Loris Lucchini of the Chesterfield Mayfair is the winner of the Hotel Restaurant Manager of the Year award (sponsored by Heinz Foodservice) in the 2008 Hotel Cateys.
What were the judges looking for in this year's winner? A multitalented individual, someone with a flair for leadership and people management, who engages with restaurant menus, and who has shown outstanding commitment to improving revenue. This is what they found in Loris Lucchini.
"He just ticked all of the criteria boxes," said judge Simon Numphud, hotel services manager for AA Hotel Services. "He stood out for his passion and his enthusiasm for his role. His management ethic impressed - he took the time to speak to his team one on one regularly, and, crucially, he is also proactive about driving revenue."
Lucchini's system of colour-coding buttons on point-of-sale terminals to correspond to dishes' gross profits, is an example of this "commercial edge" the judges were won over by, and led to an improvement in the restaurant's financial performance. Numphud was also impressed by the way in which Lucchini incorporated his traditional hotel background into the Butlers restaurant: "His classical skills from his years at the Savoy are shared with staff and customers, not least by using gueridon and flambé work - something which you don't see much of these days."
It is these small, but appealing touches that characterise Lucchini's success. His innovations in Butlers restaurant include introducing Hibiscus Champagne cocktails, flights of wine, three different types of sea salt and including flowering teas in the afternoon tea offering. As a result, the hotel received an award of excellence from the Tea Guild for a second consecutive year.
As Numphud puts it, "Running a hotel restaurant is tougher than running a restaurant in its own right, and Loris has done incredibly well in what is a very challenging environment.
"Mayfair has a plethora of well-established restaurants to choose from - so the success of Butlers, which is relatively tucked away, is a particular achievement, and the fact that he has generated ongoing interest in a hotel dining concept really impressed us."
The Shortlist Hannah Aldridge, Malmaison, Manchester
Russell Cocks, Pearl Restaurant & Bar, Renaissance Chancery Court
Bruno Lucchi, the Midland Hotel, Manchester
Loris Lucchini, the Chesterfield Mayfair