Karen Gruet from Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshire has been named 2019 Scholar in the seventh year of the Gold Service Scholarship.
Gruet was unveiled as the winner of the competition for young professionals last night at a reception at Claridge’s Hotel, attended by 250 members of the hospitality industry, beating off stiff competition from staff working at the likes of Corinthia London and Hide Restaurant in the capital.
Gruet was one of eight contenders who fought it out at an assessment lunch held at Corinthia Hotel London two weeks earlier.
As part of her prize, she will select three work placement opportunities from a choice including one-week stage at Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok; a placement during a state banquet at Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle; a one-week stage at an overseas Rocco Forte hotel; and a five-day placement at the three Michelin-starred Waterside Inn in Bray, Berkshire.
Gruet is assistant restaurant manager at the Michelin two-starred restaurant at Le Manoir. French-born, she started her work career in the UK in 2013 at Le Manoir as a commis de rang, then moved to Restaurant Sat Bains in 2014 as a chef de rang.
Gruet then returned to Le Manoir in late 2014 where she has progressed through the front-of-house ranks of the restaurant.
Commenting on her role at the hotel, she enjoys anticipating and exceeding guests’ expectations, and is “extremely driven with a passion for knowledge and developing her skills.”
Chairman of the judges Edward Griffiths enthused about the high calibre of candidates for the 2019 Scholarship programme, stating: “Not only did we have a challenging time whittling down the initial 100 applicants at the early stages of the competition, but choosing the Scholar from the group of eight winning
Special commendations have also been noted for two of the finalists – James Dainton, of The Northall at Corinthia Hotel London, for showing the most potential, and Tiziano de Mattia, of Hide Restaurant in London, who presented the most consistent performance.