Tom Kerridge wins chefs' chef award and Gidleigh Park and Midsummer House win five rosettes at AA Restaurant Guide 2014 Hospitality Awards

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 24th September 2013

A veritable who’s who of the hospitality industry gathered tonight at the annual AA Restaurant Guide 2014 Hospitality Awards. 

The glittering dinner, hosted by Krishnan Guru-Murthy at the London Hilton onPark Lane  not only saw Tom Kerridge receive the coveted AA Chefs’ Chef Award but also 22 establishments celebrate receiving recognition for outstanding excellence in their field.  

The evening also saw two new restaurants receive five rosettes - Michael Caine's Gidleigh Park and Daniel Clifford's Midsummer house as well as seven new four-rosette restaurants - Launceston Place, L'Ortolan, Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, Murano, The Hand and Flowers and Cliff House. Medlar in London, Outlaw's at The Capital and The French by Simon Rogan were among 29 new three-rosette establishments.  

Attended by world-renowned chefs, prominent hoteliers, hospitality gurus and key industry media, the AA Hospitality Awards are amongst the most prestigious national awards of their kind and draw on the unrivalled knowledge and expertise of the AA inspectorate and other industry professionals involved in the judging process.

Winners are selected in recognition of excellence and success within their chosen category, having shown a significant improvement in the preceding 12 – 18 months and proving their dedication to raising industry standards and enhancing both their guest and diner experiences.   This year, guests were treated to a sensational three course gourmet meal created by five AA Rosette-awarded chef Sat Bains, in conjunction with theHilton Park Lanekitchen team as well as a breathtaking display from members of the Strictly Come Dancing cast.  

The 2013-14 AA Retaurant Guide Hospitality Award winners are:  

AA Chefs’ Chef of the Year

(sponsored by Caterer.com) A unique award that offers all AA Rosette-awarded chefs the chance to decide which of their peers deserves the ultimate recognition.

Winner: Tom Kerridge

Originally from the West Country, Tom’s early career started in country house hotels and restaurants in Gloucestershire.  After a spell inLondonworking for well known chefs such as Phillip Britton, Steven Bull and Gary Rhodes, Tom moved toNorwichwhere he was Head Chef at Adlards before setting up the Hand and Flowers with his wife Beth.  

AA Lifetime Achievement Award

This award recognises a lifetime commitment to the pursuit of perfection within their discipline. Along with the highest quality of service and standards, a track record of constant improvement and an unswerving dedication.

Winner: Harry Murray MBE, Lucknam Park

With over 50 years of experience in the hospitality industry Harry Murray is a worthy winner of this Lifetime Achievement award.  As Managing Director from 1997 to 2010 and now Chairman of Lucknam Park, Harry has overseen the meteoric rise of this luxurious hotel to its current five AA Red Star and three AA Rosettes status.  

AA Hotel of the Year

Introduced in 1992, and awarded to hotels that are recognised as being outstanding examples in their particular market.

Winner, England: Gravetye Manor, East Grinstead

A beautiful Elizabethan mansion building built in 1598, Gravetye Manor remains an excellent example of a country house hotel.

Winner, Wales: Llangoed Hall, Llyswen

Llangoed Hall is set against the stunning backdrop of the Black Mountains and theWyeValley.  It is an imposing country house which is a haven of peace and quiet.

Winner, Scotland: Cringletie House, Peebles

This romantic baronial mansion, built in 1861, is set in 28 acres of beautiful gardens and woodland.  Guests can enjoy the walled garden with its 400 year old yew hedge, a waterfall, sculptures and croquet lawn.

Winner, Northern Ireland: The Merchant Hotel, Belfast

This magnificent Grade 1 hotel situated in the historical Cathedral Quarter of the city centre has been lovingly and sensitively restored to reveal its original architectural grandeur and interior opulence.

Winner, London (sponsored by Brief Your Market): DUKES, London

Discreetly tucked away in St James’s DUKES is over 100 years old.  Steeped in history, its style is understated with smart, well-equipped bedrooms and public areas.  

AA Restaurant of the Year

While the standard of cuisine is at the very heart of the selection criteria for these awards, innovation, ambience, and hospitality are all part of the equation that determines the eventual winners.

Winner, England: The Artichoke, Amersham

Having been forced to shut after a fire in a neighbouring premise in 2008, when The Artichoke reopened 18 months later it quickly got back to form.  Positioned in the market square of the lovely town the Grade 2 listed building retains many of the original features.  Chef Laurie’s cooking shows bags of ambition which is matched by his culinary skills.

Winner, Wales: Ye Olde Bulls Head, Beaumaris

History seeps from the pores of the originally 15th Century inn in the shadow ofBeaumarisCastle.  Its flagship dining room is The Loft where chef Hefin Roberts produces imaginatively worked, modern British dishes which are comprised of a multiplicity of premium Welsh ingredients.

Winner, Scotland: Ondine Restaurant, Edinburgh

Ondine’s central horseshoe shaped crustacean bar is both a feature of this restaurant and a declaration of intent – this place is about top notch Scottish seafood dished created by Chef Roy Brett.

Winner, London (sponsored by Food and Travel Magazine): Medlar, London

Medlar, which opened in theKings Road,Chelseain April 2011, is the first restaurant venture of owners Joe Mercer Nairne and David O’Connor.  Their aim is to provide fantastic food at a reasonable price and to deliver a very high standard of customer service in a relaxed environment.  Their combined experience in some ofLondon’s best restaurants is certainly helping them to achieve their aims.    

AA Wine Award

(sponsored by Matthew Clark) Nominees are judged on the quality of their wine list and their ability to inspire customers to make wider and more adventurous choices.

Winner, Scotland and Overall: The Witchery By The Castle, Edinburgh

At The Witchery you will find a superb list which keeps your interest throughout.  With clear strength and depth, the wines have been expertly chosen. The great pricing policy ensures good value at all levels, together with intelligent tasting notes.

Winner, England: Northcote, Llangho

Northcote has a beautifully presented wine list which has quality selections throughout. There are well chosen wines by the glass and it is great to see areas such asPortugalbeing championed.

Winner, Wales: Park House, Cardiff

At Park House a clear passion and commitment to wine is very evident in their wine list with some great depth in vintages. The larger formats listing, Australian range and champagnes listing are impressive.  

AA Pub of the Year

Combining the provision of enjoyable food, a great pub atmosphere, and a warm welcome with a high standard of management

Winner, England: Elveden Inn, Elveden

The newly refurbished Elveden Inn reopened in November 2011 to reveal a relaxed and contemporary bar and dinning rooms.  Guests can expect a family-friendly atmosphere, blazing log fires in winter, East Anglian Ales on tap and a modern pub menu that brims with local produce.

Winner, Wales: The Groes Inn, Conwy

As the first licensed house inWalesthis charming, creeper-clad inn has been welcoming customers since 1573.  With stunning views of the River Conwy this pub offers a distinctly Welsh tilt to the menu with lamb and game from nearby estates and an infinitely varied selection of fruits of the sea brought in through Conwy’s quay or Anglesey’s boats.  The beers mostly come from the Great Orme micro-brewery.

Winner, Scotland: The Sheep Heid Inn, Edinburgh

The Sheep Heid Inn, dating back to 1360, is the oldest surviving public house inScotland.  After a fantastic refurbishment it is now known for delivering outstanding food in a comfortable and warm atmosphere making the Sheep Heid one of the most desirable places to dine inEdinburgh.  

AA Small Hotel Group of the Year (sponsored by Beacon)

Winner: Red Carnation Hotels

Red Carnation Hotels is a privately-owned, family-run business founded by South African born Mrs Beatrice Tollman who is still heavily involved in the day to day operations of the business.  The first hotel was the Chesterfield Mayfair in 1984 followed by hotels inFlorida,Geneva,South Africa, Dorset, Guernsey andIreland.  Each property has been sensitively restored maintaining their individual character and sharing the qualities that make Red Carnation worthy of this award – splendid luxury, generous hospitality, inventive and traditional cuisine, passionate service and loyal staff.  

AA Hotel Group of the Year (sponsored by D-ENERGi)

Winner: Macdonald Hotels

Established in 1990 by Donald Macdonald and colleagues, Macdonald Hotels and Resorts have steadily and successfully expanded from its beginnings in the Scottish Highlands to become theUK’s largest privately owned hotel group.  With over 45 hotels across the UK and ten resorts throughout the UK and Spain, Macdonald Hotels and Resorts continues to invest and remains focused on delivering exceptional hospitality.  

AA Eco Hotel and Eco Hotel Group of the Year

These awards recognises a clear commitment to sustainability, demonstrated through good practice and policy to make a positive contribution to reducing impact on the environment

Winner, Eco Hotel: Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons

Le Manoir has shown a commitment to the environment by setting up its eco-brigade (Custodians of Responsible Luxury). The brigade is made up of employees with a passion for all things green. There are 17 internal members and one honouree guest, and all departments are involved. The brigade meets monthly and minutes are written, recorded and distributed to all employees.  Some of the initiatives that have been set up include a can crushing scheme, fat waste recycling and an eco information booklet for all guests.

Winner, Eco Hotel Group: Accor Hotels

By introducing PLANET 21, Accor has made 21 commitments in favour of sustainable development.  These cover the areas of health, nature, carbon, innovation, local development, employment and dialogue.  The 21 commitments include offering eco-friendly products, fitting flow regulators to taps and showers and the use of energy monitors.  All Accor hotels work with employees, guests and partners to reinvent hotels – sustainably.  

AA Food Service Award (sponsored by People 1st)

The newest of the AA Hospitality Awards, the AA Food Service Award recognises establishments who not only deliver excellent standards of restaurant service and hospitality but also have technical service skills, food and beverage knowledge of the highest standard and a clear commitment to staff training and development.

Winner: The Waterside Inn

Owned by the celebrated Roux family and now run by Alain Roux, the Waterside Inn is renowned across the globe as a leading light in the world of gastronomy.  Alain Roux is a great believer in pleasing the guest and anticipating their needs before they know them themselves.  Every service is creating a piece of theatre for the guests and the team strive every day to achieve this.    

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 24th September 2013

Tom Kerridge wins chefs' chef award and Gidleigh Park and Midsummer House win five rosettes at AA Restaurant Guide 2014 Hospitality Awards