He beat five other finalists to a position in the coveted top three after a day of tasks designed to test the competitors’ leadership skills and management prowess at the Courthouse hotel in London.

Eight competitors started the day, before being whittled down to a final four who then competed in two tasks in front of a live audience. The restaurant managers were asked to hold a staff briefing before a busy service where they had to address increasing the beverage spend, feedback on the previous night’s service and tricky service points such as allergies. They then served a party of four judges, while being assessed on their control of the table and response to questions.

Fernando said: “To be the only northern competitor to reach the final four is one of my greatest achievements. I am extremely proud to represent Manchester and the North. The competition was tough but it was an honour to stand amongst such dedicated professionals.”

Pollen Street Social’s Matthew Mawtus came first in the competition, receiving a bursary enabling him to study at the Lausanne Business School in Switzerland, courtesy of the Savoy Educational Trust, while Alex Cooper from Haymarket hotel’s Brumus, was second.

The competition is run by the Academy of Food & Wine Service in partnership with The Caterer, sponsored by Bunzl Catering Supplies, Matthew Clark, Octavian and Virgin Limited Edition.

The finalists of the Restaurant Manager of the Year 2016

Alex Cooper, Brumus Restaurant, Haymarket hotel, London
Robert  Klopper, Marriott West London India Quay
Fernando Humberto da Silva Marques, Mr Cooper’s House & Garden, The Midland hotel, Manchester
Liisa Veer, Coq d’Argent, London
Giuseppe Longobardi, The Cross at Kenilworth
Sonal Clare, Purnell’s restaurant, Birmingham
Christopher Kidd, Lucknam Park hotel and spa, Wiltshire
Matthew Mawtus, Pollen Street Social, London

The judges

Stephane Davaine, director of front of house operation, Coutts
Rory Kelly-Naughton, hotels recruitment manager, Evolve Hospitality
Joycelyn Neve, founder, Seafood Pub Company
Chantelle Nicholson, group operations director, Marcus Wareing Restaurants
Ludovic Solmi, restaurant manager, Skylon
Roy Sommer, general manager, The Courthouse Hotel, and chairman, The Food & Beverage Manager Association
Ian Sturrock, restaurant manager, Arts Club
Johanna Wimmer, training and development manager, The Ivy Collection
Alper Zan, area manager, Casual Dining Group
Chair: John Cousines, director, Food and Beverage Training Company

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