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UK Restaurant Manager of the Year 2012 winner announced

Published:  23 October, 2012

Restaurant manager at the Culloden Estate & Spa in Belfast, Peter McAlister, has won the 2012 UK Restaurant Manager of the Year competition.

Organised by the Academy of Food & Wine Service (AFWS), four restaurant managers competed London final, which involved a customer service scenario, a staff management task and a Dragon's Den-style presentation in which the competitors pitched a business plan for a new restaurant concept to a panel of potential investors.

Throughout the competition each of the finalists were also quizzed on their food and wine knowledge, business acumen, management ability and customer service skills.

Chairman of the judges, former winner Peter Avis, restaurant manager at Babylon, Roof Gardens and chairman of the AFWS Guild of Restaurant Service, said McAlister was a clear winner. "He didn't put a foot wrong. In the Dragon's Den he presented well and with a real passion, conveying the information in an interesting and informed way. He sold us with the concept verbally and impressed us with his research and attention to detail."

McAlister from Belfast, has worked at the Culloden Estate & Spa for 15 years, previously working for Malmaison Hotels. This was the third year he had got through to the final of the competition.

As part of his prize McAlister receives a stage in Daniel Boulud's Dinex Group of restaurants in New York, staying at the trendy, boutique MAve Hotel in the FlatIron district. The Culloden Estate & Spa will receive a year's subscription to the Livebookings reservation system.

Runner-up Paul Taylor of TGI Friday's, Wembley, receives a place at the renowned business summer school run by the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne, sponsored by the Savoy Educational Trust.

At the Restaurant Manager of the Year dinner five industry personalities were invited to join the Academy's Restaurant Manager Hall of Fame, sponsored by Lanson International: Rémy Lysé, chief operation office, The Arts Club; Edward Griffiths LVO, The Royal Household; Elaine Watson, F&B support services manager, Gleneagles; Simon Girling, executive F&B operations manager, The Ritz, London; and Connor O'Leary, F&B director, Hyatt Regency London.