The Gold Service Scholarship has announced the names of the 27 semi-finalists for the 2017 Gold Service Scholarship competition.
From a record number of applications, 60 candidates attended the quarter final at the Hotel Café Royal in London last week. They were joined by two of last year's finalists, Stephanie Beresforde and Tom Noller, and the winners of the 2016 Royal Academy of Culinary Arts' (RACA) Awards of Excellence, who automatically gained entry to the competition.
The semi-final will take place at the Rosewood hotel on Monday 28 November.
Now in its fifth year, the Gold Service Scholarship is an annual competition for young, front of house professionals working in the hospitality industry. The finals will be judged on 6 February 2017 at the Connaught hotel in London, with the awards ceremony taking place at Claridge's on 28 February. The winner will have the opportunity to undertake a variety of training placements, including a state banquet at Buckingham Palace, a five-day stage at the Waterside Inn or Le Gavroche, and a one-week work stint at a Mandarin Oriental hotel.
Edward Griffiths, chair of the Gold Service Scholarship judges, was so impressed with the calibre of applicants this year that more candidates than usual were put through to the next round of judging. He said: "The quality of candidates has been absolutely amazing, and it was difficult to select just 24 to proceed to the semi-finals, so we ended up with 27."
Sergio Rebecchi, a Gold Service Scholarship trustee, added: "The first sessions were very exciting indeed, with a record number of confident candidates from throughout the country. It was encouraging to see such passion for the industry."
This year's semi-finalists are:
• Julien Arribillaga - chef-de-rang, Fera, Claridges, London
• Stephanie Beresforde - assistant restaurant manager, the Seafood Restaurant, Padstow, Cornwall
• Ashley Best - food & beverage management trainee, the Ritz, London
• Lee Brunt - restaurant manager, Lough Erne Resort, Enniskillen, NI
• Alexandra-Iulia Caciuc - head waitress, 45 Jermyn Street at Fortnum & Mason, London
• Rhianna Chilton - assistant restaurant manager, Rafters restaurant, Sheffield
• Laudy Gibba-Smith - chef-de-rang, L'Enclume, Cartmel, Cumbria
• Helen Graham - senior footman, the Royal Household, Buckingham Palace, London
• Morag Hamilton - caterer, RAF Waddington, Lincoln
• Alan Hynes - food & beverage supervisor, the Dorchester, London
• Flora John - hospitality and events supervisor, Restaurant Associates, London
• Giuseppe Laboragine - assistant restaurant manager, Pétrus, London
• Manuel Marchetti - assistant maître d'hôtel, the Waterside Inn, Bray, Berkshire
• George McGettigan - junior floor manager, CUT at 45 Park Lane, London
• Adam Musgrave - chef de rang, Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon, Fortnum & Mason, London
• Tom Noller - assistant restaurant manager, Merchants Tavern, London
• Luis Oliveira Santos - restaurant supervisor, Rosewood, London
• Paula Sobusiak - restaurant supervisor, Outlaw's at the Capital Hotel, London
• Alexandra Spatar - restaurant supervisor, the Woodspeen Restaurant & Cookery School, Newbury, Berkshire
• Alan Tang - assistant restaurant manager, Hotel Café Royal, London
• Nina Thomsen - junior sommelier, L'Enclume, Cartmel, Cumbria
• Aurelien Torresan - maître d'hôtel junior, Le Gavroche, London
• Reka Varga - head waitress, Fenchurch restaurant, Sky Garden, London
• David Daniel Wallace - floor manager, Holborn Dining Room, Rosewood, London
• Thomas Wickens - supervisor, the Collins Room, the Berkeley, London
• Nicholas Winfield - assistant head waiter, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons, Great Milton, Oxon
• William Yarney - restaurant manager, the Woodford, London
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