Royal Academy of Culinary Arts names 2019 Awards of Excellence winners

The 18 recipients of this year’s award, which sees young professionals in the hospitality industry judged on a series of tasks, have been announced.

An examination rather than a competition, the annual AAE is designed to inspire young professionals to aim for the highest possible standards in their chosen profession and to offer them guidelines on how to achieve this.

Open to those aged between 20 and 26 years, the success of achieving the award depends upon a candidate’s ability to attain a score of 70% in the tasks set by a panel of judges.

Since it began in 1983, more than 600 young professionals have achieved the award.

Comprising of industry leaders, this year’s judges included executive chef at the Ritz London, John Williams, and chef-patron of the Social Company, Jason Atherton.

Service finalists were required to set up and silver-serve a three-course meal and decant and describe wines to a table of two guest judges.

Utilising ingredients from an unmarked box, kitchen finalists had five hours to produce four portions of a starter where mackerel was the core ingredient; four portions of their own modern interpretation of a French-trimmed rack of lamb using the entry task each candidate had previously prepared; and a single 20cm savarin finished with Chantilly cream, strawberries and raspberries.

Assigned the theme of ‘christening,’ pastry finalists had five and a half hours to create a 20cm christening cake entremet-style to sit on top of a nougatine stand; fifteen marshmallow lollipops; fifteen vegan bonbons consisting of moulded chocolate with ganache; and fifteen Swiss rochers.  

Taking place at Claridge’s in London on 12 July, winning candidates are invited to attend a gala dinner where they will be presented with a diploma and a magnum of Champagne Laurent-Perrier alongside a chef’s jacket for kitchen or pastry and a lapel pin for service winners.

Candidates who scored highest in each section will be announced at the event offering winners of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Young Chef, Young Pastry Chef or Young Waiter of the Year receiving prizes such as a Savoy Educational Trust scholarship; Robert Welch knives; and work experience at either the Fat Duck in Berkshire or with Jason Atherton’s Social Company.


• Thomas Gammella, the Woodspeen Restaurant & Cookery School, Newbury, Berkshire

• Dawid Szczucki, Number One, the Balmoral hotel, Edinburgh

• Andrea Nuninger, Restaurant Coworth Park, Ascot, Berkshire

• Mattia Marcelli, Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester, London

• Eleanor Dimes, Restaurant Hywel Jones by Lucknam Park, Chippenham, Wiltshire

• Sophie Heyer, the Strathearn, Gleneagles, Auchterarder, Perthshire

• Kayleigh Thorogood, L’Enclume, Cartmel, Cumbria

• Miguel Blanco, the Ritz London

• Mariangel Victoria Padrón Franchy, the Vineyard hotel, Newbury, Berkshire


• Charles Parkins, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat Saisons, Great Milton, Oxfordshire

• Lillian Savage, the Royal Household

• Ellie Smith, the Wolseley, London

• Lydia Uglow, Pretty Sweet, London


• Daniel Cornish, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons

• Charlie Crote, Allegra, London

• Rich Henderson, Restaurant Hywel Jones by Lucknam Park

• Dwayne Marcellin, HSBC Restaurant Associates

• Jamaar Semper-House, Restaurant Hywel Jones by Lucknam Park

The judges included:

• Honorary president: Jason Atherton, chef-patron of the Social Company

• Chairman: John Williams, executive chef, the Ritz London

• Chairmen of kitchen: Martyn Nail, executive chef at Claridge’s in London

• Hywel Jones, head chef at Restaurant Hywel Jones by Lucknam Park

• Chairmen of pastry: Yolande Stanley, the Pastry Training Company

• Sarah Hartnett, pastry consultant

• Joint chairmen of service: Sergio Rebecchi, director of Serenata Hospitality, and John Cousins, director of the Food and Beverage Training Company

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