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Are you a Sussex Rising Star?

The Bite Sussex Rising Star Awards launch today – Thursday 1 July – to celebrate the contribution that young people make to the amazing food, drink and hospitality sectors of Sussex, writes Nick Mosley.

Young people are the life blood of the hospitality industry but over the past year of lockdown, many have been unable to sustain careers and training opportunities. Both multiple and independent venue operators are in a desperate situation, with many now forced to trade on reduced hours due to a lack of team members.

Bite Sussex and the local branch of the Institute of Hospitality are collaborating on this new awards scheme to both promote jobs in restaurants, bars, hotels and wider food and drink production whilst also recognising the amazing work that individuals make to the economy of Sussex.

Nathalie Gomez de Vera of Bite Sussex

“The importance of encouraging new talent to enter our industry – and for young people to see it as an exciting and fulfilling long-term career choice – is essential in ensuring we can all continue to enjoy quality food, drink and service in Sussex and ensuring our region is a great place to live, work and visit”, said Nathalie Gomez de Vera of Bite Sussex.

“With so many food and drink award schemes around at the moment, as a differential we decided to focus entirely on young people as getting them into the workforce – and remaining in it – is going to be an ongoing challenge over the years ahead".

Members of the public, colleagues, employers, friends and family are invited to nominate via across nine categories, each representing key areas of hospitality and food and drink production including chefs, front-of-house, farming and wine making. Nominees will then be interviewed by a panel of 15 professional judges who have a deep understanding of their relevant sectors.

Philip Lewis, GM of The Randolph in Oxford

“Now more than ever, the UK hospitality sector must invest into the grass roots of the industry to ensure continued growth into the future”, said Philip Lewis, general manager of The Randolph in Oxford and former general manager of Brighton’s Hotel du Vin.

“It is vital that we train, nurture, recognise and reward young associates starting out their careers to ensure longevity in this exciting and fulfilling industry. The Sussex Rising Stars Awards is the perfect platform to achieve this, and I’m delighted to be part of the judging panel as we embark upon launching the Graduate Hotels brand in the UK.”

Former AA hotel and restaurant inspector Giovanna Grossi

Highly-respected former AA hotel and restaurant inspector, Giovanna Grossi, agrees: “Never has there been a more important time to encourage young people to choose hospitality as a career and to promote young rising stars in our industry. Hospitality offers so many rewarding opportunities across its various sectors. It is so important that we share the opportunities hospitality brings with it amongst the next generation to encourage them to consider it seriously as a long term career”.

“Awards such as these, that highlight those young individuals who have made exceptional contributions and are outstanding performers, are always motivational and encouraging. It’s refreshing to be part of something so positive at a time when we really need initiatives such as this”.

Rachael Stevens MIH, chair of the Institute of Hospitality – Sussex Branch

Rachael Stevens MIH, chair of the Institute of Hospitality – Sussex Branch, said “The Institute of Hospitality is delighted to co-sponsor the exciting Bite Sussex Rising Stars Awards. These awards reflect what we, as an educational charity, are working hard to do for the hospitality industry in Sussex, that is, encourage young, talented people to make hospitality their first-choice career. The Institute is here to give them the resources they need and, as importantly, the recognition they deserve.

“At the Institute of Hospitality, we want to assure young people that whether you are a student, a graduate at the start of your career or a junior manager, there is no other industry where in a relatively short space of time, you can acquire relevant, high-value skills and experience to develop as individuals, both personally and professionally. My advice to young people who cleverly choose to work in hospitality is to give your career a head start by joining the Institute of Hospitality, and by nominating yourselves or a worthy colleague for a Rising Stars Award”.

The awards are chaired by Sir Peter Field KCVO KstJ JP, Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant for East Sussex, and supported by judges from The Argus, BBC Sussex, Brighton Palace Pier, Latest TV, Brighton Business Improvement District and Wine GB alongside respected chef and hotel professionals. Nominate are now open at


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