Sussex Rising Stars partied at Restaurant Awards

The final of the BITE Sussex Rising Stars Awards took place at Brighton Beach House, writes Nick Mosley.

Presented by BBC Sussex’s Allison Ferns, the awards are an annual celebration of the contribution young people make to the county’s food, drink and hospitality industries.

The public – including friends, colleagues and clients – were invited to nominate their favorite rising stars throughout the summer via the Bite Sussex website, with the top two nominees in each category having final interviews with a panel of respected industry experts.

There were seven award categories this year, recognizing both front-of-house and behind-the-scenes talent. To be eligible for the finals, nominees had to be 26 or under by the end of November 2022.

“I can honestly say that the application process for Rising Stars has never been easier,” said Sir Peter Field, Chairman of the Jury.

“The nominees have all followed very different paths to get to where they are today, so it is a difficult task for our judges to delve deeply into career progression, commitment and aspirations.”

“Usually there’s little more than a hair’s breadth between the two finalists; Reaching the final is a great achievement. It is truly our pleasure to recognize the efforts and talents of young people who are the future of the industry.”

One of the night’s big winners was Lyndon Roper from Loading Brighton on Madeira Drive, who won both the Bar Rising Star and the Sussex Champion Rising Star.

The Argus: Lyndon Roper from Loading Brighton (centre) was the winner of the Bite Sussex Bar Rising Star and Sussex Champion Award 2022. LR Allison Ferns from BBC Sussex, Argus Editor Arron Hendy, Lyndon Roper, Zoe Cunliffe from Mixology Group and chairman of the judges

“While standards were high this year, there was a clear winner,” said Mixology Group’s Zoe Cunliffe, who judged the Bar category alongside Argus Editor Arron Hendy.

“Lyndon shows great potential. He has invested in himself through training, worked his way up to VP in just three months and has a clear plan to run his own bar by the age of 30. We expect to see him for many years to come.”

The team at Isaac At in Gloucester Street, Brighton, also put in a strong performance in their second year, with chef Caspian Armani receiving the Kitchen Rising Star and front of house manager Connor Harris receiving the Up Front Rising Star.

“Connor’s commitment to creating positive change in the industry while championing young people who are thriving was exemplary,” said judge Gavin Stewart of Brilliant Brighton.

“Additionally, his aspiration to open his own hospitality business in the future, employ local people and continue to serve the community made him an ideal choice.”

Alongside finalists and judges, around 100 guests from across Sussex’s food and drink industry were in attendance, making the evening one of the most important networking events of the calendar year. At Soho House’s Brighton Beach House on Madeira Drive, guests enjoyed complimentary canapés and welcome drinks from Arbikie Estate, Stopham Wine Estate, Bedlam Brewery and Double Dutch Premium Mixers.

“It was our pleasure to host the Bite Sussex Rising Star Awards at Brighton Beach House in our first year of opening,” said Julie Grout of Brighton Beach House.

“Soho House is a place where creativity thrives and it’s really exciting to have so much emerging talent in local hospitality. We proudly celebrated that evening.”

Local winemaker Marie Davis, from the award-winning Stopham Estate near Pulborough, agreed.

“We were delighted to attend the Rising Star Awards at Brighton Beach House this week and sponsor the welcome drink of our Stopham Brut Prestige sparkling wine,” said Marie.

“It has been great to chat and network with industry friends and colleagues and very exciting to see so many energetic, talented young people entering the hospitality industry. These individuals are already proving to be inspirational achievers in their respective careers.”

Bite Sussex Rising Star 2022 winner complete

Rising star of the bar

Winner: Lyndon Roper (Loading Brighton)

Highly Recommended: Darius Gilby (Twisted Lemon)

Category judges: Zoe Cunliffe (Mixology Group) and Arron Hendy (The Argus)

Kitchen climbers

Winner: Caspian Armani (Issac At)

Highly Recommended: Antonio Pio Iassogna (Hilton Brighton Metropolis)

Category judges: Jeremy Ashpool and Simon Mckenzie

Upfront Rising Star

Winner: Connor Harris (Isaac At)

Highly Recommended: Amy Davis (Pizzaface)

Category Judges: Anne Accord (Brighton Palace Pier) and Gavin Stewart (Brilliant Brighton)

Rising Star of Wine

Joint Winner: Jonny Driscoll (Butlers Wine Cellar and Ridgeview Wine Estate)

Joint Winner: Jack Evans (The Pig of the South Downs)

Category Judges: Andrew Kay (Newest) and Julia Trustram-Eve (Wine GB)

Hidden Hero Rising Star

Winner: Rachel Blake (Brighton Gin)

Highly Recommended: Katie Randall (Pizzaface)

Category Judges: Tom Flint (Bottle and Jug Dept) and Olivia Reid (Sessions Markets)

Rising star of production

Winner: Rob Smith (Arrowtown Drinks)

Highly recommended: Olivia Zen-Aloush (saffron farm)

Category judges: Kier Foster (Brighton and Newhaven Fish Sales) and Ed Johnstone (The Sussex Peasant)

Sussex Champion Rising Star

Winner: Lyndon Roper (Loading Bar)

Highly Recommended: Guy Christie-Miller (Isaac At)

category judges; Allison Ferns (BBC Sussex) and Molly Raftery (Soho House) Sussex Rising Stars partied at Restaurant Awards

Fry Electronics Team

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