Annual Awards of Excellence

The Annual Awards of Excellence (AAE), established in 1983, are the most prestigious awards available to young people in the hospitality industry today.

By recognising the most talented up and coming chefs, pastry chefs and waiters, these remain the only awards to cover all three categories of kitchen, pastry and service. The AAE is not just a competition but an examination, which means that every candidate has the chance to take home an award. It all comes down to their ability to meet the level of skill and excellence demanded by the judges. The top-scoring recipients of the AAE in each category will also be presented with the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Young Chef, Young Pastry Chef and Young Waiter of the Year awards.

Take part in the industry’s most distinguished award for young Chefs, Pastry Chefs and Waiters.Open to Chefs, Pastry Chefs and Waiters aged between 20 and 26. Enter Annual Awards of Excellence Today

Who can enter?

Young people (aged 20-26) and working full-time in the UK as chefs, pastry chefs or waiters. Each entrant must submit an essay and (for chefs) a recipe ahead of a skills test within each discipline.

Chefs can be tested on a variety of food preparation and cookery tasks, from making a salad to butchery skills. They must demonstrate that they can prepare a number 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 awork, and a creative presentation piece, as well as an excellent grounding in baking and plated desserts.
Waiters are tested on their knowledge and skills in a wide range of food and beverage service aspects. These include product knowledge, technical service skills, interpersonal skills and teamwork.

Past Winners

A full list of past Annual Awards of Excellence winners can be downloaded here.

What is the AAE format?

Launch AAE 2018

Monday 8th January

Application closing date

Monday 5th February


  • Service Quarter-Final London – Saturday 17th February, The Langham
  • Service Quarter-Final Scotland – Monday 19th February, Gleneagles


  • Service Semi-Final London – Saturday 17th March, The Ritz
  • Service Semi-Final Scotland – Monday 19th March, Trump Turnberry
  • Kitchen Semi-Final Regional – Wednesday 11th April, University of West London, Westminster Kingsway College, University College Birmingham
  • Pastry Semi-Final Birmingham – Wednesday 11th April, University College Birmingham


  • Service Final London – Monday 14th May, Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester
  • Service Final Scotland – Saturday 19st May, Gleneagles
  • Kitchen Final London – Wednesday 6th June, University of West London or Westminster Kingsway College
  • Pastry Final Birmingham – Tuesday: 19th June, University College Birmingham

Gala Dinner

  • Gala Dinner – Tuesday: 10th July, Claridge’s

Our sponsors

Our committee members consist of


Jason Artherton

Honorary President


John Williams MBE

Chairman of the AAE

Martyn Nail

Chairman of Kitchen

Hywel Jones

Chairman of Kitchen


Yolande Stanley MCA

Chairman of Pastry

Sarah Hartnett

Chairman of Pastry

Sergio Rebecchi

Chairman of Service


John Cousins

Chairman of Service

AAE Committee

Our committee is made up of leading figures from the hospitality industry. Download PDF List