Royal Academy Of Culinary Arts Announces Finalists For Annual Awards Of Excellence 40th Anniversary Year

Following another record year of entries, the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts has announced the names of the Annual Awards of Excellence (AAE) 2023 finalists.

The Annual Awards of Excellence is the most prestigious award available to young professionals in the hospitality industry today, recognising and encouraging the most talented ambitious chefs, pastry chefs and waiters. Since it began 40 years ago in 1983, over 650 young professionals have achieved the Award, setting them off on highly successful career paths.

The purpose of the Awards is to inspire and encourage young professionals to achieve the highest possible standards in their chosen profession – Kitchen, Pastry or Service – and to offer them clear guidelines for success in their careers.

Participating in the AAE is a great learning experience. As it is not a competition there is no first, second and third place, but instead, any number of candidates can achieve the standard of excellence set by leading figures within the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts and the hospitality industry.

Good basic skills are the essential cement with which young, ambitious members of the catering industry can build a rewarding career. While more taxing tasks help to identify the best cooks and waiters of today, who will become the leaders of tomorrow.

Chefs can be tested on a variety of food preparation and cookery tasks from making a salad to butchery skills and must demonstrate that they can prepare a variety of dishes including soups and desserts and a piece of their own free interpretation.

Pastry chefs are expected to demonstrate the ability to work with many kinds of materials, including detailed chocolate and sugar work, and a creative presentation piece, while having an excellent grounding in baking and plated desserts.

Waiters are tested on their knowledge and skills in a wide range of food and beverage service aspects, including product knowledge, technical service skills, interpersonal skills and teamwork.


Selection is based on written entries. Successful candidates went onto regional quarter finals in February Semi-finals in March/April and finals in June 2023 where they were tested on a wide range of classical skills.


  • The three highest-scoring candidates are awarded the accolade of Young Chef, Young Waiter, Young Pastry Chef of The Year
  • £2000 bursary thanks to the Savoy Educational Trust
  • The bursary from the Savoy Educational Trust will take the form of an educational trip to Moet and Chandon and Veuve Clicquot where they will learn more about the wine-making process and take part in an incredible Champagne and food pairing meal.

Past trips include visits to New Orleans; Dubai; Mexico; Champagne; Tuscany; Barbados; St Lucia; Los Angeles; Hong Kong and Shanghai; Quebec and Los Angeles.

  • Work experience at Pollen Street Social with thanks to Jason Atherton
  • Work experience at The Fat Duck with thanks to Heston Blumenthal
  • Invited to exclusive hospitality experiences and exclusive Royal Academy of Culinary Arts events and trips
  • A specially commissioned engraved Silver Trophy thanks to Gordon Hogg and Finclass
  • All Service Semi-Finalists and Finalists are invited to the Gold Service Scholarship
  • The Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Young Chef of The Year will gain automatic entry to the Final of Craft Guild of Chefs, National Young Chef of The Year
  • Chefs and Pastry Chefs are invited to enter the William Heptinstall Award