Sunnil Panjabi, at the Punch Tavern, in London’s Fleet Street, and Amelia Thornhill, from the Rockingham Arms, in West Willow, Hampshire, are among nine semi-finalists vying for the title of UK Restaurant Manager of the Year.
Run by the Academy of Food & Wine Service (AFWS), the competition aims to reward the best managers in the foodservice sector – whether fine-dining restaurants, gastropubs, high street dining operations, hotel restaurants or those run by contract caterers.
Each of the nine managers are currently being tested on their knowledge by a panel of judges in London. They have also been asked to present a business proposal.
The best performing managers will go through to a final round, where members of the judging panel will visit the finalists in their own establishments and spend the day looking at service standards and training.
The winner will be announced at a gala dinner awards ceremony at London’s Roof Gardens, in Kensington, on 17 November.
AFWS operations director Sheila Fraser-Whyte said: “Each candidate will have different challenges according to his or her area of work and we felt it was important to see how they dealt with typical issues that arise in their own establishments.”
Judge Stephen Motion, sales director for sponsor Bookatable.com, said: “I am looking forward to being a judge for the competition again this year.
“As an ex-operator myself with a background in the pub trade, hotels and casual dining, the competition allows me to gain valuable exposure to the candidates varying business needs.”
- Amie Duncan, the Butchershop Bar & Grill, Glasgow
- Daniel Harrison, De Vere Village Urban Resorts, Wirral, Merseyside
- Dace Lace, Bat Globe House, London
- Karen Lee, the Cavendish Hotel, London
- Ian Sturrock, the Arts Club, London
- Amelia Thornhill, the Rockingham Arms, West Willow
- Carlos Villacanas, Hyatt Regency – the Churchill, London
- Alper Zan, Café Rouge, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire