Lewis Gallagher, commis chef at Stanley House Hotel & Spa, has won the 2013 Acorn Scholarship.
Gallagher, who took the title following a final at BMA House, London yesterday, has won a scholarship valued at more than £7,000.
The Acorn Scholarship, now in its 11th year, includes amongst its patrons Michael Caines of Brownsword Hotels, James Horler of 3Sixty Restaurants, and William Baxter of BaxterStorey.
At an event organised by the Acorn Scholarship in association with sponsors Villeroy & Boch, Unilever Food Solutions and the Dorchester Collection, 21-year-old Gallagher was announced as the winner after beating tough competition at the final selection day.
All the judges were impressed by Gallagher's ambition and continued competition success including winner of the North West Young Chef of the Year and runner-up in the 2012 Young National Chef of the Year competition held earlier this year.
During the course of his year as an Acorn Scholar Gallagher hopes to build on his competition achievements by experiencing high quality food from around the UK and further afield. He intends to increase his product knowledge and take full advantage of the mentors available to him in the next 12 months.
Judge Amanda Afiya, of Caterer and Hotelkeeper said "Lewis doesn't seem to fully understand how good he is or how good he could be and all of us involved with the Acorn Scholarship can help open his eyes.
"He will be a great ambassador for the Acorn Scholarship".
The scholarship prize includes a £2,000 bursary for professional development, £1,500 worth of Learnpurple training, plus monthly coaching sessions with Learnpurple managing director Jane Sunley, a trip to Villeroy & Boch in Luxembourg, a designated mentor to guide him through the year as a scholar and Springboard UK Ambassador training.
Two finalists were also given highly commended awards and a bursary of £1,000 each to invest in their development. Charlie Stoker, a head chef with ISS Eaton and Thomas Hannah, guest services manager from Le manoir aux Quat'Saisons
The Acorn Scholarship is a self-nominated award and is open to individuals who are UK residents and able to work in the UK without restriction. Previous winners include Simone Sylvestre of Laytons Wine, Rob Hartwell of Peach Pubs, Joel Fagg of Puma Hotels and Simon Houston of BaxterStorey.
By Lisa Jenkins
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