The Gold Service Scholarship 2020 has announced a total of 47 semi-finalists who will now compete for just eight places in the final.
The semi-finalists were whittled down from 92 candidates after a two-day quarter final that took place at the Langham Hotel and the Hotel Café Royal on 26 and 28 October respectively. The candidates underwent a series of interviews and practical tests for both service skills and food and drink knowledge before the list was selected.
The semi-finalists (listed below) come from a range of hospitality backgrounds including the Royal Household, Michelin-starred restaurants, a top-tier caterer, small independent restaurants, the Royal Air Force, five-star hotels and a Premier League football club.
They will now compete on 25 November at Rosewood London, for eight places in the final.
The final will then be held at Corinthia London on 13 January 2020, followed by an awards ceremony on 12 February 2020 at The Berkeley, where the new 2020 Scholar will be announced.
The Scholarship Gold Service Scholarship was launched in 2012 to encourage a lasting heritage of excellence in hospitality, and its patron is Her Majesty The Queen. In order to qualify for the 2020 Gold Service Scholarship, candidates have to be between 22 and 28 years old.
Trustees include Willy Bauer (founder), Alastair Storey (chairman), Edward Griffiths (chairman of the judges), Sergio Rebecchi, Silvano Giraldin, Thomas Kochs, Sara Jayne Stanes and John Davey.
Griffiths said: "Each year, I am impressed by the enthusiasm, talent and dedication from the candidates. We've seen many new contenders, as well as some who have entered in previous years and returned for a second time, keen to polish their skills and benefit from the experience of networking with their industry colleagues. It is hugely encouraging to me, and to my fellow trustees and judges, that there is such passion among the young candidates."
Current 2019 Scholar Karen Cross (pictured), from Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, added: "Not only have I made many new industry friends, but I have broadened my front-of house skills, including on the wine side, with visits to S A Prum vineyard in Mosel and to Laurent-Perrier in Champagne, as well as passing the WSET 2. I also attended a tailored course in Lausanne at the École Hôtelière with the 2019 finalists, sponsored by the Lord Forte Foundation, where we focused on restaurant management with a fascinating emphasis on the financial side of restaurant operations."
The semi-finalists are:
- Alessandro Abbate - Brown's Hotel
- Harry Adair - The Royal Household
- Lewis Allport - Middleton Lodge Estate
- Alessandro Aprile - Hotel Café Royal
- Remy Baben - Wild Honey St James
- Romeo Bisacchi - Caractère Restaurant
- Karolina Bochniak - BaxterStorey
- Claudio Bosio - The Waterside Inn
- Caroline Carter - BaxterStorey
- Joao Paulo Martins Castro - The Langham Hotel
- Harry Champion - Tottenham Hotspur Football Stadium
- Andrea Cicconi - MNKY HSE Restaurant and Lounge
- Rupert Crick - Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons
- Giulia D'Angelo - Le Gavroche
- Marco De Simone - Royal Garden Hotel
- Giordano Di Prata - The Dorchester Hotel London
- Anthony Di Stasi - Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
- Tommy Enright - Rosewood London
- Alessia Falco - The Savoy Grill
- Elizabeth Forkuoh - Strathearn Restaurant, Gleneagles Hotel
- Mariangel Franchy - The Vineyard Hotel and Spa
- Lauren Frid - Bar Boulud, Mandarin Oriental London
- Greta Gabor - The Capital Hotel
- Nicholas Georgoulakis - Elystan Street Restaurant
- Clement Gosselin - The Connaught Hotel
- Morag Hamilton - Royal Air Force
- Patrick Healy - The Berkeley Hotel
- Lewis Hunter - Strathearn Restaurant, Gleneagles Hotel
- Stephen Kelly - The Royal Household
- Ryan Kenyon - The Oxford Blue
- Andrea La Cognata - The Fat Duck
- Mattia Launech - The Game Bird at The Stafford London
- Calvin Luong - Wigmore Hall Restaurant
- Michael Maffey - Hide
- Mattia Marcelli - Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester
- Andreia Monteiro - MacDonald Randolph Hotel
- Alessandro Montre - Wild Honey St James
- Andrea Nuninger
- Giuliano Paolini - Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons
- Valentina Pirri - Davies and Brook, Claridge's
- Oliver Ridge - The Fordwich Arms
- Andrew Shorten - The Foyer and Reading Room at Claridge's
- Beatrice Sorbara - The Goring Hotel
- David Szczucki - Number One Restaurant at the Balmoral
- Kayleigh Thorogood - L'Enclume
- Michele Toto - The Ritz London
- Alberto Veglio - The Northall Restaurant, Corinthia London