Jumeirah and Media One win two Caterer Awards each

The 2015 list of Caterer Awards winners is here!

All the winners on stage
All the winners on stage

The Caterer Middle East Awards 2015 took place last night at Atlantis, The Palm Dubai, with more than 400 guests in attendance.

The Atlantis Ballroom was filled with members of the food and beverage industry from across the region, who celebrated along with their peers over the achievements of the last 12 months.

The award structure stayed the same as last year, and after tough competition, both Jumeirah and Media One Hotel walked home with two awards apiece, and Whissle Group took home two gongs as well.

Burj Al Arab's Al Mahara Restaurant wine sommelier Mircea Anca Bogdan said after being named Sommelier of the Year: “I was shocked!”

“It will be a really big push for me – even the nomination. Everybody said ‘congratulations’ … and when I saw the other competitors I thought, ‘ok, it’s a good result already – no matter what will happen, it’s a really big achievement’. When she said ‘he started 10 years ago as a bellboy I knew”.

Jumeirah's second award came from Jumeirah Hospitality, Madinat Jumeirah for the Events Catering Team of the Year category. Madinat Jumeirah assistant director of Jumeirah Hospitality Xenia Markovic said: "It was exciting to get nominated, and winning the award feels fantastic." When asked about the secret to success, she said: “Flexibility. From menu, timing to location, we will come to you — be it two people or 5000.”

Media One Hotel's entries impressed the judges, and the 2015 Kitchen Hero of the Year and Waiter of the Year belong to this property.

Kitchen Hero of the Year Mohamed Jahangir Alam said: "In 2013 I was a runner up at the Caterer Awards and I was very hopeful this year. So I’m very happy. The team from the hotel has been so supportive and always stood by me."

His colleague Emma Onyango from The Med won Waiter of the Year, and she added: "I can’t believe it. I have always prayed to be someone who can make a difference in the hotel industry. I remember I used to work over the weekend to pay my school fees back in Kenya, and then I came to Dubai as it is the best place to be at. Now I love it when people say I am the Google of Media One."

Teams were acknowledged for the success of their outlets - Trader Vic's Souk Madinat picked up Bar Team of the Year, with Claw BBQ, Crabshack & Grill heralded as Casual Dining Team of the Year. Restaurant Team of the Year - Hotel-Managed Outlet was awarded to Asado, The Palace Downtown Dubai, and Roberto's was crowned Restaurant Team of the Year - Independent Outlet.

The Restaurant Manager of the Year title went to Timothy Groeneweg from Seafire Steakhouse & Bar, Atlantis, while Abdul Aziz from Dubai World Trade Centre was honoured with the Chief Steward of the Year title.

The Head Chef of the Year - Hotel-managed Outlet 2015 was Alessandro Salvatico from Armani/Ristorante, Armani Hotel Dubai, which is celebrating its fifth anniversary this year. He said: "2015 was a very successful year. This award is just one more success, but maybe the most important for us because it’s a Middle East award and Caterer is recognised as a leading magazine in the industry. I’ve been reading Caterer since I arrived in Dubai. You say to yourself, 'One day I’ll be there to win an award – and now I’m here!'"

Izu Ani from La Serre was the recipient of the Head Chef of the Year award for a Standalone Outlet.

In its second year, the Restaurateur of the Year winner was Paul Evans from Solutions Leisure, with judges impressed with the work he has done over the last year. He said: "The saturated market is the five-star sector. We wanted to build a concept that made everybody feel special and important. Every single guest of ours is as important as the next one. That DNA runs in everything we try to do."

The Bartender of the Year was Okku Dubai's John Leese, which marked the Whissle Group's second win that night after Claw BBQ, while Pastry Chef of the Year was given to Herwig Knappen from JW Marriott Marquis Hotel, Dubai.

The Caterer Middle East team received hundreds of nominations, which it whittled down to 90 shortlisted entries across 15 categories. A group of independent expert judges then debated and deliberated over the shortlist before deciding their winning list.

Commenting on the success of the evening, ITP Business' Hospitality Group senior editor Devina Divecha: "It was a tough year with the quality of the nominations showing an upward trend. The 15 winners were truly deserving of commendation, and I am proud to be able to share this moment with them."

Click through to the next page to see the complete list of winners and highly commended...

Bartender of the Year
WINNER: John Leese, Okku Dubai
Highly Commended: Krishna Singh, Roberto's

Sommelier of the Year
WINNER: Mircea Anca Bogdan, Al Mahara Restaurant, Burj Al Arab
Highly Commended: Olivier Gasselin, Hakkasan Dubai

Chief Steward of the Year
WINNER: Abdul Aziz, Dubai World Trade Centre
Highly Commended: Joseph Tan, JW Marriott Marquis Dubai

Kitchen Hero of the Year
WINNER: Mohamed Jahangir Alam, butcherb Media One Hotel
Highly Commended: Hamidul Hoque, steward, Rivington Grill, Souk Al Bahar

Waiter of the Year
WINNER: Emma Onyango, The Med, Media One Hotel
Highly Commended: Mintu Sharma, Seafire Steakhouse and Bar, Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai

Restaurant Manager of the Year
WINNER: Timothy Groeneweg, Seafire Steakhouse & Bar, Atlantis, The Palm
Highly Commended: Ross Tatham, Fortnum & Mason PLC

Restaurateur of the Year
WINNER: Paul Evans, managing director and owner, Solutions Leisure
Highly Commended: Aline Kamakian and Serge Maacaron, owners, Mayrig Boulevard Restaurant

Head Chef of the Year - Hotel-Managed Outlet
WINNER: Alessandro Salvatico, Armani/Ristorante
Highly Commended: Youssef Issa, Nawwara, JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai

Head Chef of the Year - Independent Outlet
WINNER: Izu Ani, La Serre Bistro & Boulangerie
Highly Commended: Ryan Waddell, Reform Social & Grill

Pastry Chef of the Year
WINNER: Herwig Knappen, La Farine Café and Bakery, JW Marriott Marquis Hotel, Dubai
Highly Commended: Rury Koswara, Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai

Bar Team of the Year
WINNER: Trader Vic's Souk Madinat
Highly Commended: The Ivy Dubai

Events Catering Team of the Year
WINNER: Jumeirah Hospitality, Madinat Jumeirah
Highly Commended: #WCATER2U, W Doha

Casual Dining Team of the Year
WINNER: Claw BBQ, Crabshack & Grill
Highly Commended: Biryani Pot, Galleria Mall, Abu Dhabi

Restaurant Team of the Year - Standalone Outlet
WINNER: Roberto's DIFC
Highly Commended: Qbara Restaurant

Restaurant Team of the Year - Hotel-managed Outlet

WINNER: Asado, The Palace Downtown Dubai
Highly Commended: Armani/Ristorante, Armani Hotel Dubai

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