Working at a leading foodservice agency I’ve been lucky enough in my time to attend some of the most prestigious events in our industry’s calendar, but none are more hotly anticipated than the annual Craft Guild of Chefs Awards which are known as the ‘Chef Oscars’.
Last night (1st June) saw the event celebrate its 23rd year and with my invite firmly in hand, me and my fellow Jellybean, Susan, headed to the Lancaster London Hotel – a stunning venue to host the crème-de-le-cream of the chef world. After National Chairman, Lee Maycock welcomed everyone we were presented with four delicious courses by the Lancaster’s talented culinary team, who had the responsibility of feeding the 800 guests.
To kick off proceedings there was ‘A Taste of Nipa Thai’ which included chicken satay, prawn rice paper wrap and spiced papaya salad, the second course was ‘From the Island Grill’ – and my favourite dish of the evening – a creamy Waterloo cheese risotto served with Lancaster London smoked salmon. This was followed by a succulent Grilled Fillet and Cottage Pie of West Country Beef and finally for dessert – just when you thought you couldn’t eat another bite – heaven on a plate appeared in the form of an indulgent Milk Chocolate & Hazelnut Slice, Dark Chocolate Fondant & White Chocolate Ice Cream which I think even chocolatiers Mark Tilling and Will Torrent, who I’d spotted across the room, would have been impressed with!
After the first class feast, everyone settled to see who would be recognised as the greatest culinary talent in the industry and be presented with the prestigious Special Award, which saw Michelin-starred brothers, Chris and Jeff Galvin receive the top honour. My excitement of dining at Galvin at Windows later this summer has now reached a new high after listening to the phenomenal achievements of these two very talented chefs.
As part of the night, chefs and industry observers were asked to vote for the Innovation Award Category. Our table was divided on whether it should be German Gymnasium (everyone go, it’s a fantastic restaurant next to King’s Cross), Sexy Fish and Susan’s favourite, Soho Farmhouse – who proved victorious and is now on my wish list to visit – I’m hoping my fiancée will read this and take note!
Here is a rundown of all the winners:
Apprentice Chef Award
Eleanor De Maria, Eurest Services
Armed Services Award
Flt Sgt Richard Greenhalgh RAF, Royal Air Force
Banqueting and Event Chef Award
James Buckley , Levy Restaurants
Chef Lecturer Award
John Crowe, North West Regional College, Londonderry
Competition Chef Award
Robert Kennedy, Sandhurst Military College
Contract Catering Chef Award
Stuart Nisbet, Elior UK
Development Chef Award
Diane Camp, Reynolds Catering Supplies
Ethnic Chef Award
Chad Rahman, Chez Mumtaj
Nick Jones, Soho Farmhouse
New Restaurant of the Year
Chris White, the White Spoon, Cheltenham
Pastry Chef Award
Stephen Tarling, Daylesford Organic
People’s Choice Award
Gareth Billington, Sodexo
Pub Restaurant Chef Award
James MacKenzie, Pipe and Glass Inn
Public Sector Chef Award
Scott Pring, Bridgewater College
Restaurant Chef Award
Will Holland, Coast Restaurant
Young Chef Award
Arthur Quin, Punch Bowl Inn & Restaurant Crosthwaite
A big thank you to Dewberry’s Stuart Barnett for the invite who proved the perfect host ensuring our glasses were topped with the brilliantly named Riesling, Kung Fu Girl. I’m a bit bleary eyed this morning but to be part of such a special evening it was worth it – fingers crossed I get a golden ticket for next year.