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Finalists announced for UK restaurant manager of the year

Published:  20 May, 2009

Six finalists have been announced for the first UK Restaurant Manager of the Year competition organised by the Academy of Food & Wine.

The competition which was held in London earlier this week saw semi-finalists having to deal with swift solutions when presented with a set of typical scenarios such as double-bookings, staff calling in sick, or suppliers not delivering an order on time.

Based on the results, the following six entrants have now been chosen to go forward to the final at the Langham, London, on June 15, 2009:

Peter Avis, Babylon at Roof Gardens, London
Mark Bevan, Chester Grosvenor, Cheshire
Christopher Noone, Liverpool Community College, Liverpool
Michael Stokes, Wiltons, London
Alison Stubberfield, Theo Randall at the InterContinental London Park Lane
Giuseppe Vurchio, Macdonald Randolph Hotel, Oxford

The competition supported by the National Skills Academy for Hospitality and sponsored by OpenTable and Keystone Recruitment.

Sophie Roberts-Brown, the Academy's executive director said: "Several of our Academy members approached us about running a competition that recognises and showcases the skills of restaurant managers.

"We've had a great response to it. All the entries have been of a very high standard and from a real mix of establishments."

Competitors initially submitted a written entry outlining what qualities they thought a restaurant manager should have.

Their responses to the two business scenarios formed the next task, judged by a panel of judges that included well-known former Le Gavroche maitre d' Silvano Giraldin; Academy director Matt Wilkin MS, proprietor, Princess Victoria, London, and chair of judges Conor O'Leary, F&B manager, Andaz, London.

Roberts-Brown added: "We are looking for financial acumen, management skill, market knowledge and product knowledge as well as a thorough understanding of the hospitality industry and current trends."

For the next stage of the competition the finalists will submit and present a restaurant concept, business plan and profit and loss account to the panel of judges and then answer questions about it.

They will also have to complete a short wine tasting and food matching exercise.

The name of the winner will be announced at a dinner on 15 June with the winning restaurant manager receiving a week-long trip to New York to complete a stage at a top restaurant.

The winner's restaurant will also receive a 12-month subscription to the OpenTable reservation system.