The Royal Academy of Culinary Arts has announced the winners of its Annual Awards of Excellence 2018.

Running since 1983, the awards are designed to inspire and encourage young professionals to achieve high standards in their chosen profession - kitchen, pastry or service - and offer them guidelines for success in their career.

It is an examination rather than a competition, and all or none of the candidates could achieve the award. Candidates had to attain a score of over 70% in the tasks set and judged by industry experts and chaired by John Williams, executive chef at The Ritz London.

Candidates in the pastry section had five-and-a-half hours to produce 12 allumettes, 16 dipped chocolates with a raspberry ganache centre, 16 sable tartlets and 16 creative financiers, and a sugar stand with a flower to incorporate the theme of a summer fairground.

Winning candidates have been invited to a gala dinner where the candidate who has scored the highest mark in each section will be announced and declared the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Young Chef, Young Pastry Chef or Young Waiter of the year.

The full list of AAE winners is:


  • Sophie Bamford, 21, Newcastle upon Tyne
  • Nicholas Bentley, Belmond Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons, Oxfordshire
  • Bastien Carriou, Harrods, Knightsbridge, west London
  • Nikola Krikavova, Hakkasan, Hanway Place, Fitzrovia, west London


  • Gercelynn Mae Dionio, Restaurant Hywel Jones (Lucknam Park Hotel and Spa), Wiltshire
  • Connor Farrer, The Ritz London
  • Faye De Souza, Restaurant Associates, Deloitte
  • Frederick Smith,  The Pig on the Beach, Dorset
  • Jade Stevens,  Restaurant Hywel Jones (Lucknam Park Hotel and Spa)
  • Andrew Tranter, Trinity, Clapham, south London


  • Dimitri Auriant,  Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, Park Lane, west London
  • Alessandro Bello, The Ritz London
  • Catarina Caldeira, The Vineyard Hotel and Spa, Berkshire
  • Elizabeth Forkuoh, The Strathearn at Gleneagles, Auchterarder, Scotland
  • Giovanna Gucciardo, Le Gavroche, Mayfair, west London
  • Valerija Kirjackaja, The Ritz London
  • Ryan Kenyon,  André Garrett at Cliveden House, Berkshire
  • Marion Pépin,  Core by Clare Smyth, Notting Hill, west London
  • Andrea Saccogna,  The Woodspeen, Berkshire
  • Bethan Sampson, Pollen Street Social, Mayfair, west London