The scholarship, which has been running since 1998, recognises and celebrates the efforts and enthusiasm of tomorrow’s leading hospitality professionals. The award commemorates Daniel Pontifex who died in a car accident during his employment at Kensington Place Restaurant in London.
Daniel had previously worked in Adelaide in Australia with Shaw + Smith’s Michael Hill Smith MW who, along with Daniel’s family, went on to initiate the scholarship in his name.
Each alternate year, a scholarship winner from the UK and Australia respectively is invited to experience the hospitality sector in the contrasting country. The trip provides them with direct access to influential industry leaders and offers first-hand insights into the international world of food and wine.
The Daniel Pontifex Scholarship was last awarded in the UK in 2015 to Quinby Frey who works at Cambridge Wine Merchants.
Quinby Frey, now Sales and Accounts Business Development Manager at Cambridge Wine Merchants, said:
“The day after I returned from Australia I hosted a wine tasting into which I ‘sneaked’ a couple of the wines that I’d had during my trip. It was a delight to share with customers the stories and places that I’d visited, and the enthusiastic customer response was heartening.
I have completely loved how much I now have to discuss about Australian wine with customers since my trip and it’s been incredibly rewarding to see customers step out of their wine comfort zones and embrace Aussie wine.
I learnt far more spending four weeks on the ground than I have in my last four years as a merchant and I am thankful for the amazing opportunity given to me to develop my knowledge further.”
Alessandro Marchesan, past scholarship winner and 2017 panellist, said:
“It was one of the best experiences of my life. The opportunity to travel around Australia’s best wine regions, to meet and work with the best winemakers and to have some working experiences in some of the best restaurants boosted not only my knowledge but also gave me great confidence to carry on with my career.”
Laura Jewell MW, Wine Australia Head of Market EMEA, said:
“We look forward to sharing Australia’s vibrant food and wine culture with the winner and helping to develop their career with this unique experience.”
To enter, applicants are invited to submit a short essay (500-750 words) explaining why they believe they are a suitable candidate, together with a short resume.
Applicants are expected to have a strong interest in wine and may work in any area of hospitality.
Submissions should be made by email to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday 29 September 2017.
Interviews will be held in October in London and the winner’s trip will take place in 2018.
The winner of the 2017 scholarship will be selected by a panel of leading wine and hospitality professionals including Laura Jewell MW, Wine Australia; Michael Hill Smith MW, Shaw + Smith; David Gleave MW, Liberty Wines; Alessandro Marchesan, Zonin UK; and writer and Chef-Consultant Rowley Leigh.
The winner will receive funding towards travel, insurance, accommodation and expenses.