A WISTASTON sommelier is heading to the national final of the hospitality industry’s most prestigious competition.

Ben Robinson, 22, beat off competition from across the country to secure a place in The Gold Service Scholarship.

Sommeliers, or wine stewards, are experts employed by restaurants that specialise in wine service and food and wine pairing.

Ben, who now works as a Sommelier at the Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, in Great Milton, Oxfordshire said: “It’s a privilege to be one of the national finalists. I have a great passion for the industry and this scholarship is a fantastic opportunity to learn different service aspects from professionals within hospitality.

The final of the Gold Service Scholarship will take place on 11 February at Westminster Kingsway College, London, where contestants will demonstrate their service skills to judges and invited guests at a special lunch.

The first Gold Service Scholar will be announced later the same evening at an awards ceremony at the esteemed Claridge’s Hotel in Mayfair.

The winner will receive a year of mentoring; educational training, travel and work experience delivered personally by the best in the business. The six finalists have already been mentored by the likes of Edward Griffiths, deputy master of the royal household, Buckingham Palace, and Silvano Giraldin, Director of Roux Restaurants.

Ben added: “It’s crazy to think this is the first hospitality competition I have ever entered. It goes to show you can do anything if you put your mind to it.”