Kirsty Rafferty wins Sodexo’s battle of the baristas

October 29, 2015

A barista from Sodexo’s Scottish Partliament contract has been named Barista of the Year in Sodexo’s National Barista Competition.

Kirsty Rafferty wins Sodexo’s battle of the baristas

Kirsty Rafferty saw off competition from 9 other finalists at Sodexo’s Salon Culinaire, held at Ascot racecourse last week.

The competition, for which Sodexo partners with its coffee supplier UCC, tests baristas’ technical, creative and sensory skills, as well as their customer service and passion for coffee, applying World Barista Championship rules and scoring. Participants work with coffees from Sodexo’s Aspretto brand, which is triple-certified, meeting Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance and Soil Association organic standards.

From a total of 30 entries from Sodexo’s contracts across the UK ten finalists made it to the finals at Salon.

Winner, Kirsty Rafferty, has been working for Sodexo at the Scottish Parliament since the building opened 11 years ago. Earlier in the year she picked up two awards - the Barista of the Year award and the Kathy Ridgard outstanding achievement award - at Sodexo’s Service Excellence Awards. This was Kirsty’s fourth attempt to take the top spot in the National Barista Competition and she was delighted to finally come first, after coming in as runner-up last year and being placed third in 2013.

She commented; “I am absolutely thrilled to have won. It has been a long road to success! The competition was a fabulous experience and I was honoured to compete alongside such talented baristas from across Sodexo’s business.”

Kim Reeves, Sodexo’s retail category manager for hot beverages said, “I am delighted for Kirsty. She is an extremely talented barista, has a positive professional approach and superb customer service skills.

The competition is important to encourage excellence within our drinks business, which is crucial for driving increased margin for both us and our clients. At Sodexo our baristas are often as skilled as our chefs; a competition like this is a great way for us engage with our employees and to commit to developing their skills and talent.”

We are rightly proud of our triple-certified Aspretto brand and the wider hot beverages within Sodexo. Today is a great way for us to showcase our skills and passion to the wider Sodexo business and to our clients.

Kim also used Salon Culinaire and the barista competition to showcase a recent trip she took to Peru with Sodexo’s coffee suppliers UCC and representatives from the Fairtrade Foundation to trace the journey of the beans used in Aspretto back to the farming co-operatives who produce them.

Kim continues; “The objectives for the trip were to see for ourselves the tangible differences that buying coffee with Fairtrade and other certifications make, especially to the coffee farmers and their families at the beginning of the supply chain. To be able to share that experience with our baristas and the wider Sodexo community at an event like this is great and something we will be repeating over the next few months.”

Before becoming a barista, Kirsty spent 16 years as a hairdresser. When she is isn’t preparing award-winning coffee, she enjoys spending time with friends and going to the gym. She is also a keen charity fundraiser and has managed to raise over £10,000 for the Kilt walk and Trossacks trust through charity runs and walks.

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