Lancashire Mixologist wins Young Mixologist England

21 July 2023

Last week, the England finals of Young Chef Young Waiter (YCYW) England and Young Mixologist England, elevated by NEFT Vodka, took place at the University College of Birmingham. The three winners were announced at a special awards ceremony at the International Convention Centre (ICC) Birmingham.

Each of 13 talented young hospitality superstars at the finals had submitted a video entry to YCYW England and Young Mixologist England, the full list of entries was then whittled down by a panel of expert judges, including Adam Handling, of Adam Handling Restaurant Group; Simon King, of Igniting Hospitality; and Anna Sebastian, of Anna Sebastian Hospitality Consulting.

These judges also led the in-person judging in Birmingham last week, where finalists were assessed on creativity, innovation, attention to detail, and technical ability, over an exciting and exhilarating one day live final.

The winners are: Young Chef Young Waiter & Young Mixologist winning Mixologist, Niamh Preedy of Northcote Hotel, Lancashire; Young Chef Young Waiter & Young Mixologist winning Waiter, Jade Walker of The Ritz London; and Young Chef Young Waiter & Young Mixologist winning Chef, Benjamin Mabley of Hartwell House Hotel & Spa, Buckinghamshire.

The three England winners will go on to compete in the Young Chef Young Waiter and Young Mixologist world finals in November, at the Lycée Rainier III, formally the Lycèe Technique et Hôtelier de Monaco, showcasing their abilities to world class chefs, hospitality experts, and mixologists.

Since being established in 1979, Young Chef Young Waiter has become a firm fixture on the UK hospitality industry calendar, with groups of talented young chefs and waiters competing each year to be named the UK’s Young Chef or Young Waiter winner. This year, the competition extends its remit into mixology for the first time, with the Young Mixologist of the Year mantel also up for grabs.

YCYW England is open to all chefs, waiters, and mixologists working in England who are under 28 years old, from any background. The world final will be held at the Lycée Rainier III, formally the Lycèe Technique et Hôtelier de Monaco, on Thursday, 23 and Friday, 24 November 2023.

Young Chef Young Waiter England is proudly supported by Meat & Livestock Australia Wine & Something, Champagne PIAFF, Amadeus and The Fork. Young Mixologist of the Year is elevated by NEFT Vodka. World Young Chef Young Waiter is supported by Great Campaign & Culinary Institute of America (CIA) globally.

Paul Robinson, Chief Creative Officer of NEFT Vodka said: “NEFT Vodka is proud to support the celebration of young visionaries in the Mixology field. Young Mixologist is a perfect addition to the Young Chef Young Waiter Competition and its fantastic to have an opportunity to work with the many talented mixologists who apply. Niamh’s approach and creativity impressed me from the very start of the competition, and her cocktail ‘Candy Floss’ was a clear winner.”

General Manager at the ICC Birmingham and Young Chef Young Waiter England Judge Craig Hancox said: “As a judge, I witnessed remarkable talent and unwavering passion in the YCYW England competition. The winners have proved themselves as shining examples of perseverance and skill, deserving of the highest accolades. It has been a pleasure to be a part of, facilitating both individually as a judge and on behalf of Amadeus – who provided all of the food and beverage supplies for the competition. Congratulations to all of the winners and good luck in the global finals!”

Young Mixologist England Head Mixologist Judge Anna Sebastian said: “It was an honour to be part of the Young Mixologist England competition for its debut year, and witness such great talent participate. I’m delighted to see Niamh take first place, demonstrating her dedication, passion, and love for the industry. I look forward to her represent the UK in the world final”

World Young Chef Young Waiter Managing Director Sean Valentine FIH said: “Each and every year I’ve had the pleasure of being involved with Young Chef Young Waiter I’ve been blown away by the professionalism and excitement our entrants bring to the process. 2023 was no different! Jade, Benjamin, and Niamh all gave 110% on the day and fully deserve their wins. I look forward to
seeing what they bring to the world finals in Monaco in November.”

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