Annual Awards Of Excellence
Honorary President of the Awards: Heston Blumenthal OBE
Chairman of the AAE: John Williams MBE
Chairmen of Kitchen: Martyn Nail & Adam Byatt
Chairman of Pastry: Yolande Stanley MCA & Sarah Hartnett 
Chairmen of Service: Sergio Rebecchi & John Cousins

The AAE is the most prestigious award available to young professionals in the hospitality industry today, recognising and encouraging the most talented up and coming Chefs, Pastry Chefs and Waiters.  It is the only Award to cover all three categories of Kitchen, Pastry and Service.  Since it began in 1983 over 550 young professionals have achieved the Award, setting them off on highly successful career paths.

The purpose of the Award is to inspire and encourage young professionals 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.  To participate in the awards is a great learning experience.  Good basic skills are the essential cement with which young, ambitious members of the catering industry can build a rewarding career, while more taxing tasks help to identify the best cooks and waiters of today, who will become the leaders of tomorrow.

As well as a competition, the AAE is an examination; all or none of the candidates can achieve the Award depending on their ability to attain the standard of excellence set by the judges.  All those who successfully reach this standard will win the AAE.  In addition, the winning candidate who scores the most marks in each section is named the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Young Chef, Young Pastry Chef and Young Waiter of the Year.


The Awards are open to young people aged between 20 and 26, who are currently working full-time in the UK, as Chefs, Pastry Chefs or Waiters.  Selection is based on written essays and (for chefs) a recipe; the Awards test a variety of skills within each discipline.


Chefs can be tested on a variety of food preparation and cookery tasks from making a salad to butchery skills, and must demonstrate that they can prepare a variety of dishes including soups and dessert and a piece of their own free interpretation.

Pastry Chefs will be expected to demonstrate the ability to work with many different kinds of materials including detailed chocolate and sugar work and a creative presentation piece, whilst having an excellent grounding in baking and plated desserts.

Waiters are tested on their knowledge and skills on a wide range of food and beverage service aspects including product knowledge, technical service skills, interpersonal skills and teamwork. 


The Annual Awards of Excellence are launched in January each year.  The first round is a paper entry which will be judged in February, with successful applicants going on to compete in semi-finals in March.  The finals will be held in May and June.  You can keep up to date with the current awards through the News section of this website and the Royal Academy facebook and twitter pages.

Download the Application Form here

Please CLICK HERE to view the AAE 2016 film - kindly produced by Pavel Burmistrov

You can keep up-to-date with the Annual Awards of Excellence 2017 by reading our News page and following us on Twitter @AcadCulArts  #AAE2017.