YOUNG people are the lifeblood of the hospitality industry, yet often feel undervalued and unrecognised.

The new Sussex Rising Stars Awards aims to change that with a string of honours to highlight their outstanding work – and now it’s time to nominate those who are worthy.

The UK has had a long-standing problem in encouraging British people into long-term careers in hospitality and the wider food and drink sector.

Wages have traditionally been poor, hours long and jobs are often high pressure whether in the kitchen or dealing with guests front-of-house.

Brexit and the pandemic have seen young European hospitality and farm workers return to the relative security of their home countries, with new UK work visa regulations now effectively barring their return.

In the meantime, Brits of all ages who worked in the industry have – through choice or necessity – moved into other roles over the past year.

Bite Sussex food and drink festival says encouraging more young people into the sectors for the long term is essential.

To promote this, the team behind Bite Sussex, in conjunction with the Sussex branch of the Institute of Hospitality, launched the Sussex Rising Stars Awards earlier this year.

Now the public, colleagues, friends and family are invited to nominate outstanding young people aged 26 or under working across the hospitality and food and drink industry.

The categories are:

  • Bar rising star: those working in pubs and bars
  • Farming rising star: those working in growing and rearing
  • Fishing rising star: those working in fish and seafood catch
  • Hidden Hero rising star: those working in the unseen back-of-house, including housekeeping, maintenance and back office
  • Kitchen rising star: those working as chefs
  • Production rising star: those working in the manufacture and processing of food and drink
  • Sussex Champion rising star: someone who has gone the extra mile
  • Up Front rising star: those working in hospitality front-of-house, service and consumer-facing service in retail
  • Vineyard rising star: those working in the growing of vines and production of Sussex wine

Nominations for close at midnight on Thursday.

After this date a panel of industry experts, chaired by Sir Peter Field, will shortlist finalists for interview prior to the awards ceremony which will be hosted at

My Brighton hotel in November.

You can nominate your Rising Stars free on their website.