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Rising Star Awards Finals 2021


Organised by Bite Sussex in collaboration with the Sussex branch of the Institute of Hospitality, the inaugral Rising Stars awards championing careers in food and drink whilst celebrating the contribution young people make to restaurants, bars, farming and production across the two counties were held at Monarch on Kings Road in Brighton on Monday 22 November with around 120 guests in attendance.


Hosted by the BBC’s Allison Ferns and Latest TV’s Andrew Kay, there were eight categories including fishing, wine, kitchen, production, bar, front-of-house, hidden hero and Sussex champion.


Public nominations opened in the Spring with over 250 individuals aged 26 or under put forward by colleagues, guests and employers. Nominations were then carefully looked over by a panel of 18 industry experts – chaired by Sir Peter Field KCVO – before a comprehensive written submission and phone interview process took place.


Guests enjoyed canapés created by Monarch’s head chef, Prakash Pushpakarnvimala, alongside drinks from local distillery Slake Spirits and Sussex wines from Stopham Estate near Pulborough.


Bite Sussex Rising Stars 2021 winners



Bite Sussex Bar Rising Star Award

Winner: Diogo Carvalho (25), assistant outlets manager, Hilton Brighton Metropole, Brighton

Judges: Zoe Cunliffe, Mixology Group and Gavin Stewart, chief executive of Brighton business improvement district

“Given the title is ‘Rising Star’ we really felt that Diogo fitted the bill perfectly”.




Bite Sussex Fish & Seafood Rising Star Award

Winner: Jack Messenger (25), fish shop manager, Sea Haze, Brighton

Judges: Olivia Reid, food director of Sessions Market and chef-restaurateur Jeremy Ashpool of Jeremy’s Restaurant

“Dedicated highly skilled individuals – such as Jack – are embracing a challenging sector. They are voices of a sustainable future”.





Bite Sussex ‘Hidden Hero’ Rising Star Award

Winner: Caspian Armani (21), head chef, Isaac At, Brighton

Judges: Anne Ackord, chief executive of Brighton Palace Pier and chair of the Brighton & Hove Tourism Alliance, and Philip Lewis, general manager of The Randolph hotel, Oxford

“Caspian has a real passion for people and the industry; and in giving back to the community”.




Bite Sussex Kitchen Rising Star Award

Winner: Caspian Armani (21), head chef, Isaac At, Brighton

Judges: chef Simon Mckenzie and chef Steve Smith, Latymer at Pennyhill Park

“Despite very stiff competition, Caspian is a clear winner. At the end of the interview, he showed the tenacity to ask pertinent questions himself. He shows maturity beyond his years”.




Bite Sussex Production Rising Star Award

Winner: Jamie Newton (25), co-founder and head brewer, Three Acre Brewery, Uckfield

Judges: Andrew Kay, Latest TV and Giovanna Grossi, hospitality consultant and former AA Restaurant & Hotel Guide inspector

“Having launched his business just before the pandemic – despite the odds – Jamie has created and sustained an impressive business with very high standards and credentials… and some damned good beer”.




Bite Sussex ‘Champion’ Rising Star Award

Winner: Alex Preston (26), sommelier, Isaac At, Brighton

Judges: Arron Hendy, editor of The Argus and Julie Barker, hospitality consultant

“A very passionate young man who has used his time wisely during the pandemic to further his knowledge on English wine and local produce, enabling him to educate and inform both his team and also consumers”.




Bite Sussex ‘Up-Front’ Rising Star Award

Winner: Lucas Kelly (21), food and beverage supervisor, South Lodge, Horsham

Judges: Rachael Stevens, Sussex brand chair of the Institute of Hospitality and Allison Ferns from BBC Sussex

“To reward aspirational, exceptionally hard-working and talented individuals like Lucas is a pleasure”.




Bite Sussex Wine Rising Star Award

Winner: Alex Preston (26), sommelier, Isaac At, Brighton

Judges: Mark Ashton of the Institute of Hospitality and Julia Trustram-Eve, marketing director of Wine GB

“Alex has already got fantastic experience, and has an unstoppable zeal for championing English wines, learning more and engaging wherever possible”.



Thanks to the team at Monarch Restaurant and Bar



Thanks to Thomas Martin-Wells from Slake Spirits and Simon Woodhead from Stopham Vineyard for the welcome drinks




Co-presenters Allison Ferns, BBC Sussex and

Andrew Kay, Latest TV



Thanks to Head Chef Head Chef Prakash Pushpakarnvimala

Monarch Restaurant & Bar



Thanks to Julia Weeks from The Tourism Alliance for her all round organisational skills


Pictured with Sir Peter Field


All Photo Credits to our very talented photographer

Julia Claxton