Adam Wills, assistant head waiter at Le Manoir, beat 18 other finalists to the Young Waiter of the Year title while Matthew Ambrose of Claridge's beat five other young chefs to pick up the Young Chef of the Year award. Lucy Jones of The Ritz won the Young Pastry Chef of the Year category after beating seven others to the accolade.
The Ritz's John Williams, chairman of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts, praised the winners, who each received the highest score in their categories and said he hoped their achievements would go on to inspire others.
He said: “I hope that through the Annual Awards of Excellence we can motivate and inspire the industry’s young chefs, pastry chefs and waiters to undertake a career of training first themselves, and then others; and to look outside the workplace to wider industry and opportunities.”
The Annual Awards of Excellence are designed to inspire and encourage young people to achieve the highest possible standards in their chosen profession – kitchen, pastry or service – and to offer them clear guidelines for success in their career.
Thirty-three individuals across the three categories were put through to the final after scoring 70 per cent or higher in a series of relevant tasks, which included producing a three-course meal in four and a half hours and serving a three-course meal with wines and liqueurs to a table of two.
Royal Academy of Culinary Arts chief executive Sara Jayne Stanes said: “The Annual Awards of Excellence remains at the core of the Academy’s education philosophy and was, in 1983 when it was launched, the first of the Academy’s many contributions that have raised the bar and set standards for the industry for the past three decades.”
As well as the recognition, winners received silver trophies from Gordon Hogg and Finclass, Meyer Cookware, Victorinox Knives, a bursary worth £2,000 donated by the Savoy Educational Trust and a day’s work experience at The Fat Duck.