The Gold Service Scholarship shines a light on the front of house staff in all sectors of the industry, says CH&Co Group chairman Tim Jones
Through their TV shows and training programmes, Michel Roux Jr and Fred Sirieix have contributed to the recognition that front of house offers wonderful careers. In fact, most in the industry would now agree that front of house roles are increasingly gaining in status.
An initiative that has done a great deal to build this awareness is the Gold Service Scholarship. The scholarship gives the front of house profession equal footing to back of house, and that's a good thing. While I certainly wouldn't complain about the significant growth in interest in all things foodie and the role of the chef, this culinary ascendency has also helped hide the equally important role of front of house teams.
The other good thing about the Gold Service Scholarship is that it doesn't just apply to the finest restaurants or hotels. The hospitality industry has changed significantly in recent years and the contract catering, pub and events sectors, for example, can hold their own against anything that the traditional areas of excellence can put forward.
For Daniele, the whole experience has been a phenomenal boost for him. As part of his Scholarship, he has worked with one of his idols, Diego Masciaga at the Waterside Inn, visited Bordeaux and Champagne to learn from the wine producers first hand, and even completed a week-long placement at Buckingham Palace at the time of President Xi Jinping of China's state visit last year. In all of these experiences, he has expanded his skills, knowledge and network.
As a stepping stone on the career ladder, entering and being shortlisted for the Gold Service Scholarship can provide excellent evidence of skill and career potential. The skills are highly transferrable between different sectors of the hospitality industry and if you're looking for glamour and prestige, you can certainly find that too.
Daniele has become a true role model for those interested in a career front of house, and we need to encourage more young people to enter this wonderful industry and become the next generation of front of house heroes. He is grasping every opportunity that comes his way, and although it may be too late now to enter this year's competition, I would certainly encourage young front of house staff to plan ahead for the 2017 scholarship. Good luck to the 2016 finalists - a great experience awaits you.
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