The Gold Service Scholarship has announced the names of the 24 regional finalists for the 2016 Gold Service Scholarship competition.
A total of 20 regional finalists were selected from more than 70 applicants for this year's competition. They will join the three runners-up from last year along with the winner for the 2015 Royal Academy of Culinary Arts' (RACA) Awards of Excellence, who all get automatic entry to the regional finals.
The regional final will take place at the Langham hotel in London on Monday 30 November, when finalists will be required to complete a series of service tasks. They will be judged by a panel of industry professionals.
Now in its fourth year, the Gold Service Scholarship is an annual competition for young, front of house professionals working in the hospitality industry. Edward Griffiths, chairman of the judges' panel, said: "Once again, the quality of the candidates has improved, and the task of selection has been all the more challenging. We have therefore increased the number of regional finalists from 20 to 24, to enable as many of the talented entrants to participate in the next stage."
Alastair Storey, chairman of the trustees and chairman of BaxterStorey, said: "We have had a record number of entrants to this year's competition, with entries from across the hospitality industry from those working in hotels, restaurants, pubs, foodservice and the Armed Forces. We are looking forward to the next stage of the competition and seeing the regional finalists take part in the challenges at the end of this month."
The National Final will be held at the Connaught hotel and the 2016 winner will be announced in February at an awards ceremony at Claridge's. The winner will receive a bespoke prize package with a range of mentoring opportunities, travel and placements from a group of the most senior service professionals in the world.
This year's regional finalists are:
- Paula Sobusiak - the Capital hotel
- Christoph Schrottenbaum - Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
- Andreea Albert - Morgans Hotel Group - Mondrian London
- Amelia Thornhill - the King's Head, Hampshire
- Jennifer Santner - Sky Garden
- Nico Ante - Bistro Hotel du Vin, Birmingham
- Kate Turton - the Latymer, Pennyhill Park, Surrey
- James Parums - Buckingham Palace
- Charlie Lee - Fera at Claridge's
- Lukas Andr - Sexy Fish, London
- Thomas Borghi - the Ritz
- Sophia Warland - RAF Odiham
- Travis Powell - Langshott Manor, Horley
- Stephanie Beresforde - Scott's Restaurant
- Robin Roux - Hotel du Vin & Bistro, Birmingham
- Judit Balonka - the Vineyard at Stockcross, Newbury
- Lewis Dixon - Northcote Manor, Langho
- Innes Haywood - L'Enclume, Cumbria
- Gabriela Murea - Opus Restaurant, Birmingham
- Dimitar Tanev - Mr Coopers House and Garden, Q Hotels Services, Manchester
- Nicholas Winfield - Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons, Oxford