Three hotel restaurant managers have made it through to the finals of the Academy of Food & Wine Service’s (AFWS) 2013 Restaurant Manager of the Year competition.
Grand Jersey Hotel & Spa’s Shaun Corrigan, Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons’ Paul Shanahan and Rebecca Galland from The Vineyard, Stockcross made the shortlist of eight.
AFWS executive director John Croft said that the quality of entrants and the diversity of sectors they work in had been particularly impressive this year, with competitors coming from casual dining, gastro pubs, ethnic restaurants, fine dining and contract catering.
“A good restaurant manager, wherever they work, must have great service skills, be able to relate to customers, manage staff, work under pressure, have a strong business acumen and be as familiar with the profit and loss accounts as they are with food and wine knowledge,” he added.
The eight finalists were selected during the semi-finals, held at the Moat House Acton Trussell in Staffordshire on September 16.
The final will be held at London’s Westbury Hotel on October 7, when the eight candidates will be set a series of tasks designed to test their skills, knowledge and business sense.
The competition will culminate in a “Dragon’s Den-style” scenario in which the competitors will pitch their own business plan for a pop-up restaurant concept to a panel of potential investors.
Former winner Peter Avis, restaurant manager at London’s Babylon restaurant, will head up the panel of judges.
The winner will be announced following a gala dinner attended by industry guests. As part of the prize the winner will travel to New York to spend time at Daniel Boulud’s Dinex Group of restaurants, gaining a unique insight into the running of various departments.
The runner-up will receive a place at the renowned business summer school run by the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne, sponsored by the Savoy Educational Trust.
Last year’s competition was won by Peter McAlister of the Culloden Estate and Spa in Belfast.
Tickets for the gala dinner cost £80 plus VAT for AFWS members, or £120 plus VAT for non-members. Email Daniel@afws.co,uk for more information.
The eight finalists are:
- Shaun Corrigan, Grand Jersey Hotel & Spa, Jersey
- Louise Denton, BaxterStorey at the English National Opera, London WC2
- Rebecca Galland, The Vineyard, Stockcross, Berkshire
- Clement Joseph, Royal Automobile Club, London SW1
- Stephen Morrison, La Vallee Blanche, Glasgow
- Paul Shanahan, Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, Oxfordshire
- Nola Sheng, The Hawksmoor, Spitalfields London E1
- Janine Swales, BaxterStorey at Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, London N17