Seven finalists in the Gold Service Scholarship 2014 are now awaiting the outcome of the competition, held yesterday at London's Connaught hotel.
Now in its second year, the award is designed to celebrate the importance of great service and inspire a new generation of young people to make a professional career out of front of house hospitality.
During the final, the contestants demonstrated their skills in mise en place, decanting, reception service, meal service, wine and beverage service and customer engagement while undertaking a lunch service. The judges who carefully examined throughout included Edward Griffiths, deputy master of the household at Buckingham Palace; Sergio Rebecchi, director at Incognico and Quirinale restaurants; and Alastair Storey, chairman of lead sponsor BaxterStorey.
The winner of the competition, who will be announced at a presentation ceremony at Claridge's, London, on 10 February, will receive a year of mentoring including the opportunity to work side-by-side with industry luminaries such as Diego Masciaga at the Waterside Inn and Emmanuel Landre and Silvano Giraldin at Le Gavroche. They will also have the chance to take part in high profile culinary events, tour French vineyards and serve in some of the world's best restaurants.
Willy Bauer, founder of the Gold Service Scholarship and chairman of AB Hotels, said: "The Gold Service Scholarship is a unique competition designed to show young people how important and enjoyable front of house can be and to make the rest of the country sit up and take notice of it as a respectable and skilled career path.
"The Scholarship provides an unbeatable opportunity for young professionals within the hospitality industry to showcase their many talents and be encouraged to aim high in their careers."
The seven finalists are:
Adam Hersey, 25, assistant restaurant and bar manager, Brocket Hall Golf Club, Hertfordshire
Daniele Quattromini, 23, trainee hospitality manager, Lusso Catering, London
George Oates, 24, footman, the Royal Household, Buckingham Palace
Julien Gardin, 29, junior assistant restaurant manager, The Fat Duck, Berkshire
Joana Maria Pons Gari, 28, head waitress, Andrew Fairlie, Gleneagles, Perthshire
James Fleming, 24, chef de rang, Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, Oxfordshire
Devid Isabella, 30, assistant restaurant manager, the Ritz, London