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Lexington’s Baristas Wow Coffee Experts

Lexington Catering, one of the leading contract caterers in London, gave their team the chance to battle it out at their Baristar of the Year Competition 2016. After a competitive battle over eight weeks, with over 100 individuals going through intense training at illy coffee and Union, nine baristas were identified and went head to head in a live final on Thursday 10th March 2016.

Renata Palhazai, barista at,Thomas Miller, was crowned Lexington’s ‘Baristar of the Year’ at Lexington’s third Baristar competition. The event was held in the stunning atrium at 200 Aldersgate.

The competition focused on learning from some of the leading experts in the coffee industry who also judged the finalists: Gianluca Simeone from Euro Food Brands (illy coffee) and David Jameson, from Union Hand-Roasted. They were supported by Mike Sunley, Lexington’s Chief Executive, Rob Kirby, Chef Director, and Anita Demeter, last year’s winner,

David Jameson, UK Coffee In Good Spirits Champion at Union Hand-Roasted Coffee says, “Coffee is such an important part of every workplace – I can’t start work without it! What Lexington are doing with their investment in great coffee and their support of this barista championship drives standards and knowledge and leads to ever better coffee being served every day at Lexington. It’s brilliant to be a part of such an exciting area of such an exciting company.”

Craig Bosworth, Food Service Operations Director at Euro Food Brands (illy coffee) said, “The final was fabulous, especially the food and the innovative coffee creations. It was great to see the winner using illy coffee and working so closely with the Lexington team has made it an event to be remembered.”

Lexington’s 2016 Baristar Champion, Renata Palhazi, scooped the title with her signature coffee, Chocoholics Dream Coffee. This was inspired by her love of chocolate – she layered white chocolate under dark chocolate beneath a shot of espresso and cream to top, with chocolate sprinkles.

Renata, says, “I set out to win and I’m so pleased to be taking home the title. The competition was such a great experience and I’m so proud to be recognised as a barista champion after only working with Lexington for six months. I feel relieved all my hard work has paid off and it will be fabulous to see my signature drink rolled out across the business.”

Alan Chaston, Facilities Director at Thomas Miller says, “We take our coffee very seriously at Thomas Miller and are delighted to see Renata be crowned Lexington’s Basistar of the Year 2016. She certainly deserves to win. We are really looking forward to trying her speciality coffee over the next few weeks.”

Lexington’s Chief Executive, Mike Sunley, commented, “The competition has gone from strength to strength. We have had so many entries from the team this year and it’s been fabulous to see our previous winners, Valeria Di Gianfilippo, Deputy General Manager at Rothschild, and Anita Demeter, General Assistant at Knight Frank, invest their own time to coach entrants.

“We focus on creating amazing experiences for our clients and customers – this includes serving quality coffee. The event is a great opportunity to bring our team together and showcase expertise across the business. The competitive dimension to learning gives the team the space and freedom to push boundaries and experiment with flavours, which is just as important for our beverages as it is our food.”

The nine finalists were judged on their ability and skills in completing the four minute ‘milk jug challenge’ which saw them making a cappuccino, latte and two macchiatos from just one jug of milk in less than four minutes. They then had to make their ‘signature’ coffee live on the night and present it to the judges.

The nine finalists include:

* Renata Palhazai, Barista at,Thomas Miller (Winner – first place)

* Ilaria Mancosu, Café Assistant at Knight Frank (Second Place)

* Gianfranco Guastella, Barista at Café 200 (Third Place)

* Artur Kukuryk, Café Assistant at Rothschild

* Attila Jakubei, London Business School

* Mhend Djellali, Lexington Support Team, Hospitality and Café Assistant

* Monika Balazs, Food Service Assistant at Man Group

* Natalia Bukowska, Barista at London Business School

* Otilia Baciu, Barista at Omnicom