Lauren Joseph and Martin Holden-White were today named the Young Guns hospitality students of the year 2014.
The two future industry stars saw off stiff competition from six other finalists to take the coveted title, awarded to them by industry charity Springboard UK.
The final, which took place today, involved an intensive networking lunch and conversation with the judges, including Lexington Catering chairman Tim West and Red Carnation hotels managing director Jonathan Raggett.
The other judges were Peter Ducker, chief executive of the Institute of Hospitality, Alison Gilbert, HR director at CH&Co, Miles Pooley, general manager of London Marriott hotel Park Lane, Liz Cave, head of talent and development at D&D London, and Janie Manzoori-Stamford, foodservice editor at Caterer and Hotelkeeper.
Ahead of the final, each candidate had to produce a short video detailing why they should win.
"The competition enables all universities offering degrees in hospitality to nominate students for the award. Senior business leaders and employers gather to judge the eight finalists. All merit special recognition with eventually two outstanding winners.
"For the judges it is reassuring to meet so many confident and talented individuals at the outset of their careers," he added.
Holden-White, a student at Oxford Brookes University who is set to to start on the BaxterStorey graduate programme in September, told Caterer and Hotelkeeper that being part of the competition was a great experience.
"It also gave me chance to reflect on the past four years of my life at the Oxford School of Hospitality Management and what I have achieved during this time," he added. "Being shortlisted alongside such a talented bunch of people was an honour in itself, but to win it was extremely pleasing."
Meanwhile University College Birmingham student Joseph is currently working front of house at Pure Bar & Kitchen in Birmingham.
She said: "To win feels like I am finally worthy of my family, friends and mentors' loving support, of both me and my exciting career prospects.
"I am extremely blessed to have such incredible parents that wish nothing but the best for everything I do."
The Young Guns finalists, pictured L-R: Melissa Penny, Josie Payne, Owen Farr, Lauren Joseph, Martin Holden-White, Elena Kritkos, Kelly Tyror and Aldo Tcilla Valiente.