Kieran McLoughlin of Gravetye Manor Hotel has been named the UK’s Restaurant Manager of the Year during a prize-giving ceremony at the Royal Garden Hotel, London yesterday (8 January).
The UK Restaurant Manager of the Year competition, now in its ninth year, is run by the Academy of Food and Wine Service (AFWS), which was acquired by the Institute of Hospitality last year.
McLoughlin was one of four finalists who performed management role-playing scenarios in front of a live audience as well as being interviewed by industry leaders.
He said: “This really validates what I have been doing with my life and it’s a lovely payback to the people that I have worked with. The competition was very tough and represented the creme-de-la-creme of the industry and I’m very proud to be mentioned in the same breath as the other finalists.”
The runner-up award went to Jennifter Santner, Sketch, London, and the other two finalists were
Nick Emmott, English’s of Brighton and Rebecca Galland, The Vineyard Hotel, Berkshire
Tasks were observed and assessed by a prestigious panel of judges, including Roy Sommer, chairman of The Food & Beverage Manager Association, who commented: “This award is about the overall package. To be an award-winning restaurant manager, you need to have everything under control, remain calm, guide your team through service and ensure that guests have the best possible experience. And if they don’t, it’s how restaurant managers deal with the situation that makes them stand out.”
Another judge, Alper Zan, operations manager and hospitality consultant, won the title in 2014 and so he has seen this competition from both sides. He said: “This is a really special award for our industry because it provides an opportunity to recognise, learn and celebrate the success of front of house managers. I believe we need to do more to champion front of house service and restaurant managers in our country. It is a privilege to support, learn and influence people who have devoted their life to serve others.”
As part of his award Kieran will attend Spring or Summer School at The École hôtelière de Lausanne, Switzerland to study modules of his choice and enjoy networking with professionals. The prize covers tuition, flights and accommodation. Kieran also wins a one-week stage at the stunning Hotel Hermitage in Monte Carlo, plus magnums of Rueda wine and Grand Cru Champagne André Jacquart. All finalists are given the opportunity to be mentored throughout the year post-event by leading industry figures.