Eight front-of-house professionals have been chosen to compete in the final of the Gold Service Scholarship 2017.
Held at the Rosewood London hotel, the semi-finals saw 27 candidates compete for the chance to take part in the final on 6 February 2017. Participants took on five challenges including table preparation, deciding service priorities, drink service, salesmanship and individual interviews.
The judges were looking for candidates with confidence, product knowledge, professionalism and passion for the industry.
Judge Sergio Rebecchi said the competitors that displayed incredibly high standards. "It was wonderful to judge such a wide spectrum of candidates from different establishments from around the UK. Past scholars also not only contributed in supporting the semi-finalists, but they also played a big part in assisting the smooth running of the proceedings. From this extraordinary group, the eight finalists were selected for having excelled across the range of tasks, and we very much look forward to meeting them again."
The 2017 winner will be announced at Claridge's hotel, London, on 28 February 2017.
Launched in 2013, the Gold Service Scholarship is an annual competition for young front-of-house professionals. The winner is given the chance to take on placements at a variety of operations including Buckingham Palace, the three-Michelin-starred Waterside Inn in Bray, Maidenhead; the two-Michelin-starred Le Gavroche in London's Mayfair, and the five-red-AA-starred Mandarin Oriental hotel in Hyde Park, London. Previous recipients of the scholarships include Rebecca Dibben, the inaugural winner in 2013, James Fleming (2014), Daniele Quattromini (2015) and Jennifer Santner (2016).
The 2017 finalists
- Stephanie Beresforde, assistant restaurant manager, the Seafood restaurant, Padstow, Cornwall
- Ashley Best, food and beverage management trainee, the Ritz, London
- Alexandra-Iulia Caciuc, head waitress, 45 Jermyn Street at Fortnum & Mason, London
- Tom Noller, assistant restaurant manager, Merchants Tavern, London
- Manuel Marchetti, assistant maître d'hôtel, the Waterside Inn, Bray, Berkshire
- Luis Oliveira Santos, restaurant supervisor, Rosewood London
- Alexandra Spatar, restaurant supervisor, the Woodspeen Restaurant & Cookery School, Newbury, Berkshire
- Nina Thomse, junior sommelier, L'Enclume, Cartmel, Cumbria
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