Young Chef Young Waiter 2020 Finalists Announced

The finalists for Young Chef Young Waiter UK and China / South East Asia competition have been announced for 2020. The sixteen UK finalists and nine China / South East Asia finalists were chosen by our UK Head Chef Judge Theo Randall, UK Head Waiter Judge Simon King and Chairwoman of China / South East Asia Judges Ching He Huang.

Lewis Glaister of Scott’s
Alexandra Henderson of The Lansdowne Club
Declan Wilkins from The Hand and Flowers

The Young Chef Young Waiter Competition

The Young Chef Young Waiter competition, which was established in 1979, was relaunched by The Nth Degree Global last year in partnership with UKHospitality and the Restaurant Association, to promote hospitality as a career of choice, a profession and a vocation. The event is supporting The Springboard Charity’s FutureChef and the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Adopt a School.

Young Chef Young Waiter UK is being supported by Mercedes-Benz Retail Group, Arla Pro UK, Alpha Rewards, TheFork, Tatler, Paymentsense, KuulEats ‘For the Independents’, Firetree Chocolate, Cayman Islands, Wine&Something, DIGICOOL, The Mussel Man, Champagne Frerejean Frères, Caviar House & Prunier, HG Walter, Steelite, Lynn Mackie Bespoke Uniforms and YesChef. Young Chef Young Waiter China / South East Asia is supported by Wynn, Lee Kum Kee, Yukata, EVA Air, Wing Yip. Find out more about our supporters here.

The finalists submitted a video entry and questionnaire which was assessed anonymously by our panel of judges (any judges connected to an entrant, did not judge that specific entry).

Young Chef Young Waiter UK

Finalists for Best Young Chef of the Year are:

Alexandra Henderson The Lansdowne Club

Ali Halbert Hencote, The View

Freya Popham Restaurant Associates, Societe Generale

Lewis Glaister Scott’s

Liam Smith The Gleneagles Hotel

Masudi Nestor Pene Claude Bosi at Bibendum

Peter Meechan Gleneagles Hotel

Valère Ruiz 14 Hills

Finalists for Best Young Waiter of the Year are:

Cristina Daniela Gaucho

Declan Wilkins The Hand and Flowers

Florian David The Waterside Inn

George Smart The Chewton Glen Hotel & Spa

Hellie Honney The Gleneagles Hotel

Martin McRae The Gleneagles Hotel

Remy Baben Wild Honey St James

Ruhit Abdul Hide Restaurant

Young Chef Young Waiter China / South East Asia

Finalists for Best Young Chef of the Year are:

Qing lee Chen Imperial Treasure

Tibor Palasti The Sushi Bar Harrods

Maurine Lordios Kai Mayfair

Kevin Hoang Lu Ban

Finalists for Best Young Waiter of the Year are:

Sabrina Aquilina Ting Restaurant & Lounge, Shangri-la Hotel

Julien Peigneux Ting Restaurant & Lounge, Shangri-la Hotel

Marie Bouquet Shangri-La Hotel

Simone Rizzo Ting Restaurant & Lounge, Shangri-la Hotel

Iris Buchner A Wong Restaurant

YCYW Chairman Robert Walton MBE
YCYW UK Head of Chef Judges Theo Randall
YCYW UK Head of Waiter Judges Simon King
Chairwoman of YCYW China / South East Asia Ching He Huang

The Judges Young Chef Young Waiter UK

Our digital entries were judged by leading figures from the hospitality industry. The judging panel for Young Chef Young Waiter UK includes our Head Chef Judge Theo Randall and Head Waiter Judge Simon King along with Jason Atherton, Tom Kerridge, Claude Bosi, Emily Roux, Tom Aikens, Jeff and Chris Galvin, Andy Downton, Brian Turner CBE, Adam Handling Johanna Wimmer, Merlin Labron-Johnson, Sanjay Dwivedi, Ruth Hansom, John Williams, Ollie Dabbous, Matthew Ryle, Adam Simmonds, Dimi Leivadas, Jennifer Santner, James Fleming, Beatrice Bessi, Andrew McKenzie, Dimitri Bellos, Jonno Forbes, Luigi Cagnin and Antonio Salvatore. Read more about judges here.

The Judges Young Chef Young Waiter China / South East Asia

The panel of judges includes Ken Hom OBE, Andrew Wong of Michelin Starred A Wong, Tony Truong of Mei Ume at The Four Seasons, Chef Wee Boon Goh at Imperial Treasure and Chef Chong Choi Fong of China Tang at The Dorchester. For the Front of House Young Waiter Judges we have Restaurant Director Alan Tang of Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard, London, Andy Downton of Park Chinois, Bernard Yeoh of Kai Mayfair, John Man at China Tang at The Dorchester. Read more about our judges here.

Robert Walton MBE said: “As we reach the end of 2020, we are optimistic for 2021. This has been a turbulent year for hospitality yet it has been heartening to see the support and ingenuity from everyone in the industry. Young Chef Young Waiter harnesses the talents of young professionals and the competition offers them a platform for the future. We are grateful to all our sponsors and partners for their continued support and we will look forward to the final.”

Theo Randall said: “2020 has been very difficult for everyone, but particularly those of us who work within hospitality. YCYW is a fantastic platform for young talented professionals to show off their skills and this year has been no exception. The quality of the entries has been better than ever and I only wish we could have seen their talents…I look forward to 2021 when we can get back to judging this truly great competition. Thank you to everyone that has taken part, especially the sponsors, who have offered their time and products at a very challenging time.”

Ching He Huang said: “It has been a tough year for the hospitality industry, despite this we are delighted to have attracted some high calibre entrants within our industry. The aim of this competition is to support the next generation of talent to recognise and award those who continue to give their all, as well as attracting promising young talent to work in our special industry. We are all still very determined to continue with this goal. It is a shame the competition cannot go ahead for safety reasons in 2020. I wish to personally thank all the leading judges and sponsors for all their time and generous support thus far. Together, we look forward to crowning and celebrating the winners of Young Chef Young Waiter China/South East Asia, making it even better in 2021!”

Supporters of Young Chef Young Waiter UK

Mercedes-Benz Retail Group | Stephen Hanifan Fleet Sales Director said: “We are proud to support an important initiative such as Young Chef Younger Waiter UK– especially with the synergies that the Mercedes-Benz brand stands for. Our cars are synonymous with innovation and sustainable luxury and at Mercedes-Benz Retail Group – we are huge advocates in developing and nurturing young talent. Well done to the finalists and we look forward to hearing who will be awarded Young Chef Young Waiter UK for 2020.”

Alpha Rewards | Lindsay Treasure, Managing Partner – Alpha Solutions group of companies said: “The Alpha Rewards platform not only provides the tools an employer needs to attract, reward and retain employees but also provides much needed every-day support and never has this been more vital for an industry which is one of the largest employers in the UK and yet has been one of the least supported during these unprecedented times. We are delighted to continue supporting the Young Chef Young Waiter competition which highlights the wonderful talent coming up through the industry and deserving of all our attention. As businesses and individuals, the support and encouragement we can give the next generation of achievers, now more than ever, is vital for the continued success of our society. EMPLOYEE RECOGNITION AT ITS FINEST!”

Arla Pro UK | Jonathan Dixon, Vice President – Arla Pro UK said: “Arla Pro is focused on delivering the best of dairy for use in professional kitchens. We give our chef partners the means to mastery with milk, cheese and butter products tested for kitchen performance and made with the highest quality milk from our farmer owners. We are delighted to be sponsoring YCYW and making a positive impact on the future of hospitality in the UK.”

Arla Pro UK | Jenna Hodgson-Silke, Head of Marketing – Arla Pro UK said: “We work with professional chefs all over the world to develop natural, high quality dairy products that function in the professional kitchen and we understand that better food means better business. Our farmer owners are proud to sponsor Young Chef Young Waiter 2020 and give support to the next generation of talent which will drive the industry forward.”

The Cookaway | Company founders Nidhi and Sahil Verma, said: “The Cookaway team is excited to be able to support the Young Chef, Young Waiter Awards this year. There has never been a more important time to support the restaurant industry and the young talent shaping its future. As a team of experienced chefs ourselves, we know the immense value that comes from championing fresh new talent and helping to ensure brilliant chefs and waiters gain the recognition they deserve. We’re proud to be a part of this great tradition”. 

The Fork | Patrick Hooykaas, The Fork MD, says: “We are delighted to announce our sponsorship of Young Chef Young Waiter. As the UK’s leading online restaurant reservation site we have unwavering support for the restaurant and hospitality industry. It is important that we all support initiatives which invest in and help the development at the grass roots of the industry to inspire and nurture the next generation. We look forward to being part of this successful event.”

KuulEats | Simon Rand of KuulEats said:”KuulEats is proud to sponsor the Young Chef Young Waiter competition and to support the next generation of talent in the UK. As innovators in the restaurant tech world, we also want to celebrate those that innovate in the hospitality industry”

Musselman | Robert Bicker and Francoise Fielding said: “Musselman is delighted to support the Young Chef Young Waiter Award as a sponsor and play our part in recognising the outstanding achievements across the industry. Being able to identify and award young talent is fundamental in creating and driving forward the very highest standards and we are amouncly proud to be a part of this process. This year’s winners will no doubt be fantastic examples of how truly vibrant and resilient our industry is. It’s always inspiring to see such a wide range of skills and innovation being applauded.”

Paymentsense | Guy Moreve, Chief Marketing Officer of Paymentsense said: “YCYW is a fantastic and prestigious competition that really understands and recognises the level of talent and dedication it takes to be a fantastic chef or waiter. This year the hospitality space has seen unrivalled challenges, and business owners have worked tirelessly to save and transform their restaurants, pubs and cafes. We want to acknowledge their colossal efforts by supporting the industry and it’s promising future. Paymentsense is grateful for all of our amazingly stoic customers in the food and beverage space, and wider restaurant owners. They have not only weathered the storm, but come out with a whole new lease of life and passion to serve their community and customers. We’re excited to see the next generation rise through the ranks and the future of great food.”

Supporters of Young Chef Young Waiter China / South East Asia

Wynn | Kristoffer Luczak, Executive Vice President of Food & Beverage for Wynn Macau, Limited said, “Wynn has been actively cultivating young talents to further promote the development of the food and beverage industry. The Young Chef Young Waiter Competition is an ideal platform to recognize young professionals and Wynn is proud to support its efforts, hoping to inspire this next generation to pursue their future career development and contribute to the industry.”

Lee Kum Kee | By Ms Maria Chong, Managing Director of Lee Kum Kee: “We are always happy to support the foodservice industry development in one way or another. Besides, this is a tough year for the restaurants industry due to pandemic. We are grateful to be part of this meaningful event to keep the industry going while encouraging young talents to live up with their passion in pursuit of a colourful career in the foodservice industry and the culinary world. Our company mission is very much in support of culinary culture development, hence simply a perfect match.”

EVA Air | Bruce Wang, General Manager of EVA Air UK Branch: “We are delighted to be sponsoring the Young Chef Young Waiter China/Asia 2020 Awards. EVA Air has an excellent reputation for its onboard food and wine and our links to this high profile event help provide the perfect opportunity to highlight these credentials and at the same time support a very worthy event.”

Wing Yip | Director, Brian Yip said: “We are delighted to be sponsoring the Young Chef Young Waiter competition and awards. It is imperative that as an industry we continue to encourage young culinary talent. Competitions such as this are a fantastic way to bring together the great and the good in hospitality to inspire and share their talent and experience with our chefs and front of house of the future. Congratulations to all of the finalists and best of luck!”

14th December 2020

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