Academy Restaurant at South Cheshire College has been announced as the winner of this year’s People 1st-sponsored AA College Restaurant of the Year award at the annual AA Hospitality Awards (25 September 2017).
The AA College Restaurant of the Year award, now in its second year, seeks to uncover and reward the hard work of chef lecturers and student brigades that run college restaurants. It was open exclusively to colleges that have achieved People 1st accreditation and have also been awarded an AA College Rosette for their restaurant.
14 college teams were invited to join this year’s judging day at Park Plaza London Riverbank where they took part in a series of activities, including designing a new business venture for 4 AA Rosette and two Michelin-starred chef, Tom Kerridge.
Teams were interviewed by a judging panel that included Rob Flinter, general manager at Park Plaza London Riverbank; Sean Wheeler, director of people development at Principal Hotels and Julian Tomlin, general manager and group director of operations for Exclusive Hotels and Venues.
Academy Restaurant beat two other shortlisted college restaurants – The Brasserie at Milton Keynes College and Avenue 141 at Fareham College – to claim the title, and was presented with its prize at the awards ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.
Martine Pullen, director of consulting at People 1st said: “Huge congratulations to the team at South Cheshire College, and indeed to all of our finalists. Judging this year’s award was an extremely rewarding experience – it was fantastic to see so many passionate young chefs and front-of-house staff, but the team from South Cheshire College stood out as exceptional.
“With the industry experiencing a chronic shortage of chefs in particular, employers are increasingly looking to work with colleges to recruit talent – we hope this award will help to raise awareness of the vital role college restaurants play, and encourage businesses to work with our accredited colleges.”
Garry Baldwin, senior hotel and restaurant inspector with the AA said: “We were hugely impressed with the quality of entries for this year’s award – it really highlighted how college restaurants are keeping up with industry trends, and South Cheshire College in particular demonstrated excellent commercial awareness in the way its hospitality department and restaurant are run. Congratulations to all involved!”
Mark Parsons, director of faculty – retail, commercial, engineering and the built environment at South Cheshire College, said: “This is an absolutely fantastic achievement for all the team and students who work at the Academy. We hope that our reputation in the Cheshire community continues to grow and attract talented chefs who can now train at the best college restaurant in the country.”
People 1st’s college accreditation scheme helps hospitality businesses find quality colleges and work-based providers who can support them with recruitment and training and development.
Endorsed by a group of leading hospitality employers, including Principal Hotels, Exclusive Hotels and Park Plaza, it also offers accredited colleges and training providers a host of additional benefits as part of People 1st’s exclusive Provider Network.
Colleges and training providers can find out more about becoming accredited here.
About the Awards: The other promotional videos produced by the shortlisted finalists as part of the competition, promoting the hospitality courses at their college are here:
Avenue 141 – Fareham College
The Brasserie – Milton Keynes College
The AA College Restaurant of the Year Award has been developed by the AA, in partnership with People 1st, to recognise accredited colleges within the AA College Rosette Scheme that have shown outstanding achievements in a realistic working environment.
The AA College Rosette Scheme was designed to recognise the efforts of students, both front and back of house who are the future of our hospitality industry.
The college accreditation process, provided by People 1st, recognises colleges offering exceptional hospitality training and those that perform above and beyond in a specialist field as centres of excellence.
It also recognises colleges and training providers that excel in delivering apprenticeships.
About People 1st: People 1st is a unique, insight-driven performance and talent management expert.
We provide tailored solutions and advice that help our UK and global clients to grow performance and talent, drive customer excellence and maximise the value of apprenticeships.
Our industry-led experts deliver highly successful results that reflect the needs of our clients because we understand their culture, their environment and their budget.