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The Academy of Food & Wine Service

PrintThe Academy of Food & Wine Service (AFWS) is the official UK professional body for anyone working in front-of-house food and drink service, including waiters, restaurant managers and sommeliers. 

The AFWS is dedicated to improving the status and awareness of food and beverage service as a viable career choice, raising standards across the industry through training and encouraging teamwork between front-of-house and other operational areas. Becoming a member of the AFWS gives you access to a range of training opportunities from the entry level Licence to Work® series to Masterclasses for more experienced professionals.

Joining the AFWS brings a unique networking opportunity enabling you to meet well-known front-of-house professionals as well as prospective employers at industry dinners and social events. The Academy runs a number of established and respected competitions such as the UK Sommelier of the Year and the UK Restaurant Manager of the Year. These are judged by leading authorities in the world of wine and front-of-house service and are devised to provide a true test of the competitor’s ability and knowledge. As such these awards have achieved considerable standing and provide winners, and their employers, with a fantastic opportunity to raise their profile in the industry as well as with local, trade and national media.

Communication with members is via email, social media and newsletter, with regular updates on Academy activities including training dates, events, and competition entry deadlines. Details of all our activities can also be found at You can also follow the Academy on Twitter and Facebook.

The Royal Academy of Culinary Arts

RACA logo 207 6.13Founded in 1980, the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts, is Britain’s leading professional association of head chefs, pastry chefs, restaurant managers and suppliers. 

While concerned with raising standards and awareness of food, food provenance, cooking and service, its objectives are equally focused on the new generation of young industry people through its education and training programmes and the provision of career opportunities. We are immensely honoured to have His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales as our Patron.

The Academy’s objectives are achieved through a number of initiatives and projects:

Chefs Adopt A School

The Chefs Adopt A School project, which began in 1990 teaches school children all about food, food provenance and cookery through taste sessions delivered by Academicians. Chefs Adopt A School has the potential to influence a new generation of food lovers and home cooks, which is where the impact of understanding food and its origins is aimed, and where the importance of nutrition, health and cooking is strongest. On 16 July 2001, the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts ‘Adopt A School’ Trust was officially registered as Charity No. 1087567.

The Chefs Apprenticeship Programmes

These are three year vocational courses for young apprentices between 16 and 19 years old. A vital ingredient of these programmes is that the apprentices are employed by Academicians who mentor them throughout their training. The first Academy Specialised Chefs Course with Bournemouth & Poole College is a three-year block release programme and has been successfully running since 1989. The second Academy Chefs Apprenticeship Diploma with Thames Valley University is a day-release programme and has been running since 1993.

The Annual Awards of Excellence

The Annual Awards of Excellence began as the Commis Chef of the Year competition in 1983. The aim of the awards is to recognise and reward the talents and ambition of young chefs, pastry chefs and waiters between the ages of 20 and 26.

The Master of Culinary Arts

Launched in 1987 as the Meilleur Ouvrier de Grande Bretagne (MOGB), the Master of Culinary Arts is held every four years and rewards ability and achievement of the highest degree in culinary skills, hotel pastry and restaurant management to those over the age of 26.

The Mutton Renaissance

The Mutton Renaissance, conceived in 2003 by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales and officially launched in November 2004, is our campaign to put mutton back on to the menu and to link farmers, abattoirs, butchers and chefs in the process. The campaign is jointly run with the National Sheep Association.

FEAST (Food Education At School Today)

One of the Academy’s long term aims is to restore food and cooking to the school curriculum starting with children at 5 years old.
The Academy is regarded as an authority on a broad range of issues relating to our expertise, which includes employment, health, hygiene, education and training. Working with suppliers of top quality culinary products is also vital to the Academy in order to maintain the high standards to which we are committed.


The Wine and Sommelier Guild

The Wine and Sommelier Guild of the United Kingdom aims to share the enjoyment and appreciation of wine. It fulfils its objective through its social activities: dinners, tastings, wine courses, vineyard tours and other events for members. The Guild particularly supports English and Welsh wine producers seeking opportunities to showcase English wines.

Through the Guild’s Charitable Trust it provides training, mentoring and other support for those seeking careers in the wine and hospitality industries. Its renowned wine-knowledge courses are run in London and several locations around the UK to introduce front of house staff in the hospitality industry to key features of wine appreciation and service. These aim to build knowledge and confidence in tasting and explaining their own wine lists to their clientele. We are proud that these courses are eligible for Lord Forte Foundation bursary grants.