Grape expectations for wine expert Ben

Gold Service Scholarship trustees, from left to right: David Battersby (MD, Hospitality and Leisure Manpower), Edward Griffiths (Deputy Master of the Household, Buckingham Palace), Sara Jayne Stanes (Director of the Academy of Culinary Arts), Sergio Rebecchi (Director, Incognico / Quirinale), Alastair Storey (Chairman, BaxterStorey), John Davey (The John Davey Consultancy), Willy Bauer (Chairman, AB Hotels).
Gold Service Scholarship trustees, from left to right: David Battersby (MD, Hospitality and Leisure Manpower), Edward Griffiths (Deputy Master of the Household, Buckingham Palace), Sara Jayne Stanes (Director of the Academy of Culinary Arts), Sergio Rebecchi (Director, Incognico / Quirinale), Alastair Storey (Chairman, BaxterStorey), John Davey (The John Davey Consultancy), Willy Bauer (Chairman, AB Hotels).
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Wine expert, Ben Robinson has beat off competition from across the country to secure a place in the national final of the hospitality industry’s most prestigious competition – The Gold Service Scholarship.

Backed by leading independent corporate restaurateur, BaxterStorey, The Gold Service Scholarship is a new and bold initiative designed to inspire a new generation of young people to make a professional career out of front of house hospitality. The winner will receive a year of mentoring; educational training, travel and work experience delivered personally by the best in the business. The six finalists have already been mentored by the likes of Edward Griffiths, Deputy Master of the Royal Household, Buckingham Palace, and Silvano Giraldin, Director of Roux Restaurants, and competed in regional heats to gain their place in the final.

Ben, 22, from Shabbington, who works as a Sommelier at the Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, in Great Milton, said: “It’s a privilege to be one of the national finalists. I have a great passion for the industry and this scholarship is a fantastic opportunity to learn different service aspects from professionals within hospitality. It’s crazy to think this is the first hospitality competition I’ve ever entered, so it goes to show you can do anything if you put your mind to it.”

Alastair Storey, Chairman of BaxterStorey and sponsor of the Gold Service Scholarship, added: “I am very proud to be part of this scholarship. It has given us the chance to show young people the fantastic career paths open to them and just how much fun there is to be had working in hospitality. The talent and enthusiasm of the competitors has been incredibly high and I’m in no doubt that they will become ambassadors to our industry.”

The final of the Gold Service Scholarship will take place on 11 February at Westminster Kingsway College, London, where contestants will demonstrate their service skills to judges and invited guests at a special lunch. The first Gold Service Scholar will be announced later the same evening at an awards ceremony at the esteemed Claridge’s Hotel in Mayfair.