant
  • Nathan Booth The Art School Restaurant
  • Jack Brooks White's Club
  • Christopher Burleton Vaughan's Kitchen
  • Michael Clark Pompadour by Galvin
  • Alan Clarke The Three Chimneys
  • Jack Croft Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
  • Marcus Cunningham The Royal Household
  • Alex Dome Petersham Nurseries
  • Natacha Garcia Damm L'Enclume
  • Joel Gueller Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons
  • Ruth Hansom The Ritz London
  • Richard Henderson Lucknam Park hotel
  • William Hickmott The Beehive
  • Edward Marsh Lucknam Park hotel
  • Adam McKinnon-Brahams The Ritz London
  • Samuel Nash L'Enclume
  • Jack O'Sullivan The Angel Inn, Hetton
  • Alex Proudman Bistro Union
  • Maria Riga Mark's Club
  • Nathan Tolley The Devonshire Arms hotel
  • Paul Tyrrell Atlantic Brasserie
  • Hugo Vernochet Alfred's
  • Alex Wallis Coutts Bank
  • Peter Webster Beagle Restaurant
  • Elly Wentworth Lucknam Park hotel

Pastry semi-finalists

  • Christoforos Athanasopolous Pennyhill Park hotel
  • Hannah Bagshaw Hakkasan
  • Polly Chan Yauatcha
  • Nathania Daykin The Ritz London
  • Soccorsa Faienza Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park
  • Ethan Flack Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons
  • David Freelove The Chester hotel
  • Courtney-Jane Gwatkin Yauatcha
  • Irish Hacon The Langham hotel
  • Corrine Jones Hyatt Regency London The Churchill
  • Charles Liets The Ritz London
  • Naomi Longfield Hakkasan
  • William Perrett Cliveden House
  • Victoria Peters Bachmann's Patisserie
  • Nicholas Ralph County Restaurant, ABode Canterbury
  • Abigail Sole Marc Patisserie and Bakery
  • Faye Weatherburn The Ritz London
  • Mikaela Wright The Balmoral hotel

Service semi-finalists

  • Melanie Ablinger Lucknam Park hotel
  • Iona Adams Opus Restaurant
  • Ledia Alia Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons
  • Mike Ananiassen Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons
  • Gabriel Armanu Luton Hoo hotel
  • Rebecca Bauhofer Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles
  • Stephanie Beresforde Scott's Restaurant
  • Marion Bourgin Luton Hoo hotel
  • Donato Caldrelli Helene Darroze at The Connaught
  • Megan Calvert La Chapelle & Galvin Hop
  • Dimitris Champsas Luton Hoo hotel
  • Giuseppe Cola The Ritz London
  • Carole Condat Michael Caines, Abode Manchester
  • Elise Corneau Lucknam Park hotel
  • Nicoletta D'Angelo Adam Handling at Caxton
  • Francesco De Santo The Ritz London
  • Lewis Dixon Northcote
  • Daniel Dreiseitel The Ritz London
  • Emma Drummond The Gleneagles hotel
  • Melissa Fergus The Fat Duck
  • Giulio Giannini The Ritz London
  • Laudy Gibba-Smith L'Enclume
  • Louis Gillibert Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons
  • Innes Haywood L'Enclume
  • Miriam Heck The Gleneagles hotel
  • Julia Hermann Galvin La Chapelle
  • Lewis Hunter The Gleneagles hotel
  • Ross Hunter The Gleneagles hotel
  • Christopher Hurle Trinity
  • Roxana Ilie London Hilton on Park Lane
  • Alexander Jagne Lucknam Park hotel
  • Tomas Kubart Bar Boulud
  • Giuseppe Laboragine Petrus
  • Alexander Macleod The Balmoral hotel
  • Karim Mansour Mosimann's
  • Hannah McConnon The Gleneagles hotel
  • Emily Morris The Gleneagles hotel
  • Gerald Murati The Ritz London
  • Remi Orero The Greenhouse
  • Bradley Pace Purnell's Restaurant
  • James Parums The Royal Household
  • Sebastien Pasquini Rosewood London
  • Vincent Passaboc Bar Boulud
  • Dorenzo Pratt Opus Restaurant
  • Callum Rees The Gleneagles hotel
  • Benjamin Rushworth Parkers Arms
  • Dominik Schmidbauer The Lanesborough
  • Elena Silveri The Gleneagles hotel
  • Paula Sobusiak Outlaw's at The Capital
  • Gabriele Sorrentino The Ritz London
  • Christopher Strachan The Three Chimneys
  • Alexander Sumerauer The Ritz London
  • Dimitar Tanev The French by Simon Rogan
  • Sebastian Taylor The Ritz London
  • David Tuneke The Ritz London
  • Yohann Vallade Le Gavroche
  • Thijs van Gulik The Ritz London
  • Laura Vernet Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons
  • Hannah Watson The Three Chimneys
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