'Every day we go to work to make people feel better [...] and to make people happy. What could be better?'

The Staff Canteen

Gareth Ward’s Ynyshir is named the UK’s number 1 restaurant and Ruth Rogers receives lifetime achievement award

Yesterday, Monday 13th June at a ceremony held at The Hurlingham Club, London, for the first time in the Estrella Damm National Restaurant Awards' 16-year history a restaurant outside of England has claimed the number one spot. 

Stefan Chomka, editor of Restaurant by BigHospitality. “What Gareth Ward has done at Ynyshir is remarkable. Taking on a restaurant located in a traditional country house hotel and putting such a personal and edgy stamp on it was a bold, brave move – a real statement of intent – but one that has really paid off."

"Ynyshir is, without doubt, one of the most unique and exciting places to eat in the UK at the moment, possibly in the world, and is a very worthy winner of this year’s awards. Congratulations to Gareth and the team.”

The second-place spot goes to Moor Hall in Lancashire, which was ranked the number one restaurant for the past two years. Third place went to London’s Brat restaurant in Shoreditch, while The Ritz, also in London, is ranked at number four.

The highest new entry was the high-end Indian restaurant Bibi in London’s Mayfair which reached number five and also won the Opening of the Year.

The list this year shows London's dominance with only three of the top 10 restaurants being outside of the capital and sixty of the top 100 restaurants also being in London.

Special Chef Awards

The Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Ruth Rogers, the chef-owner of London’s The River Café.

Regarding this, Stefan said: “Ruth Rogers is one of those rare professional chefs that transcend the world of cooking and give it a more human, personal element. The River Café celebrates its 35th birthday this year and has played a pivotal role in bringing London’s culinary scene up from the doldrums to what it is today. Its influence cannot be overstated.”

Ruth started her acceptance speech said: "Every day we go to work to make people feel better about eating good food, about being in a beautiful place and to make people happy. What could be better?"

Ruth then, using a quote attributed to Sir Isaac Newton 'if I have a better view it's because I stood on the shoulders of giants', thanked all of her staff at The River Café before inviting the four members of staff with her at the event to come up on stage to join her.

She then said this job teaches "us every day how important it is to be fair, how important it is to be correct, how important it is to be listened to, and how important it is to move forward in every way; with diversity, with women, the place of work that we give people, the holidays, the time, the money."

"We have to be those people that make restaurants really respected, really a place where people want to work and where they know that the expectations we have of our profession are high."

Image Credit Carl Sukonik 

Simon Rogan, chef-patron of L’Enclume in Cumbria, was named the chef of the year and The Ritz restaurant took home The Service Award. Along with that, the restaurant's head chef Spencer Metzger was the winner of the Chef to Watch Award 

The Restaurateur of the Year Award went to Dan and Natasha Smith from The Fordwich Arms and The Bridge Arms, both in Kent. While the inaugural Food Lovers Award - an award where the public was asked to vote on their favourite restaurant in the UK - was awarded to beach House in Oxwich

Following that The Sustainability Award was awarded to the Stockport restaurant Where The Light Gets In.

Juliane Caillouette-Noble, managing director of The Sustainable Restaurant Association, which judged the award, said: “Chef-patron Sam Buckley exemplifies the fantastic steps many restaurants are taking not only to source and serve the finest ingredients with minimal impact on the environment, but he is also going a big step further by bringing together farmers, their customers and the wider community to find solutions to some of the most serious issues in our food system.”

The Estrella Damm National Restaurant Awards is Restaurant by BigHospitality’s yearly ranking of the top 100 restaurants in the UK, voted on by the UK’s leading chefs, restaurateurs and food writers.

James Healey, UK Country Manager for Estrella Damm, said: “This year’s list includes a huge pool of incredible talent that deserve this recognition for being the best in the UK. Estrella Damm has always been proud to support the hospitality industry, sponsoring these awards and the sustainability award."

"As the beer of Barcelona, we are honoured to share our passion for brewing with the best restaurants in the UK, who also have a devotion to quality and taste. We hope this list encourages everyone to get out and support the top restaurants while celebrating the success of the industry.”

The Full List of Awards:

  • Estrella Damm National Restaurant of the Year: Ynyshir
  • Best Restaurant in England: Moor Hall
  • Best Restaurant in Northern Ireland: Ox
  • Best Restaurant in Wales: Ynyshir
  • Best Restaurant in Scotland: Inver
  • Chef of the Year, sponsored by Ritter Courivaud: Simon Rogan, Umbel Restaurant Group
  • Restaurateur of the Year, sponsored by Entegra: Dan and Natasha Smith, The Fordwich Arms and The Bridge Arms
  • Chef to Watch, sponsored by Belazu Ingredient Co.: Spencer Metzger
  • Opening of the Year, sponsored by OpenTable: BiBi
  • One to Watch, sponsored by Woods Foodservice: Lisboeta
  • The Sustainability Award, sponsored by Estrella Damm: Where The Light Gets In
  • Gastropub of the Year, sponsored by Estrella Damm: The Angel at Hetton
  • The Service Award, sponsored by Liberty Wines and Rathfinny Wine Estate: The Ritz
  • Wine List of the Year, sponsored by Bibendum Wine: Noble Rot Soho
  • Cocktail List of the Year, sponsored by Tito’s Handmade Vodka: KOL
  • Food Lovers Award: The Beach House Restaurant, Oxwich
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Ruth Rogers, The River Café.

The full list of the UK’s Top 100 Restaurants can be found on the National Restaurant Awards website.

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 14th June 2022

'Every day we go to work to make people feel better [...] and to make people happy. What could be better?'