The competition, now in its third year, recognises ‘the importance of great service’ and aims to present front-of-house hospitality as an attractive career to young people.
The eight finalists were whittled down from 28 contestants in the regional heats, and work across many sectors of hospitality including hotels, restaurants, contract caterers and in-house catering establishments throughout the UK.
The national final
At the final, the contestants will be required to demonstrate skills in mise en place, decanting, greeting guests, meal service, wine and beverage service and customer engagement.
They will be providing the service at a lunch for the judging panel, which includes deputy master of the household at Buckingham Palace Edward Griffiths CVO, director at Roux Restaurants Silvano Giraldin, and chairman of lead sponsor BaxterStorey Alastair Storey.
The winner of the Gold Service Scholarship will be announced at an awards ceremony at Claridge’s on 9 February 2015.
The competition prize is a year of mentoring from experts and the chance to work alongside some of the industry ‘greats’. The winner will also be invited to take part in some high profile industry events, to tour French vineyards and to serve in some of the world’s top restaurants over the year.
Storey said: “This scholarship is all about celebrating young people striving to achieve the highest standards of service within the hospitality. Seeing our regional finalists showcasing their skills reinforced my pride in our industry.
“The passion, enthusiasm and commitment they all showed to their vocations should act as an inspiration to other young people looking to make a career for themselves and I wish all our regional finalists the very best luck for the national final.”
The eight finalists are:
- James O’Keeffe of the Lainston House Hotel, Winchester
- Lukáš Andr of The Seafood Restaurant, Padstow
- Karen Weisheit of the Cliveden House Hotel, Taplow
- Matthew Balman of Buckingham Palace, London
- Ronald Rosario of The Capital Hotel, London
- Nicholas Winfield of Le Manoir aux Quat Saisons, Oxford
- George Oates of Buckingham Palace, London
- Daniele Quattromini of Club Lounge 39, Canary Wharf, London