The Royal Academy of Culinary Arts (RACA) has announced the Awards of Excellence (AAE) 2017 finalists.

Nine AAE pastry finalists have qualified to go forward to a final on 7 June, at the University of West London.

The AAE is an examination, rather than a competition, according to RACA. All or none of the candidates could achieve the award, depending on their ability to attain the standard of excellence set by the judges.

In addition, the candidate who scores the most marks in their section will be named the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Young Chef, Young Pastry Chef or Young Waiter 2017.

The purpose of the awards is to “inspire and encourage young professionals to achieve the highest possible standards in their chosen profession and to offer them clear guidelines for success in their career”, said RACA in a statement.

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

Pastry finalists

Harry Barber, Hakkasan
Nicholas Bentley, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons
Elena Bockshecker, Harrods
Olivia Bösch, Mosimann’s
Marceau Gouret, Roux at the Landau
Alan Holloway, Claridge’s
Charles Liets, Harrods
Mathilde Pilaete, Alfred Dunhill
Madeline Thell, Harrods