The Arts Club’s Raúl Martínez wins inaugural Gastronomes award

28/11/2017 - 07:00
Raúl Martínez, the restaurant manager of The Arts Club in Mayfair, London has been crowned the first ever winner of the Réunion des Gastronomes Award.

He collected the honour at the organisation's 99th annual banquet at the Langham Hotel on 24 November.

The 35-year-old came out on top of a shortlist of three finalists which included Yacine Bezegouche, assistant food and beverage manager at The Hotel Café Royal and Paul Clarkson, head chef trainer at The Clink, Brixton.

The Réunion des Gastronomes, one of the UK’s oldest culinary organisations, introduced the award this year to “Support fresh talent”.

Martínez (above) impressed the judges with his “comprehensive” research into the history and aims of the Réunion and with his vision on how he would like to promote its aims to industry colleagues and help build awareness.

"In addition he was proactive in arranging show-around visits with the other finalists - giving us confidence that he'll maximise the vast networking opportunities offered to our winner,"  said John Cousin, chair of the judging panel.

Martínez started his career working in his father's bar in Spain, studied food and beverage management, then gained a tourism degree in Madrid with experience at the 3-star Zalacain.

In the UK, he worked in restaurant service, moving on to becoming restaurant manager at Ibérica Food and Culture, London, before joining the Arts Club in 2012, and becoming became assistant restaurant manager soon after.

As part of his prize, Martínez won four two-day placements across a raft of industry sectors and invitations to attend five Gastronome events in the next year.

He also becomes an associate member of the Réunion des Gastronomes for four years.

Serge Pradier, president of the Réunion, said: “We believe the total prize value for Raúl to be in excess of £3,000 and are delighted to see the inaugural award being awarded to such a worthy and aspiring winner, who's a great credit to our profession."

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