Matthew Mawtus from Pollen Street Social in London has been named the 2016 UK Restaurant Manager of the Year.
He beat eight other finalists to the title after a day of tasks designed to test the competitors' leadership skills and management prowess at the Courthouse hotel in London.
Eight competitors started the day, before being whittled down to a final four who then competed in two tasks in front of a live audience. The restaurant managers were asked to hold a staff briefing before a busy service where they had to address increasing the beverage spend, feedback on the previous night's service and tricky service points such as allergies. They then served a party of four judges, while being assessed on their control of the table and response to questions.
As the winner, Mawtus will receive a bursary enabling him to study at the Lausanne Business School in Switzerland, courtesy of the Savoy Educational Trust.
Alex Cooper from Haymarket hotel's Brumus came second in the competition, and was also handed the Virgin Rising Star award (that goes to the highest placed restaurant manager under the age of 30), while Fernando Humberto da Silva Marques from Mr Cooper's House & Garden, The Midland hotel, Manchester, was third.
The competition is run by the Academy of Food & Wine Service in partnership with The Caterer, sponsored by Bunzl Catering Supplies, Matthew Clark, Octavian and Virgin Limited Edition.
The finalists of the Restaurant Manager of the Year 2016
Alex Cooper, Brumus Restaurant, Haymarket hotel, London
Robert Klopper, Marriott West London India Quay
Fernando Humberto da Silva Marques, Mr Cooper's House & Garden, The Midland hotel, Manchester
Liisa Veer, Coq d'Argent, London
Giuseppe Longobardi, The Cross at Kenilworth
Sonal Clare, Purnell's restaurant, Birmingham
Christopher Kidd, Lucknam Park hotel and spa, Wiltshire
Matthew Mawtus, Pollen Street Social, London
Stephane Davaine, director of front of house operation, Coutts
Rory Kelly-Naughton, hotels recruitment manager, Evolve Hospitality
Joycelyn Neve, founder, Seafood Pub Company
Chantelle Nicholson, group operations director, Marcus Wareing Restaurants
Ludovic Solmi, general manager, Skylon
Roy Sommer, general manager, The Courthouse Hotel, and chairman, The Food & Beverage Manager Association
Ian Sturrock, restaurant manager, Arts Club
Johanna Wimmer, training and development manager, The Ivy Collection
Alper Zan, area manager, Casual Dining Group
Chair: John Cousins, director, Food and Beverage Training Company