Four chefs and four waiters from the southern regional finals of the Young Chef Young Waiter competition have gone through to the national finals.
Now in its 25th year, the competition, sponsored by luxury hotel group Von Essen, rewards the best young chef and young waiter aged 25 and under.
The winner of the chef regional final, held at Thames Valley University in London, was Shaun Dickens of the Michelin-starred L'Ortolan restaurant in Reading.
Runners-up were Nicholas Hill of the Ledbury and Andrew McFadden of Pied à Terre, both in London, as well as Eliza Thomas of contract caterer Jackson Gilmour in Croydon.
Chairman of the seven-strong panel of chef judges was Bruce Poole of the Michelin-starred Chez Bruce in London.
Winner of the waiters' competition, held at Von Essen's Cliveden in Berkshire, was Marco Fusato of the Ritz in London, with Matthew Balman of Gidleigh Park in Devon, Sarah Cooper of the Ledbury and Julie Doig of Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's in London as runners-up.
Chairman of the panel of waiters' judges was Stephen Mannock, from the National Skills Academy for Hospitality.
The eight southern regional finalists will join the eight northern regional finalists in the national finals of the competition which will be held at Westminster Kingsway College on 6 October.
Other sponsors of Young Chef Young Waiter are the Savoy Educational Trust, HSBC, Sodexo, S. Pellegrino, Wild Harvest, Laurent Perrier and Matthew Clark.
Bob Walton, chairman of The Restaurant Association, who presented the prizes said the standard of entries this year was as high as ever.
"Once again, Young Chef Young Waiter continues to highlight the talent that the hospitality industry is producing," he said.
By Kerstin Kühn
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