A FORMER London PR director turned pub owner and self-taught chef has been crowned PubChef of the Year 2008.
Ross Williams, who left London five years ago to buy the Wellington, in Wellington, Herefordshire, with his wife, Philippa, scooped the top title in the PubChef Food Excellence Awards.
The winners were announced at a glittering awards ceremony at the Dorchester Hotel in Park Lane, London.
Tony Hughes, who stepped down after a decade as boss of Mitchells & Butlers pub restaurant division at the end of 2007, has been awarded the PubChef
Food Excellence Awards’s Special Achievement award for 2008.
Hughes has been described by industry peers as the "godfather of casual dining in the UK".
Pub Company of the Year (branded) was awarded to Orchid and Pub Company of the Year (unbranded) to Brunning and Price.
Food concept of the year went to Mitchells and Butlers for their steakhouse concept Miller & Carter.
Vince Glouton from Fullers was awarded catering development professional of the year and John Taylor from the Punch Tavern, Fleet street, London, scooped the award for food pub manager.
As well as picking up the top gong, Ross Williams also won the meat category for his dish of roast rack and faggot of speckled faced lamb with roast garlic mash.
James Rogers from the Grundisburgh Dog, Grundisburgh, Suffolk, was awarded first place in the global category for his dish of Tandoori baked rabbit.
He also won the pub classics category with his dish of venison and liver and bacon.
James and his former chef Sam Browes scooped first place in the team category.
Jack Baker from the Cricket Inn, Totley, Sheffield, won the seafood category for with his chowder of British Isles seafood with Old Bay spice and shrimp toast.
Jack also picked up first place in the game category for his dish of local honey-roasted Chatsworth partridge, crispy game dumpling, creamed savoy cabbage and duck-fat roast potatoes.
Jack Bloomfield won young pub chef for his dish of pan-seared scallops on risotto finished with fennel and Pernod; bar dishes went to Michael Ward from the Highwayman in Kirkby Lonsdale, Lancashire for his English tapas of pea dipping pots; Neil Clark from the Linnet in Great Hinton, Wiltshire won the poultry category with his dish of roast breast of mallard with parsnip and apple rosti; and Annette Brassey from the Crown in Roecliffe, North Yorkshire won the desserts category with her trio of Wakefield rhubarb.