The result was announced at a sold-out awards ceremony organised by the Institute of Hospitality and the Academy of Food and Wine Service at The Savoy in London last night (7 January). The competition, now in its tenth year, rewards the very best in the industry and is open to restaurant managers of all types of operation.
Jennifer Santner from Angler restaurant at the South Place hotel in London was named runner-up. The other two finalists, selected from nine semi-finalists, were Pauline Henry from Brasserie Joël at Park Plaza Westminster Bridge and Vincenzo Mancinelli from Hide Above.
Chief executive of the Institute of Hospitality, Peter Ducker, said: “We had more than 50 applicants to what is a very rigorous competition, so it is a tremendous achievement even to reach the semi-finals. The competition is about finding the best restaurant manager but also about sharing ideas, learning from each other and celebrating the role.”
During the morning session, the semi-finalists were given tasks in four areas: recruitment and the skills gap; allergens; a business case study; and an interview with the judges. The four finalists then went on to act out two restaurant management scenarios (a staff briefing and a service situation) in front of the VIP audience of more than 120 industry professionals.
Thanks to the support of the Savoy Educational Trust, Kubart wins the opportunity to attend a summer school at École Hôtelière de Lausanne to study hospitality management modules of his choice. The prize covers tuition, flights and accommodation. Other prizes include a year’s membership of the Institute of Hospitality and invitations to key industry events. All four finalists are offered mentoring by leading industry figures.
The semi-finalists were:
- Jennifer Santner, Angler restaurant, South Place hotel, London
- Christopher Bakowski, Alyn Williams at the Westbury, London
- Shashi Prakash, Gilpin Hotel & Lake House, Windermere, Cumbria
- Vincenzo Mancinelli, Hide Above, London
- Tomas Kubart, Kerridge’s Bar & Grill, Corinthia Hotel London
- Rebecca Galland, the Vineyard Hotel and Spa, Newbury, Berkshire
- Jacopo Nardini, Indigo restaurant, One Aldwych, London
- Simon Warren, the Ivy Temple Row, Birmingham
- Pauline Henry, Brasserie Joël, Park Plaza Westminster Bridge, London
The judges were:
- John Cousins
- Stéphane Davaine
- Rory Kelly-Naughton
- Andras Lakezi
- Matthew Mawtus (Winner 2016)
- Kieran McLoughlin (Winner 2018)
- Romain Pottier
- Paul Shanahan
- Ludovic Solmi
- Roy Sommer
- Ian Sturrock (Winner 2015)
- Johanna Wimmer
- Alper Zan (Winner 2014)