On Thursday 6th March, Valeria Di Gianfilippo, barista at The Bite, London Business School, was crowned Lexington’s first ever ‘Baristar of the Year’ at their inaugural Baristar Champion competition. The event was held in the stunning atrium at 200 Aldersgate and was attended by over 70 guests.
Valeria competed alongside six other Lexington finalists in the coffee competition judged by illy coffee legends Aniello Manfredonia, Gianluca Simeone and Marco Manfredonia, they were supported in their judging roles by Mike Sunley, Lexington’s Chief Executive and Rob Kirby, Chef Director.
Lexington’s Chief Executive, Mike Sunley, commented “We were blown away at the excitement and level of interest shown by our people who wanted to compete in this competition. It’s fantastic to see our incredible front of house guys get the attention and recognition that they deserve. Making great coffee is fast becoming recognised as a serious and much sought after skill and we’re so proud to have such dedicated and passionate coffee champions in the business.”
Commenting on her win Valeria said, “I am so happy that I won – I still can’t really believe it! It has been a really fun and educational experience and I met lots of amazing people in the process of perfecting my coffee skills. I’d like to say thanks to my team at the London Business School, and now enjoy I’m off to enjoy my signature coffee, the Nocciolato!’
All the finalists had to complete the four minute ‘milk jug challenge’ which saw them have to make 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 from a coffee ‘shopping basket’. Valeria’s signature drink, ‘Nocciolato’ was inspired by her love of hazelnuts and contained hazelnut syrup, cinnamon powder and melted Nutella. Valeria has won a stunning illy Francis 7.1 coffee machine and a limited edition illy coffee tin.
Second place went to Mokhtar Saib from Lexington’s Client Support Team and third place went to Ellie Bettinson, Graduate Trainee based at 200 Aldersgate. Mokhtar won a set of six Liu Wei designer espresso cups and limited edition illy coffee tin and Ellie won a ‘Live Happily’ illy espresso cup set & limited edition coffee tin.
The other finalists, Ricardo Fraga, Karim Cheblall, Guiseppe Procida and Simon Haines all received a finalist’s certificate, Baristar 2014 apron and a limited edition illy coffee tin. All the finalists will now become barista ambassadors and help to train and inspire up and coming baristas at Lexington sites.