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. Each year the Young Chef, Young Pastry Chef and Young Waiter of The Year are awarded a once in a lifetime scholarship trip. You can read the 2017 winners trip reports below: Elena Bockshecker, Young Pastry Chef of The Year 2017 – LA Trip Report Lewis Hunter, Young Waiter of The Year 2017 – LA Trip Report Henry Wadsworth, Young Chef of The Year 2017 – LA Report

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 work, 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 seen here: AAE past winners 1988 -2019

Why you should enter?

Becoming an Annual Awards of Excellence winner has propelled many young careers over the years. Read how it affected household names such as Nathan Outlaw, Mark Sargeant and Clare Clark MCA along with many others here.

AAE Diary Dates

Launch AAE 2019

Monday 7th January

Application closing date

Monday 4th February


  • Service Quarter-Final London – Saturday 23rd February, The Langham
  • Service Quarter-Final Scotland – Monday 25th February, Gleneagles


  • Service Semi-Final Scotland – Monday 18th March, Trump Turnberry
  • Service Semi-Final London – Saturday 23rd March, The Ritz
  • Kitchen & Pastry Semi-Final Regional – Wednesday 17th April, University of West London, Westminster Kingsway College, University College Birmingham


  • Service Final London – Monday 13th May, Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester
  • Kitchen & Pastry Final London – Wednesday 19th June, University of West London

Gala Dinner

  • Friday 12th 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