Announcing our Barista of the Year!
In September the annual Barista of the year championship was held at at the Business design centre in London.
We originally received over 300 entries from M&S baristas across the UK and Ireland. In-store assessments were held during the summer in over 180 stores.
From these assessments eleven finalists were selected:
Darren McCory, Jayne Semple, Chloe Prenton, Sean Linden, Jack white, Eve Haslam, Hetal Sodagar, Maria Thomas, Amanda McLean, Amy Jackson, Luke Evans
On the day all the finalists were required to set up their coffee machines and adjust the grinder to check the quality and time of the espresso coffee which forms the base of all our speciality coffee drinks.
Finalists were asked to produce four perfect espressos and four perfect lattes. Bonus points were awarded for latte art where the aim is to make a pattern on the coffee using only the milk and a great deal of skill.
Each contestant was asked to devise a speciality coffee based drink using only M&S ingredients. This year flavours included cherry, caramel, hazelnut and cinnamon, all were delicious with a mixture of iced, blended and hot drinks.
Sensory judging was carried out by a team of four including M&S cafe operations manager, David Condliffe, last year’s M&S Barista of the year, Alex Passmore and our coffee partners, Matthew Algie including Caroline Carter, National training manager and Regional training manager Kerry Wilkinson. Technical judging was conducted by Natasha Kemp and proceedings were overseen by head judge Sarah Bolwer who is also a UK barista championship judge.
Third place was awarded to Sean Linden from Dundrum store.
Runner up was awarded to Amy Jackson from Cheshunt store.
The title of M&S Barista of the year 2011 went to Luke Evans from Worthing store.
Luke was presented with the David Williamson trophy which he can keep for one year and, £250 of M&S vouchers. All finalists received a signed book by chef Tom Aitkens, a certificate and a bottle of Champagne. In addition to his winner’s prize, Luke will travel to the Matthew Algie roastery in Glasgow to roast his own coffee. The presentation of awards was carried out by Jason Danciger, Head of hospitality and in store food production at M&S