Craig Bonner was the recipient of the prestigious Acorn Award in a ceremony held in Hampshire on Monday and named as one of the brightest industry prospects aged under 30.
Delighted, Craig, 29, said: “The Acorn Awards are run by The Caterer magazine, which has been running for over 135 years to the catering and hospitality industry.
“They pick 30 people a year who are under 30, and they are the rising stars of the hospitality industry, and the people who really stand out.”
Craig added: “A lot of people who have won Acorns go on to be huge CEOs of companies.
“Nick Nairn, the famous chef, got a lot of the way towards where he was all by winning an Acorn Award.”
Craig has worked in hospitality for nearly 12 years, starting off washing dishes in the kitchen of The Royal Stewart Motel when he was just 12.
He moved to work in retail at the shopping outlet, before a supervisor and management position at The Gables Hotel, which was run by McKeever Hotel Group.
Craig moved with that firm as an assistant hotel manager in Bathgate, but decided he wanted to explore the drinks industry — moving to Tennents Caledonian Brewers.
He said: “My passion lies in the drinks industry.”
Craig then moved to bar and hospitality company G1 Group, and on to Musselburgh Racecourse where he is general manager.
He was nominated for an Acorn by his employer, Heritage Portfolio.
Craig said: “I said to myself four or five years ago that my one vision for my career path would be to have an article and photo about myself in The Caterer magazine, so when I got the email saying I’d won an Acorn Award I was absolutely ecstatic.
“It was such a nice feeling just to say I’ve completed one of the goals that I’ve wanted to do in my career, and at 29 in my last year to try and get one.”