2017 Scholar – Stephanie Beresforde​

Marking its 5th year, the Gold Service Scholarship has quickly become a hallmark of excellence for young men and women from front-of-house roles throughout the UK hospitality industry. Stephanie Beresforde won the 2017 Scholarship at a gala reception at Claridge’s Hotel, London.

At the time of winning her accolade, Stephanie worked at Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant in Padstow, Cornwall, as Assistant Restaurant Manager. Prior to that she was Chef de Rang at Scott’s Restaurant in Mayfair, London. She returned to London in Spring 2016 to lead the training of the front-of-house staff for Rick Stein’s new restaurant in Barnes, and now takes up the role of Assistant Restaurant Manager at Jean-Georges at the Connaught.

Stephanie, aged 25 at the time of winning, impressed the judges with her self-assurance, astute knowledge and professional poise. Throughout the rigorous assessment period, which saw more than 100 talented candidates whittled down to just eight Finalists, it was evident that Stephanie had a very special appreciation of the hospitality role that is so vital in the success of a restaurant. Edward Griffiths, Chair of the Judges, commented:

“Stephanie’s detailed product knowledge and service skills, along with her positive approach to her role at The Seafood Restaurant identified her as a confident winner and an ideal Scholar.”

“The judging period, from Quarter Final sessions to the Semi Final (new this year) to the Final is a rigorous process, but each stage revealed candidates with determination, dedication and focus,” explained Judge Sergio Rebecchi. “And, as proven with Stephanie’s success this year, if at first you don’t achieve the Scholar win, try again – she was an admirable Finalist in 2016, and learned a great deal from the experience which she channelled to this year’s Scholarship.”

Among the Scholar’s prizes, including educational wine and food travel experiences, Stephanie will join the Trustees and her employer at a private lunch at Coutts to plan the coming year of work placements and mentoring sessions. These opportunities range from an invitation to Champagne Laurent-Perrier, a three-day placement at Buckingham Palace during a State Visit, and a two-week WSET wine course, to work placements at The Waterside Inn and/or Le Gavroche restaurants, and a week’s work experience at a Mandarin Oriental hotel in the UK or abroad.

Special ‘Commendation’ has been made for Finalist Ashley Best, who is a Food & Beverage Trainee at The Ritz Hotel, London, and who deserves credit for impressing the Judges with his positive attitude, strong skill set and huge potential within the industry – and all at the age of 22. He joined The Ritz as an Apprentice Chef aged 16, progressing to Demi Chef de Partie, and then moved from the kitchen to front-of-house in 2015. In this short career, he has made a strong impression on both his employers and those involved in the Gold Service Scholarship. The other Finalists will receive an array of prizes including a Tea Masterclass and Vineyard visits.

In January 2019 Stephanie embarked on a year of travelling around the world with her fiancé, 2015 Finalist, Lukas Andr, her travels are well documented via her twitter page. When they return to the UK they plan to settle Cornwall.

The other six very talented Finalists in this year’s competition were:

Alexandra-Iulia Caciuc – 45 Jermyn Street, London
Manuel Marchetti – The Waterside Inn, Bray
Tom Noller – Merchants Tavern, London
Luis Oliveira Santos – Rosewood, London
Alexandra Spatar – The Woodspeen Restaurant & Cookery School, Berkshire
Nina Thomsen – L’Enclume, Cumbria