Last night in a dazzling ceremony, the Craft Guild of Chefs announced the winners of its 25th annual awards to more than 750 guests, including an impressive line-up of Michelin-starred chefs and high-profile industry professionals.
The prestigious annual event took place at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London. Celebrating 25 years of culinary excellence, the awards recognise and acknowledge remarkable talent across the UK and beyond.
The first award of the night was presented to Master Chef and restaurateur Michelin star legend Alain Ducasse. Chef Ducasse took to the stage to receive the Guild’s brand-new award, International Chef. He was awarded the accolade for his entrepreneurial and visionary approach. Of the award Ducasse said;
“Thank you very much for this award. I value it very much, mainly because I recognise myself in the aims and vision of your Guild.
What does it mean to be a chef today? What unites us all? My answer is simple…responsibility. Responsibility towards our teams and our profession, responsibility towards our clients and responsibility for the planet.”
“Sharing knowledge with our team is now natural. The more we will educate, the better for the future. I do believe we also have a role to play in healthier eating habits. Healthier foods demand a greater attention to the produce. And behind the produce are the producers, with whom we must become partners to encourage a smart, sustainable agriculture. It is better for taste, for our customers and, eventually, for the planet.
I realise how much we share the same vision. Whatever the side of the Channel, we think, and we act similarly. Thank you for the award.”
The International Chef Award judging panel consisted of Steve Munkley, Phil Howard, Angela Hartnett, Jason Atherton, Henri Brosi, Clare Smyth and Lee Maycock and the awards were presented by Craft Guild of Chefs Vice Presidents Steve Munkley and David Mulcahy along with Chef James Tanner.
Andrew Bennett, chairman of the Craft Guild of Chefs commented:
“These awards are the highlight of the Craft Guild of Chefs calendar where we get the chance to recognise chefs in all sectors of our industry. Whether they be apprentices starting out, to the more seasoned professionals. All of them have such an important part to play in the culinary world with their dedication, energy and passion in all that they do.”
Following the International Chef Award, 17 additional awards were presented to deserving winners including the prestigious Special Award, honouring Angela Hartnett for her outstanding contribution to the industry.
Angela Hartnett said:
“It’s a privilege to win this award. It’s for the people you work with. It is for you but for the team as much as anyone else. You’re only as good as your team.
The Guild is a great representation of where this industry needs to be. It’s about looking after one another, it’s the fellowship. You feel you’re in a community that will support each other. I think it’s important that it keeps reinventing itself and keeps bringing in new young people. It’s smart and it knows what it needs to do.”
Clare Smyth who picked up New Restaurant of the Year award for her restaurant Core by Clare Smyth added:
“What does it mean to me? Its huge. It’s my first solo restaurant, so to win for a new restaurant for something that you’ve seen from the vision, from the beginning, it’s amazing. It’s the biggest pleasure to see that happening. It’s a huge honour to be a part of the Craft Guild of Chefs, because ultimately, we’re all cooks, and we have to remember where we came from and what we’re doing. Respecting our trade and our profession is really important.”