Andras Lakezi of the Kimpton Fitzroy London has carried off the Réunion des Gastronomes President's Award 2018 after being described by judges as "a role model in all that he delivers".
Aimed at encouraging excellence in professional food and beverage services, the award was presented by chef Cyrus Todiwala and the association's president Wallace Vincent at the Réunion des Gastronomes' annual banquet at London's Drapers Hall.
Lakezi, who is food and drink manager at the five-AA-star, 334-bedroom Kimpton Fitzroy London, recently rebranded from the Principal London, beat off opposition from two fellow finalists: Kieran McLoughlin, general manager, Hide Ground Floor London, and Jatin Parmar, food and beverage manager at Rockliffe Hall, Darlington, Co Durham.
Theresa Maw, hospitality consultant and one of the judges, described Lakezi as "an inspirational and dedicated hotelier…[who] spends a great amount of his time motivating and training his teams to deliver and exceed customers' expectations".
As part of his prize, Lakezi has received invitations to five Gastronome events, extensive mentoring and networking opportunities, membership of the Réunion for two years, and a range of industry-based experiences, across a raft of industry sectors.
John Cousins, director of the Food and Beverage Training Company, chaired the judge panel which comprised Maw, Alison Frith, managing director of Artizian Catering Services; and Serge Pradier, general manager at the Institute of Directors and past president of the Réunion.