Winners of the Annual Awards of Excellence announced

The Staff Canteen

The who’s who of the hospitality industry came together last night to celebrate the winners of the Annual Awards of Excellence (AAE). The evening was hosted by John Williams MBE, Chairman of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts and Sergio Rebecchi, Academician and Chairman of the AAE Service, who announced the three overall winners: • Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Young Chef of the Year: SPENCER METZGER, THE RITZ LONDON • Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Young Pastry Chef of the Year: BIANKA MOLNAR, YAUATCHA • Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Young Waiter of the Year: MARINA EMMS, THE ARTS CLUB The winners received silver trophies (donated by Gordon Hogg and Finclass), Meyer Cookware, Victorinox Knives, a bursary worth £2,000 – thanks to the generous support of the Savoy Educational Trust – and also a day’s work experience at The Fat Duck. The Gala Dinner also celebrated a further 28 talented young chefs, pastry chefs and waiters who successfully achieved the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts’ Annual Award of Excellence 2014, in finals held in June. KITCHEN:

  • Rosie Angus - Coutts, The Strand
  • Adam Bateman - Restaurant Associates
  • Martin Carabott - Royal Automobile Club
  • Oliver Downey - Le Gavroche
  • Spencer Metzger - The Ritz London
  • Tom Phillips - The Ritz London


  • Jamie Houghton - Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons
  • Aisha Ibrahim - Hakkasan Mayfair
  • Sam Leatherby - London Hilton on Park Lane
  • Rhiann Mead - William Curley Pâtissier Chocolatier
  • Bianka Molnar - Yauatcha, London
  • Marco Pagos - Yauatcha, London
  • Steven Sherry - William Curley Pâtissier Chocolatier
  • Kae Shibatab - The Ritz London


  • Sandra Bein - Le Gavroche
  • Julia Brandacher - Outlaw's at the Capital
  • Valentina Carbone - Restaurant Associates
  • Adam Chambers - Café 21, Newcastle
  • James Dougan - The Waterside Inn
  • Steven Driscoll - Koffmann's at The Berkeley
  • Marina Emms - The Arts Club, Dover Street
  • Stephen Garrod - Park Restaurant, Lucknam Park Hotel
  • Daniel Harrison - Strathearn Restaurant, The Gleneagles Hotel
  • Manuel Marchetti - Galvin at Windows
  • Nicola Mognol - Le Gavroche
  • Stefano Parolin - The Ritz London
  • Zoe Simonneaux - Restaurant Gordon Ramsay
  • Doriane Stadelmann - Le Gavroche
  • Aurelien Torresan - Le Gavroche
  • Wouter Van Giel - Claridge's
  • Nicholas Winfield - Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons

To achieve the award candidates had to attain a score of over 70% in the tasks set and judged by industry luminaries chaired by John Williams MBE, Executive Chef, The Ritz London and Chairman of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts (see end for full list of judges). John Williams, Chairman of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts 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.” Sara Jayne Stanes OBE, Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts 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.” Kitchen Finalists had 5 hours to produce a lobster starter, either a salad or broth dish, using ingredients from a mystery box; a saddle of mutton dish from the entry task each candidate prepared in honour of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales; and their own modern interpretation of a rhubarb and custard. Matthew Ambrose, Young Chef of the Year said: “My first attempt at the AAE was unsuccessful. But, I decided to give it another go as I was determined to succeed. It was a tough competition, but I felt that I had given it my best. Winning the Award was worth the effort and the title of Young Chef of the Year on top is such an honour. I am thrilled”. Pastry Finalists had 5.5 hours to produce two gateaux fraisiers; a wedding themed sugar/isomalt stand on which to display one gateau fraisier; 12 individual savarins; and 12 petits fours French style macarons Lucy Jones, Young Pastry Chef of the Year said: “Winning the Award and the Young Pastry Chef of the Year taught me more than I thought I knew about myself and how I function, as it is a different kind of pressure from a service. It was really rewarding and winning has been very special. I met some great people in the industry and would recommend it to anyone who likes a challenge and is not afraid of a bit of hard work. I look forward to doing the MCA one day”. Service Finalists were required to decant and describe wines to the judging panel, as well as set up and serve a 3 course meal with wines and liqueurs to a table of two guest judges. Adam Willis, Young Waiter of the Year said: “The 2013 Awards of Excellence was my second attempt. I hoped by re-entering with an extra year’s experience under my belt would prepare me better for the tasks ahead. Subsequently winning the Award and the Young Waiter of the Year gave me great pride and immense personal and professional satisfaction. it has helped me to establish myself within the industry and hopefully I will become a role model”.


The purpose of the awards is 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.

In these challenging times…

The Staff Canteen team are taking a different approach to keeping our website independent and delivering content free from commercial influence. Our Editorial team have a critical role to play in informing and supporting our audience in a balanced way. We would never put up a paywall and restrict access – The Staff Canteen is open to all and we want to keep bringing you the content you want; more from younger chefs, more on mental health, more tips and industry knowledge, more recipes and more videos. We need your support right now, more than ever, to keep The Staff Canteen active. Without your financial contributions this would not be possible.

Over the last 12 years, The Staff Canteen has built what has become the go-to platform for chefs and hospitality professionals. As members and visitors, your daily support has made The Staff Canteen what it is today. Our features and videos from the world’s biggest name chefs are something we are proud of. We have over 500,000 followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other social channels, each connecting with chefs across the world. Our editorial and social media team are creating and delivering engaging content every day, to support you and the whole sector - we want to do more for you.

A single coffee is more than £2, a beer is £4.50 and a large glass of wine can be £6 or more.

Support The Staff Canteen from as little as £1 today. Thank you.

The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 17th July 2014

Winners of the Annual Awards of Excellence announced