David Hennigan, of The Crown at Whitebrook and Celtic Manor in Monmouthshire, has won the 2010 UK Restaurant Manager of the Year competition following the final held yesterday at Babylon restaurant at the Roof Gardens, London.
Liverpool-born Hennigan, has worked in the industry for 24 years and manages both The Crown at Whitebrook and The Crown at Celtic Manor. He trained in Liverpool beginning as a commis waiter and went on to hold positions at the Lords of the Manor, Gloucestershire, and Hunstrete House near Bath.
"I'm very humbled to be chosen as a finalist, but then to be picked from this line-up of six such strong restaurant managers is incredible," he said.
Michele Caggianese, restaurant manager at Galvin at Windows, London Hilton on Park Lane, was runner-up.
It sets out to find a restaurant manager with great business acumen, fantastic people skills, the ability to recruit, manage and motivate a team and who also has a thorough knowledge of the restaurant trade.
The final included a wine tasting, wine and food matching test, management skill scenario, and a task involving finding errors on a menu and mistakes in a room laid out ready for service.
Each finalist was also asked to write and present a written business plan for a new restaurant launch on which they were questioned by a panel of expert judges acting as would-be investors.
This year's judges included top industry personalities Silvano Giraldin, formerly of Le Gavroche, Peter Avis, restaurant manager, Babylon at The Roof Gardens, London (last year's Restaurant Manager of the Year), and David Morgan-Hewitt, managing director, The Goring, London.
David wins a study-tour week in New York, which includes a stage at one of Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group properties. The Crown at Whitebrook also receives a complimentary 12-month subscription to the OpenTable reservation system.
As runner-up Michele Caggianese wins a week at the summer business school of the highly-acclaimed Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne in Switzerland, courtesy of the Savoy Educational Trust.
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