IrelandSkills Restaurant Service award win for WIT student

Pictured is Maria Pelonero

Pictured is Maria Pelonero

Restaurant Management student at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT), Maria Pelonero, takes top prize at 59th annual national skills competition

Maria Pelonero, a student on WIT’s Diploma in Restaurant Management programme and currently on industrial placement at Mount Juliet in Co Kilkenny beat off stiff competition to win the Restaurant Service Award at the 2016 IrelandSkills National Competition.

Maria fought off stiff competition from Shannon Hotel School, Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) and another WIT student. Judges included Andrew Langford, Shannon Hotel School, James Sheridan, Dublin Institute of Technology, Patrick Brennan, Letterkenny Institute of Technology and Jacinta Beatty Greene Waterford Institute of Technology. (Judges in the competition abstain from judging their own students).

The 2016 event was organised by DIT and ran over a number of days. The Restaurant Service category included Flambé work, Silver Service, Mixology and Oenology and overall professionalism in all technical and social skills required to work in a high end restaurant.

The awards have been running since 1967. Ray Cullen, Head of Department of Languages, Tourism and Hospitality at WIT has played a pivotal role in promoting National Skills in WIT and training students at the final stages in preparation for same.

Hospitality Management student in final

Kathlyn Leahy a second year student on the BA in Hospitality Management course at WIT was also in the running for the award. She’s working at Newpark Hotel in Kilkenny over the summer months, gaining valuable work experience in the hospitality industry. Kathlyn is mentored by Mark Dunne, General Manager, a former Hospitality Graduate of WIT.

Passion for food service

Jacinta Greene Beatty, Lecturer in Hospitality Management, was in attendance at the closing ceremony and praised Maria’s skills.

“Maria is a most deserving winner as she was always a dedicated student of mine throughout the year studying Restaurant Management. Maria has a remarkable natural ability for dealing with people and is very passionate about food service and hospitality.”

In April 2016 Maria’s class with the support of Beatty Green organised the Inaugural Hospitality Graduate Entrepreneur Forum which attracted food and hospitality delegates from around the country with Ashford Castle’s Niall Rochford delivering the opening address.

Applications open for Restaurant Management

Beatty Greene who lectures on the level 7 programme collaborated with the French Culinary Institute in New York, Fáilte Ireland and a number of institutes of technology to develop the programme six years ago.

There are still a few places left on the programme for September. She explains it is suited to people interested in changing career and who are passionate about the hospitality industry. It is run part-time with classes taking place daytime Monday-Wednesday.

“Employers can send employees on the programme or individuals may apply without any prior experience in the industry. They must do an interview and write a short case study. The programme is assessed mainly through continuous assessment which suits the mature learner,” she explains.

The closing date for the Diploma Restaurant Management programme at WIT is 2 August 2016. Find out more at

Related Courses

Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in  Hospitality Management
Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in  in Culinary Arts
Higher Certificate in Arts in  Culinary Arts

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