The Awards are split into three categories: chefs (kitchen); pastry chefs; and service, and are intended to offer a strong learning experience to entrants and encourage them to achieve the highest possible standards.
They are not a competition, but an examination: none or all entrants could achieve the Award, depending on whether they reach the standard set by the judges.
In addition, the candidate who scores the highest mark in their category will be named the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Young Chef, Young Pastry Chef, or Young Waiter 2017.
The finals will be held at Le Gavroche on 13 May (London Service Final); at Gleneagles on 22 May (Scottish Service Final); and at the University of West London (UWL) on 7 June (Kitchen Final and Pastry Final).
Over 550 young professionals have achieved the Award since its inception in 1983.
The 2017 judging panel comprises Jason Atherton, Michelin-starred chef patron of The Social Company (Pollen Street Social, Social Eating House, City Social etc) as Honorary President of the AAE 2017; John Williams, Michelin-starred executive chef at The Ritz; and as Joint Chairmen of Kitchen, Martyn Nail, executive chef at Claridge’s; and Adam Byatt, Michelin-starred chef patron of Trinity.
Joint Chairmen of Pastry are pastry consultant Sarah Hartnett and Yolande Stanley of The Pastry Training Company.
Joint Chairmen of Service are Sergio Rebecchi, director of Serenata Hospitality, and John Cousins, director of The Food and Beverage Training Company.
The chefs are tested on a variety of food preparation skills, including making a salad and butchery, and must show competence in a range of dishes, including soups, desserts, and a recipe of their own choice.
The pastry chefs must show ability in many skills including chocolate and sugar work, and must also demonstrate creativity and skills in baking and plated desserts.
The service (waiters) entrants are tested on their competence in a range of food and beverage aspects, including product knowledge, technical service, interpersonal skills, and teamwork.
This year’s kitchen finalists include chefs from Fera at Claridge’s, Restaurant Andrew Fairlie, The Ritz, and Le Manoir.
The pastry finalists include chefs from Hakkasan, Mosimann’s, Roux at the Landau, Claridge’s, Le Manoir, and Harrods.
The service finalists come from establishments including L’enclume, Moor Hall, The Lanesborough, Cromlix Hotel, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, The Ritz, André Garrett at Cliveden, Gleneagles Hotel, The Greenhouse and more.
FULL LIST OF FINALISTS
Olivia Catherine Burt, Fera at Claridge's
Charles Coulombeau, Gravetye Manor
Jonathan Ferguson, Restaurant Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles
Samuel King, The Ritz London
Henry Wadsworth, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons
Tom Waters, Perilla
Fergus Wilford, Andre Garrett at Cliveden
Harry Barber, Hakkasan
Nicholas Bentley, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons
Elena Bockshecker, Harrods
Olivia Bösch, Mosimann's
Marceau Gouret, Roux at the Landau
Alan Holloway, Claridge's
Charles Liets, Harrods
Mathilde Pilaete, Alfred Dunhill
Madeline Thell, Harrods
Emma Burgess, Cromlix Hotel
Lauren Chappell, Cromlix Hotel
Graeme Cumine, L'Enclume
James Dainton, André Garrett at Cliveden
Lea Deliere, The French Table
Federico Dell'isola, The Lanesborough
Andrea Diolaiuti, The Ritz London
Lorelei Fruhauf, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
Piers Gibson-Birch, Luton Hoo Hotel
Karen Gruet, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons
Ellen Herslow, The Westbury Hotel
Lewis Hunter, The Gleneagles Hotel
Ross Hunter, The Gleneagles Hotel
Rosanna Law, The Gleneagles Hotel
Gary Lee, The Ritz London
Joao Luiz Gomes, André Garrett at Cliveden
Alessandro Marra, Alyn Williams at the Westbury
Samuel Melotti, The Greenhouse
Anais Niang, Little Ship Club
Stefanie Obermayer, The Gleneagles Hotel
Remi Orero, The Greenhouse
Natalie Pope, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons
Charlotte Poynton, The Three Chimneys
Simone Rizzo, The Ritz London
Giuseppe Scudiero, The Ritz London
Alba Serrano, The Bath Priory Hotel
Elena Silveri, The Gleneagles Hotel
Manvir Singh, The Gleneagles Hotel
Antonella Sinisgallo, Roux at the Landau
Emma Smith, Turnberry Resort
Alexander Sumerauer, The Ritz London
Gabriele Tarantola, The Ritz London
Larissa Varini, The Bath Priory Hotel
Valerio Vita, Galvin at Windows
Thomas Wickens, The Berkeley Hotel
Ellen Woodcock , Moor Hall Restaurant with Rooms