Lewis Hunter – a talented waiter in Gleneagles’ Strathearn Restaurant – has won the Young Waiter of the Year Award at the prestigious Royal Academy of Culinary Arts (RACA) Annual Awards of Excellence (AAE).
Lewis – who joined Gleneagles in 2013 and is currently completing the Apprenticeship in Hospitality-Scotland – accepted his award at a celebratory dinner at the Rosewood Hotel in London, after seeing off competition from some of the best hospitality professionals across the UK.
Lewis, originally from Kinross, took the overall title after scoring the highest mark in the service competition, which involved decanting and describing wine to a judging panel, as well as setting up and serving a three-course meal with wines and liqueurs to a table of guest judges.
The awards ceremony also celebrated the talents of Gleneagles’ Ross Hunter and Stefanie Obermayer, who were two of just 20 young chefs, pastry chefs and waiters to have achieved the coveted AAE 2017 – a kite mark of excellence in service – earlier this year.
Lewis Hunter said: “When I heard I had won the award I was shocked, then elated. It was a tough category and I’m sure nobody expected someone who never planned to work in hospitality to go on to win of the most prestigious accolades in the industry.
“It was nerve-wracking, serving a panel of experts under pressure, but I love my job and simply drew on all the skills I use every day for hotel guests.
“Accepting the award in in a room full of people I admire was a really proud moment. I am delighted to bring this award back to Scotland and to Gleneagles.”
Conor O’Leary, Gleneagles’ Hotel Manager, said: “As a property that prides itself on delivering world-class service, all our hotel teams demonstrate professional excellence every day, and we’re used to seeing staff receive recognition for their efforts, but Lewis’ achievement stands out.
“As part of his apprenticeship, he has successfully completed placements across every area of hotel operations, showing tremendous talent not just in service, but also in housekeeping, front of house and kitchens.
“Winning RACA’s prestigious Young Waiter of the Year Award is testament to this talent, and also the commitment and effort with which he applies himself to enhance the guest experience.
“All three of our achievers – Lewis, Ross and Stefanie – have promising careers ahead of them and we are very proud of their success.”