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Inaugural Gold Service Scholarship winner is revealed
Rebecca Dibben, a 22-year-old restaurant supervisor at Deseo Mediterranean Restaurant, Gleneagles Hotel, has won the inaugural Gold Service Scholarship. She beat five other finalists who competed at a special lunch service held at London’s Westminster Kingsway College on Monday (11 February).
Following regional finals in Birmingham and London, the six finalists each served a three-course lunch with wines for six invited tables of four while the judges observed. Before the lunch the guests were served champagne and canapés in a separate room before being taken through to the dining room.
“I can’t believe it,” said an emotional Rebecca at the awards ceremony at Claridge’s that evening. “I would never have imagined this when I first entered. I really love my job and love looking after people. This is incredible.”
Judge John Davey said: “She was the clear winner. There was no argument among the judges. Rebecca had a winning combination of charm, enthusiasm and technical skill that just captured her guests and us as judges.“
Rebecca wins a year’s worth of mentoring from a list of industry greats that includes Silvano Giraldin, Sergio Rebecchi, Emmanuel Landré and Fred Sirieix. To mark the occasion, Rebecca will have her portrait painted by celebrated hospitality artist Henrietta Graham.
Willy Bauer, founder of the Scholarship, said: “This is the moment for which we have all been working so hard. We have a lovely young winner who can spread her wings and we can give her the benefit of our advice and experience.”
Lead sponsor Alastair Storey of BaxterStorey said: “I am sure Rebecca will have a wonderful year. We have a great deal of young talent in this industry and in this country and all we need to do is nurture it to encourage those who enter this amazing profession on to better things.”
Judge Sergio Rebecchi said: “Throughout this competition we have been impressed with the enthusiasm and diversity of all our entrants and we hope this will encourage anybody who works in hospitality to have a go in the future.”
Chairman of the Judges Edward Griffiths said: “We want this scholarship to inspire young people to join this profession and see what an opportunity it presents. By learning hospitality skills a world of possibilities opens up.”
The Gold Service Scholarship competition is aimed at anybody working in the UK in any aspect of restaurant service, including hotels, restaurants, contract catering, licensed hospitality and clubs, who is aged between 22 and 30.
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