The annual AA Hospitality Awards, held last night at the London Hilton on Park Lane, saw some of the biggest names in the hospitality industry come together to celebrate the various achievements of individuals and establishments in the restaurant, hotel and pub sectors.
Kerridge, who’s career began in country house hotels and restaurants in Gloucestershire, beat of competition from the likes of Sat Baines, Claude Bosi and Michel Roux Jnr to win the award which is voted for by fellow AA Rosette-awarded chefs.
The 40-year-old chef opened the Hand and Flowers in Marlow with his wife Beth in 2005. Within a year, the gastropub picked up its first Michelin star and last year it received a second, making it the only pub in the country to do so. His pub also came third in last year's National Restaurant Awardsand was named Gastropub of the Year.
Kerridge has since become asomewhat of a TV regular, appearing on the Great British Menu and Saturday Kitchen. Last night also saw the launch of Kerridge’s own TV show, Proper Pub Food on BBC Two,in which he shows people how to cook dishes inspired by British pub classics. It is the latest in a number of recent commissions which have given chefs and restaurateurs their own platform, as the TV industry's interest in the hospitality industry shows no sign of abating.
The AA Hospitality Awards, which were hosted by Channel 4 presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy, saw guests treated to a three-course meal created by five-AA-Rosette chef Sat Bains, as well as a display from members of the Strictly Come Dancing cast.
Twenty-two establishments were recognised for ‘outstanding excellence’ in their field, having shown a significant improvement in the preceding 12–18 months.
The evening also marked the launch of the new AA Food Service Award, which recognises venues that have technical service skills, food and beverage knowledge of the highest standard and a clear commitment to staff training and development. The debut winner of that award was the Alain Roux’s Waterside Inn in Bray.
Another of the evenings big awards was the Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognises ‘a lifetime commitment to the pursuit of perfection within their discipline’. The accolade was won by Harry Murray MBE, of Lucknam Park.
With over 50 years of experience in the hospitality industry, Murray has overseen the rise of the luxury hotel to its current five-AA-Red-Star and three-AA-Rosettes status, as managing director from 1997 to 2010 and now as chairman.
AA Hospitality Awards 2013-14: Full list of winners
Chefs’ Chef - Tom Kerridge
Lifetime Achievement – Harry Murray, Lucknam Park
Hotel of the Year: -
- London – DUKES, London
- Scotland – Cringletie House, Peebles
- Wales - Llangoed Hall, Llyswen
Restaurant of the Year: -
- England – The Artichoke, Amersham
- London – Medlar, London
- Scotland – Ondine Restaurant, Edinburgh
- Wales – Ye Olde Bulls Head, Beaumaris
Pub of the Year: -
- England – Elveden Inn, Elveden
- Scotland – The Sheep Heid Inn, Edinburgh
- Wales – The Groes Inn, Conwy
AA Wine Award
- Scotland (and overall) – The witchery by the Castle, Edinburgh
- England – Northcote, Llangho
- Wales – Park House, Cardiff
Small Hotel Group of the Year - Red Carnation Hotels
Hotel Group of the Year - Macdonald Hotels
Eco Hotel of the Year - Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons
Eco Hotel Group of the Year - Accor Hotels
AA Food Service Award - The Waterside Inn
The evening also saw the launch of the 2014 AA Lifestyle Guides which promote the AA’s range of assessed, recommended and quality-assured places to eat and stay throughout the UK and Ireland.