The six national finalists of the inaugural Gold Service Scholarship, a new front-of-house competition designed to promote excellence in restaurant service, have been announced.
A front-of-house equivalent to the prestigious Roux Scholarship, the Gold Service Scholarship is open to restaurant service staff from all areas of the of the hospitality industry aged between 22 and 30 years old.
It is run in association with the Academy of Culinary Arts and the Academy of Food and Wine Service, and backed by contract caterer BaxterStorey.
Following two regional finals held at University College in Birmingham and at the University of West London earlier this month, the six finalists have been selected from more than 100 initial entries to the competition.
The finalists are:
Daniel Crump, chef de rang, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, London
Ivo De Beus, bartender, Claridge’s hotel, London
Rebecca Dibben, restaurant supervisor, Deseo Mediterranean Restaurant, Gleneagles hotel, Perthshire
Steven Driscoll, graduate trainee food and beverage, the Berkeley hotel, London
Devid Isabella, assistant restaurant manager, the Ritz London
Ben Robinson, sommelier de rang, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Oxfordshire
The six finalists will receive a one-day masterclass from the Gold Scholarship’s mentors, before being asked to serve judges and invited guests at a special lunch during the competition's final next month.
Here they will be serving a table of four guests, with judges looking at mise end place, decanting, reception service, meal service, wine and beverage service as well as engagement with the diners and level of professionalism.
The Gold Service Scholar will receive an unrivalled one-year mentoring programme, including one-on-one sessions with the scholarship's elite group of mentors as well as educational trips and stages at restaurants and hotels both in the UK and internationally.
Industry heavyweights including Emmanuel Landre, general manager at Le Gavroche, Jesus Adorno, director at Le Caprice, and Edward Griffiths, deputy master of the household at Buckingham Palace, have all pledged their support for the competition.
Giraldin commented: “We set a high bar, this was a difficult competition but everyone rose to the challenge and displayed amazing passion for hospitality. It’s going to be a very interesting final.”
Edward Griffiths, deputy master of the household at Buckingham Palace and chairman of the judges added: “Every candidate, without exception, demonstrated great passion for hospitality and their energy and commitment to the tasks was inspiring. It left us with the difficult task to decide who to take through. Congratulations to our deserving finalists.”