Six candidates have been shortlisted for the second Réunion des Gastronomes award by the UK's oldest culinary organisation.
The shortlist comprises:
• Andras Lakesi, food & drink manager at the Principal London
• Kieran McLoughlin, general manager at Hide, London
• Jorge Pacheco, head chef of El Inca Plebeyo, London
• Jatin Parmar, Old Hall F&B manager at Rockliffe Hall, Co Durham
• Antoine Sahyoun, F&B manager at the Victory Services Club London
• Jaroslava Vankova, functions supervisor at St John's College Cambridge
Wallace Vincent, president of the Réunion, said: "It is only our second year of running this award, and after the success of last year, the calibre and number of entries is clearly going from strength to strength. We are pleased at the regional spread of the entries too.
"The shortlisted candidates have been invited to meet the panel in person for individual interviews next month at the Institute of Directors. Afterwards they will enjoy a reception and lunch together with the judges and given a tour of the IoD."
From this interview process, a maximum of three finalists will be selected. The finalists will be guests at one of the monthly events organised by the Gastronomes.
There will then be a further interview by the panel, from which a decision will be made on the winner.
All finalists will be invited to the Annual Banquet at the Savoy in November, at which the winner will be announced. The winner will receive four two-day placements (or stages) with expenses covered across different industry sectors.
They will also receive invitations to attend five events in the year after the award, as well as mentoring and networking opportunities, and associate membership of the Réunion des Gastronomes for two years.
"The total prize value for the winner is believed to be worth in excess of £3,000," added Vincent. "But the mentoring and potential career enhancement presented is inestimable. Last year's winner, Raúl Martinez of the Arts Club, has just completed the first of his stages. The first was at the Dorchester and 45 Park Lane, and the second will be at Grosvenor House [a JW Marriott hotel]."
The judging panel included Alison Frith, managing director of Artizian Catering Services; hospitality consultant Theresa Maw; Serge Pradier, general manager at the Institute of Directors and immediate past president of the Réunion; and John Cousins, the chair of the judges and director of the Food & Beverage Training Company.