The Academy of Food & Wine Service is the professional body that represents and encourages the training of food and beverage staff in hospitality.
"It's about time somebody looked after the interests of service staff," says chief executive James Brown. "Managers have neglected the skills and recognition they need for far too long. It's little wonder the industry faces a serious recruitment and skills shortage."
Membership is £18 for students, £36 for associates and £48 for full membership. Corporate membership is by arrangement. For further details, ring 0181-943 1011.
Hospitality businesses were called on to support and train their greatest assets, people, by Richard Edwards, chairman of the Academy of Food & Wine Service (AFWS), at its annual awards. "We are short of our greatest resource, people, so help us train your existing staff," he said. "We can help train sommeliers, waiters and bar staff and our training packs are invaluable tools."
The AFWS, which is the professional body for waiters, sommeliers and bar staff, works to promote professional standards for the education and training of its members.
At this year's awards, George Bergier, conference and banqueting manager at the Crowne Plaza Manchester, won the Dom Perignon Award for Excellence. "My passion is wine, and I support the trade and am proud to have youngsters in the guild [of wine, at the regional chapter in Manchester, where Bergier is a committee member]."
The AFWS also recognised Gillian Evans, deputy manager at the Windermere Hydro in the Lake District, as the Waterford Trainer of the Year, and Lucy Taylor, trainee restaurant supervisor at the Vine hotel, Skegness, as the Wedgwood Student of the Year. Both were chosen on the recommendation of Hospitality and Leisure Manpower, which organises training of staff for the AFWS.
This year saw the introduction of three travel awards in association with the Wine Guild of the United Kingdom. Essays on topics relating to the wine regions of the sponsors' choice were submitted and judged. The Qantas/Rosemount Estate Wines Award, a three-week, all-expenses-paid trip to Australia's vineyards, went to Anthony Finn, general manager of the New Mill restaurant, Eversley, Hampshire. "I thought entering was an ideal opportunity as I am a master sommelier," he said.
The Croft Port UDV Award, a three-day tour of the Douro Valley in northern Portugal, was won by David Brandhuber, sommelier at the Dorchester hotel in London.
Brandhuber has worked as a sommelier for nine years and has a passion for port, having once supervised a port trolley at what is now the Mandarin Oriental at Hyde Park.
The Wines of Germany three-day trip went to Nigel Wilkinson, senior sommelier at St David's Park, Ewloe, Clywd. "I wanted to learn more about German wines - I love Trockenbeerenauslese and the quality German wines. I would like to go to the Rheinpfalz region of Germany," he said.
The AFWS awarded honorary fellowships for services to the academy to Barnaby Evans of Rosemount Estate Wines; Paul Dermody of De Vere Hotels; and David Molyneux-Berry. Honorary membership awards went to David Hodgson of Rosemount Estate Wines and Christopher Connolly, food and beverage director at De Vere Hotels. Company of the year, recognising its support of the AFWS, was Thistle Hotels. n