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Gastronomes 2018 Award now open for entries

As Raul Martinez, the 2017 winner, prepares for his first stage within two of London's finest hotels - Dorchester Collection's The Dorchester and 45 Park Lane - the Réunion des Gastronomes has announced that the 2018 Award is now open for entries.

This is the second year of the competition and the Réunion (believed to be the oldest culinary organisation in the UK) was delighted with the number - and calibre - of entries for the inaugural award last year.

The 2018 winner receives up to four two-day stages but could, as Martinez (pictured left) has in fact chosen to do, have two four-day ones. After his success, Martinez met with the judging panel (the members of which are now his mentors), to discuss the areas he is keen to develop further. Wanting to hone his experience in the luxury hotel sector, his second stage is still being arranged, and details will be finalised after his time with The Dorchester and 45 Park Lane.

This four-day stage opportunity with The Dorchester and 45 Park Lane is the pinnacle of aspiration for anyone working in gastronomy. Their world-class reputation for service, training, and the outstanding reputation of their restaurants and banqueting, will undoubtedly ensure that he receives a taste of what is involved across the full breadth of sectors in this top end of the hotel market.

Commenting on the experience to date, Martinez said, 'It has been an honour to meet such an array of interesting people from our industry during the whole process. I particularly enjoyed the Annual Banquet last November, which was a fabulous event and very well organised. I'm so proud to be the first winner of this competition, as it acknowledges the Trojan efforts of the people in hospitality.

'The 2018 winner also receives invitations to attend five Gastronome events in the year following their award, as well as mentoring and networking opportunities throughout from the judges and other Réunion members. In addition he or she will be given Associate membership of the Réunion des Gastronomes for up to four years. 'We believe it to be worth in excess of £3,000 in prize values alone,' says Serge Pradier, 'but the mentoring and potential career enhancement offered are priceless.'

Each of the shortlisted finalists receives an invitation to attend - with any necessary travel and accommodation costs reimbursed - the monthly Gastronome dinner on June 11 at the Caledonian Club in Belgravia. They will also attend the 100th Annual Banquet in November where the winner will be announced.

The competition is open to entrants of any age, providing they are in full-time employment in the industry, at a supervisory level or above. In addition, applications from those who would already quality for membership of The Gastronomes will be offered the opportunity to become a member. Closing date for applications is Friday 6 April 2018.