The restaurant manager at luxury country hotel Gravetye Manor has been the best in the UK, after scooping a coveted award this month.
Kieran McLoughlin, who has been at the property since August 2016, beat off stiff competition to be named the UK Restaurant Manager of the Year, which is organised by the Academy of Food and Wine Service and in its ninth year.
The Academy 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.”
McLoughlin will actually leave Gravetye Manor this year, to move over to the role of general manager at prestigious chef Ollie Dabbous’ new restaurant, due to open in London’s Mayfair in 2018.
The runner-up award in the competition 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 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.”
As part of his award McLoughlin 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.