The award, sponsored by Whyte & Mackay, was presented on Tuesday evening at the Academy Annual Awards 2011 held at London’s Butcher’s Hall. The Dalmore Award is given to an outstanding personality in the UK hotel and catering industry.
Ashley has been house manager at the Westbury for two years, previously working in F&B at the hotel. He trained at Stratford College before taking up an apprenticeship at Claridge’s. “I’m ecstatic to win this award,” he said, “I’m totally taken aback.”
Presenting the award, AFWS president Roy Ackerman said: “Not only is Ashley an inspiration within his hotel, dedicating time to training and supporting the whole operation, but he is also involved with many colleges, assisting students in the pursuit of hospitality careers. His passion and commitment in everything he does makes him the deserved recipient.”
Among the other award winners, Tony Potter, chief executive and managing director of CHI Hotels & Resorts, and Kellie Rixon, managing director of the De Vere Academy, were granted honorary fellowships of the Academy for their support of craft skills training and their encouragement of young people in the industry.
AFWS chairman Nick Scade later announced that Hilton Worldwide, through its 80 UK and Ireland hotels, has become the first to gain ACE accreditation in the Academy’s new Centre of Training Excellence scheme. Hilton has achieved the highest level of accreditation, the gold standard.
“Hilton’s accreditation will be closely followed by that of the De Vere Academy. We hope this exciting new initiative will lead to all the other major hotel, restaurant and pub groups following suit, signalling the importance they place on providing a high standard of training for front-of-house staff,” he said.
The AFWS, established in 1988, is the professional body for front-of-house service. It runs a series of high profile awards such as UK Sommelier of the Year and UK Restaurant Manager of the Year and this year was closely involved in the making of the BBC2 programme Michel Roux’s Service. For more information visit www.afws.co.uk.