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Young Chef Young Waiter England Announces Young Mixologist of the Year

Annual global hospitality competition to find the next stars of the industry extends its support to mixologists, in addition to chefs and front of house staff

Young Chef Young Waiter England is proud to announce the addition of Young Mixologist of the Year in 2023, elevated by NEFT Vodka. The new competition will take place alongside YCYW England, at the University College Birmingham, from Monday, 3, to Wednesday, 5 July 2023.

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 will extend its remit into mixology, with the Young Mixologist of the Year mantel also up for grabs.

Young Mixologist will launch in the UK, USA, and Singapore in 2023, alongside Young Chef Young Waiter competitions taking place in England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Cayman Islands, USA, Monaco, Singapore, and Macao.

Robert Walton MBE, Chairman of Young Chef Young Waiter, with the 2022 chef and waiter finalists.

YCYW England is open to all chefs, waiters, and mixologists working in England who are under 28 years old, from any background. Entries for Young Chef Young Waiter and Young Mixologist England have now closed, and finalists will be announced next week. The live final will be held at the University College of Birmingham and the awards will take place at the International Convention Centre (ICC) Birmingham, from Monday, 3, to Wednesday, 5 July.

The head judges for each category at the England final include Adam Handling of Adam Handling Restaurant Group for the chefs, Simon King of Igniting Hospitality for the waiters, and Anna Sebastian of Anna Sebastian Hospitality Consultancy for the mixologists. After each country’s final, the chef, waiter, and mixologist winners will travel to Monaco in November, to compete in the world final, alongside their counterparts from the nine other YCYW competitions, on Thursday, 23 and Friday, 24 November. After the world finals, the winning chef and waiter duo will be awarded $10,000, and the global mixology winner will win $5,000.

Young Chef Young Waiter England is proudly supported by Wine & Something, Champagne PIAFF, Amadeus Foods and Nec Group. 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.

Young Chef Young Waiter England 2023 chef judges:
• Head Chef Judge, Adam Handling, Adam Handling Restaurant Group
• Mario Perera, Executive Chef, The Dorchester
• Michael Kwan, Executive Pastry Chef, The Dorchester

Young Chef Young Waiter England 2023 waiter judges:
• Head Waiter Judge, Simon King, Founder, Igniting Hospitality
• Andy Downton, Owner, Burnt Chocolate Consultancy
• Johanna Wimmer, Head of People, The Ivy Collection
• George Hersey, Asst. Group General Manager, Adam Handling Restaurant Group

Young Chef Young Waiter England 2023 mixologist judges:
• Anna Sebastian, Anna Sebastian Hospitality Consultancy
• Xavier Landais, Director of Bars, Caprice Holdings
• Tyler Zielinski, Drinks Journalist, Punch, Food & Wine and Evening Standard

Young Mixologist England Head Mixologist Judge Anna Sebastian said:

“I am really excited to be part of the newly launched Young Mixologist competition which endeavours to support new and exciting talent in the bar industry. This is very much about elevating the industry and giving people the platform to continue and develop their career with as much support as possible. Young Mixologist is an exciting opportunity for many so very much hope to see lots of entries from all over the country.”

Paul Robinson, Chief Creative Officer of NEFT Vodka said:

“At NEFT Vodka we know that what’s inside our barrels delights the most decerning of pallets, but we’re also aware that what’s outside of the barrel is the brand, a brand with strong values. As a relatively new and proudly progressive brand, we whole heartedly support young creatives and visionaries, artists whose innovation will shape the future of their industry, be it culinary or other. That’s what Young Chef Young Water is all about and why NEFT is so honored to be a part of it. Further expanding our commitment to the future of hospitality, we’re so excited to collaborate with Bobby and Sean to add a third component to the Young Chef Young Waiter program, Young Mixologist, a NEFT driven addition that will soon be a part each of the YCYW competitions.”

Young Chef Young Waiter England Head Chef Judge Adam Handling said:

“2023 marks my third year as head chef judge for Young Chef Young Waiter England, and I’m thrilled Robert, Sean, and the team have asked me to come back again. Setting the challenges and working with the finalists as they work tirelessly to cook exceptionally creative dishes with the fantastic ingredients provided is very rewarding. I’m so glad to be able to coach our young chefs in this way.”

Young Chef Young Waiter England Head Waiter Judge Simon King said:

“I have such a fantastic time judging these competitions. The passion and professionalism all the entrants bring on competition day in inspiring, and the opportunity to coach and support the next generation of hospitality stars is a privilege. I’ll see you in Birmingham!”

Young Chef Young Waiter England Mixologist Judge George Hersey said:

“I can’t wait to see what the inaugural group of young mixologists whip up for us in Birmingham, and I think it’s fantastic that the Young Chef Young Waiter competition will now acknowledge exceptional young talent in mixology, as well as chefs and waiters. Creating world class drinks requires a lot of training, creativity, and hard work, and I look forward to working with our bartenders on all the above in July!”

World Young Chef Young Waiter Chairman Robert Walton MBE said:

“As the Chairman of this event since 2006, I’m delighted to see Young Chef Young Waiter add the Young Mixologist competition this year, acknowledging the vital role mixology plays in hospitality experiences, and coaching a group of talented young bar people.”

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. This competition places our sector at the heart of education, training and development for young professionals in this wonderful industry. I’m delighted to add Young Mixologist this year, and would like to thank our partners at NEFT Vodka for making this possible.”