Winners announced for Annual Awards of Excellence 2018

Publish Date: July 6, 2018 Posted By: Rosanna Frost



Following an extraordinary number of entries this year, the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts is proud to announce the names of the 21 Winners of the Annual Awards of Excellence 2018 (see end for full list).

The AAE is not a competition rather an examination where all or none of the candidates could achieve the Award depending on their ability to attain the standard of excellence set by the judges. All those who successfully reach this standard win the AAE. In addition, the candidate scoring the highest marks in their section is named the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Young Chef, Young Pastry Chef or Young Waiter 2018.

The Annual Awards of Excellence is the most prestigious award available to young professionals in the hospitality industry today, recognising and encouraging the most talented ambitious chefs, pastry chefs and waiters. Since it began in 1983, over 600 young professionals have achieved the Award, setting them off on highly successful career paths.

The purpose of the Awards 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 AAE is a great learning experience in itself. To achieve the Award, candidates had to attain a score of over 70% in the tasks set and judged by industry luminaries and chaired by John Williams MBE, Executive Chef, The Ritz London and Chairman of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts.

Kitchen Finalists had five hours to produce four portions of a starter, using ingredients from a mystery box, where crab was the central component and had to shine through; four portions of a classic Alain Ducasse pigeon dish; roast squab pigeon, pommes dauphine and diable sauce plated on a flat; and finally their own modern interpretation of an gooseberry dessert from the entry task each candidate had previously prepared.

Pastry Finalists had five and a half hours to produce 12 allumettes, 16 dipped chocolates with a raspberry ganache centre of their choice; 16 sable tartlets and 16 creative financiers, and finally a sugar stand with a flower to incorporate the theme of a summer fairground.

Service Finalists were required to decant and describe wine to the judging panel, as well as set up and serve a 3 course meal with wines to a table of two guest judges.

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For further information please contact Daniel Moriss-Jeffery
Tel: 020 8673 6300 / E-mail:
Royal Academy of Culinary Arts, 53 Cavendish Road, London SW12 0BL
Follow us on Twitter @AcadCulArts #AAE2018


Gercelynn Mae Dionio; Restaurant Hywel Jones (Lucknam Park Hotel and Spa)
Connor Farrer; The Ritz London
Faye De Souza; Restaurant Associates, Deloitte
Frederick Smith; The Pig on the Beach
Jade Stevens; Restaurant Hywel Jones (Lucknam Park Hotel and Spa)
Andrew Tranter; Trinity

Sophie Bamford; 21, Newcastle
Nicholas Bentley; Belmond Le Manoir Aux Quat'Saisons
Bastien Carriou; Harrods
Nikola Krikavova; Hakkasan, Hanway Place

Dimitri Auriant; Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester
Alessandro Bellu; The Ritz London
Catarina Caldeira; The Vineyard Hotel and Spa, Stockross
Elizabeth Forkuoh; The Strathearn - The Gleneagles Hotel
Giovanna Gucciardo; Le Gavroche
Valerija Kirjackaja; The Ritz London
Ryan Kenyon; André Garrett at Cliveden House
Marion Pépin; Core by Clare Smyth
Alana Quigley; The Birnam Brasserie - The Gleneagles Hotel
Andrea Saccogna; The Woodspeen
Bethan Sampson; Pollen Street Social

Honorary President of the AAE 2018: JASON ATHERTON, Chef Patron, The Social Company
Chairman of the AAE: JOHN WILLIAMS MBE, Executive Chef, The Ritz London
Joint Chairmen of Kitchen: MARTYN NAIL, Executive Chef, Claridge’s and HYWEL JONES, Head Chef, Restaurant Hywel Jones
Joint Chairmen of Pastry: YOLANDE STANLEY MCA, The Pastry Training Company & SARAH HARTNETT, Pastry Consultant
Joint Chairmen of Service: SERGIO REBECCHI, Director, Serenata Hospitality and JOHN COUSINS, Director, The Food and Beverage Training Company

The Royal Academy of Culinary Arts is immensely grateful to the sponsors of the AAE 2018: ACT Clean; Berkmann Wine Cellars (product); Evolve Hospitality Recruitment; Maple from Canada; Champagne Laurent-Perrier; Maldon Crystal Salt Company; L’Unico Caffe Musetti; Savoy Educational Trust (Scholarship); Speyside Glenlivet (product); Wedgwood; Woods Foodservice; The Caterer (Media Partner).

The winning candidates are invited to a Gala Dinner at Claridge’s on Tuesday 10th July, at which they will be presented with a diploma recognising their achievement, a chefs jacket (for the Kitchen and Pastry) thanks to Continental Chef Supplies or lapel pin (for the Service), and a magnum of Champagne Laurent-Perrier. The candidate who has scored the highest mark in each section – the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Young Chef, Young Pastry Chef or Young Waiter of the year – will be announced at the dinner and will be presented with prizes including a scholarship, thanks to the Savoy Educational Trust, MAC knives and cookware thanks to Continental Chef Supplies, a specially commissioned engraved Silver Trophy and a day’s work experience at The Fat Duck thanks to Heston Blumenthal.

Leading the hospitality profession by example - shaping the future through education.
Founded in 1980, the Academy of Culinary Arts is Britain’s leading professional association of Head Chefs, Pastry Chefs, Restaurant Managers and suppliers. The ‘Royal’ title was gifted to the Academy of Culinary Arts in 2013. While concerned with raising standards and awareness of food, food provenance, cooking and service, its objectives are primarily focused on the education and training of young people in the hospitality industry through apprenticeships and awards and the provision and development of career opportunities.

Patron of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts: His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales.