Gold Service Scholarship (2017): Part 1. An Overview

Posted on: July 12th, 2017 by Simon Carter

Before delving into the mechanisms of the Gold Service Scholarship and indeed further into the very successful Study Tour To Champagne, it is worth pausing to consider the weight of support that is offered to young people who may realise the scope of opportunity simply by taking a look at the roster of trustees.  The level of visibility to be gained, the reputation and accompanying quality assurance are further enhanced by the patronage of Her Majesty the Queen.  

GSS Trustee Board

Board of Trustees of The Gold Service Scholarship 2017


The board of trustees, (where a trustee is a term used instead of a company title, to legally describe those that are identified as responsible for making decisions that will affect the assets of a registered charity) comprises (from top left to right above) Alastair Storey, Willy Bauer and Edward Griffiths, then (middle row left to right) John Davey, Silvano Giraldin and Sara Jayne Stanes, and (bottom left to right) Thomas Kochs, Sergio Rebecchi and David Battersby.

Alastair Storey OBE formed WSH (Westbury Street Holdings) in 2000.  The company owns BaxterStorey, Portico, Caterlink, Holroyd Howe, Benugo and Searcy’s.  Mr Storey was awarded an OBE in the 2017 Birthday Honours for services to hospitality, he has been named most influencial man in British hospitality by Caterer & Hotelkeeper (2012) and is president of the Institute of Hospitality (2016).

Willy Bauer OBE is a hospitality legend of the hotel industry, during the 1970s and 1980s Mr Bauer was credited with turning around three of London’s great hotels; The THF flagship Hyde Park Hotel (Now the Madarin Oriental), The Grosvenor before ultimately being given the epithet ‘Savior of the Savoy’ by the Financial Times. Mr Bauer was a founding visionary for the Gold Service Scholarship.

Edward Griffiths CVO, from 2001 to 2016, was Deputy Master of the Royal Household, as such he was responsible for all internal operations, including all hospitality and entertaining delivery at home and for State Visits abroad, Mr Griffiths position is as Chairman of Judges of the Gold Service Scholarship.

John Davey started his career in the 1970s polishing cutlery and cleaning glasses in the basement at Hotel Baur au Lac in Zurich, a journey through Switzerland to The Lanesborough, The Square, Cecconi’s and Morton’s – The last time that I saw John working the floor, was at The Ledbury in Notting Hill.  Now with a flourishing consultancy business to go with his 35 plus years of experience, he is a judge for the Scholarship.

Silvano Giraldin joined Le Gavroche in the 1970s and invested a career of decades in delivering industry leading standards of restaurant front of house to countless top end dining customers.  He is the man who launched a thousand careers in restaurant service and in 1990, Silvano created the original blueprint for the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts for Front of House Service that was later adopted internationally.

Sara Jayne Stanes OBE is Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts and plays a leading role in the associated charitable trust Adopt a School.  A chocolatier by trade, Ms Stanes has penned several best selling books on the subject and acts as a judge to the Scholarship.

Thomas Kochs is managing director of Hotel Café Royal having previously held general manager position at Claridges and Hotel Manager at The Connaught.  Mr Kochs has overseen numerous major projects including restorations, advancements in technology and the launching of Hélène Darroze Michelin two star restaurant at The Connaught.

Sergio Rebecchi (“Maestro del Lavoro”) came to London at the age of sixteen and was mentored by the great Lord Forte, before going on to manage The Grosvenor, and then later as Director of Chez Nico restaurants including the Michelin 3 Star eaterie. Mr Rebecchi is a founder member of The Gold Service Scholarship, Fellow of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts, Chairman of the Annual Awards of Excellence, co-Chairman of Master of Culinary Arts for Front of House Service.

David Battersby OBE is secretary to the Trustees, he is also a Director of the Academy of Food and Wine Service, a Fellow of the Tourism Society, and a past Trustee of the Savoy Educational Trust. In 1999 he became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

The Gold Service Scholarship has produced a winning scholar since 2013. The Scholars thus far have been Rebecca Dibben (2013), James Fleming (2014), Daniele Quattromini (2015), Jennifer Santner (2016) and Stephanie Beresforde (2017). The Award is in relative infancy and will grow and develop over time to best serve the industry in the eyes of the Trustees. The process and prizes are changing and adapting, evolving in line with the success of the Award and the changing needs of the industry.


From Left to Right: Ashley Best, Stephanie Beresforde, Lukas Andr, Alexandra-Iulia Caciuc, Sophia Warland


For the Gold Service Scholarship 2017 there were around one hundred applicants that were then whittled down to a quarter final, semi final and final of eight with one eventual scholar. Their journeys’, without exception, will have added value to them personally and professionally on the growth path to success.  Applications open in September 2017 for 2018 competition.

Stephanie Beresforde, as the 2017 Gold Service Scholar (one from left above), is the recipient of a number of prizes but beyond that there are two fold advantages: First, as an ambassador for the trade with the implicit support of the Trustees: Second, as a platform for a career path fast track in the industry. Stephanie is degree educated in English having graduated from a red brick university just a few years ago. Upon first meeting, Stephanie displayed a disarming humility and modesty which combined with a clear desire to progress in her chosen career. She is taking up a new role at The Connaught and is likely to experience a blossoming future and is already showing that the ambassadorial opportunity sits well within her compass.

Ashley Best received special commendation at the 2017 Scholarship final. Ashley invested four years from the age of sixteen in the kitchen at The Ritz, moving through the sections to latterly cover the fish section as a demi-chef de partie followed finally by the bakery. It was a bold decision of Ashley’s to switch career to front of house and also a commendable show of loyalty to his employer, one which they have been pleased to reciprocate. Two years later, at twenty-two, Ashley was at the youngest age level of entry to the Scholarship and now finds himself as Trainee Food and Beverage Manager at The Ritz. There is an all-encompassing passion about Ashley, which presents an image of a genuine eagerness to please the customers. Further, his years in the kitchen are made great use of in producing the most effective service for the customer that offers the most sympathetic efficiency to the kitchen. One might imagine that his respect and humility toward the top management is a quality that will work well for him, too.

Alexandra-Iulia Caciuc has just taken a role as a Restaurant Manager at the Spring restaurant in Somerset House. A 2017 finalist, Alex showed a driven nature that included a complete focus on achieving objectives, including setting out plans for improvement and showing the initiative and determination to be a completer finisher. It was clear how she had reached the final stages and indeed exhibited the potential to go further.

Two other finalists from previous years were on the trip: Lukas Andr who is currently assistant manager at Sexy Fish in Berkeley Square and my understanding is that Lukas is also participating in the Master of the Culinary Arts for Front of House Service examinations for 2017: Sophia Warland of RAF Odiham, Hampshire who has responsibility for managing food service contracts.

It was noted from viewing the roll call of previous finalists that the Scholarship also encourages repeat entries, especially from those that show significant potential, the 2017 winner (Stephanie Beresforde) being one such example.  This alone shows that advancement is possible through determination and willingness to put yourself on-the-line under such pressure on an annual basis.

So congratulations to all those who entered!  My personal experience of the Scholarship is that the entrants cover the breadth of background and character – what they share in common is a passion, a willingness to go the extra mile to please a guest and to make a difference in their daily lives.  In terms of the Scholarship as a whole, it is warm, welcoming and inclusive – just as is hospitality – far from the stuffy, snobby or elitist perception that may have pervaded in the dim and distant past.  With these guiding lights, things are done traditionally, but done in the modern way! 

Do apply.

Should you be of the qualifying age (22 to 28) and are serious about a career in service and hospitality then you would need to seek reference support / sponsorship from your manager to enter an application.   The outline of the process involved can be found here:-

Gold Service Scholarship Competition Outline

The current plan of the prizes for the Gold Service Scholarship 2018 have been announced in July 2017 and can be found here:-

Gold Service Scholarship Prizes 2018