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It is perfectly true that some workers in the hospitality industry are grossly underpaid, that some do far more hours than they should, and that lots of people are put off by the idea that serving customers means being “servile” or lacking a proper status.

Despite these undisputed facts, hundreds of thousands of talented individuals are making good lives for themselves in a huge range of jobs from front of house to marketing, from cooking to reservations and from cleaning to general management.

In recent years the “stars” have often been those head chefs able to achieve recognition from the leading guides while building a profile through recipe book sales or TV appearances. Their equally-gifted colleagues on the other side of the kitchen door have tended to go unrecognised, perhaps in part because a fantastic waiter, waitress or maître d’ gets on with their job in a quiet unassuming way. The best of them are sometimes described as “ghosts” due to their ability to shimmer in and out of the room cosseting their customers so discreetly one doesn’t even notice the service being given.

Stephanie Beresforde GSS 2017Well, all that started to change five years ago when the Gold Service Scholarship was launched. Pic shows the current scholar Stephanie Beresforde with chairman of trustees Alastair Storey OBE and chairman of judges Edward Griffiths CVO.

This is one of the toughest competitions to win but the experience has been life-changing for virtually all of the finalists and winners to date.

Entries are now open (until Sept 29th) for this year’s contest: http://www.thegoldservicescholarship.co.uk/#/enter