A SOMMELIER at a luxury Lake District hotel has won a coveted national honour for the quality of his service.

Stanislas Mascaro, resident wine expert at Storrs Hall, Windermere, received the Award of Excellence from the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts at a ceremony in London's Claridge's.

At just 23 years old, Stan, as he is known to colleagues and guests, was appointed sommelier at the hotel in June.

He was formerly assistant sommelier at the famed Waterside Inn, Michel Roux’s restaurant in Bray, on the River Thames.

The French-born expert trained at the Hotel le Parc in Obernai, on the Alsace wine route, and has also worked at the exclusive Coworth Park hotel at Ascot.

“Receiving this Royal Academy award is a huge honour and it is brilliant that it has coincided with my move to my first role as head sommelier. It will help drive my ambition in the hospitality business and I am looking forward to putting Storrs Hall firmly on the map for the quality of the wines, and the exceptional service, that we can offer.”

Chosen by thousands of applicants, the annual awards are handed out to young chefs, pastry chefs and service staff aged between 20 and 26.

Entrants are put through their paces and first have to answer 100 industry-specific questions before they undergo detailed examination on the menu from their own establishment.

Sommeliers are then required to decant and describe wines to the judging panel, as well as set up and serve a three course meal with complementary wines and liqueurs to a table of two guest judges.

Derek MacDonald, general manager of Storrs Hall, said: “These awards are renowned in the hospitality business and set the industry standard for young front-of-house staff and chefs.

"This is a huge accolade for Stan and the entire Storrs Hall team is thrilled for him.

"His achievement is testament to his dedication to his hard work and expertise. He’s a very new appointment to our team and we are looking forward to seeing him flourish as sommelier here at the hotel.”