The chef, who worked at The Dorchester, The Ritz and Birmingham's Plough and Harrow Hotel before taking on Simpsons, has spent many years helping develop the careers of his own staff and others in the industry.
At the beginning of this year he supported his own head chef Adam Bennett and commis chef Kristian Curtis in their entry into the Bocuse d'Or, allowing them almost six months off work to prepare for the competition. The team came fourth, the highest placing ever achieved for the UK.
He has also helped develop the careers of Glyn Purnell, Luke Tipping and Andy Waters and is vice president of the British Culinary Federation a fellow of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts – two of the biggest professional bodies for chefs in the UK.
As a longstanding governor of UCB Antona has also played a pivotal role in shaping training provision at the university, one of the key reasons for his award.
Professor Ray Linforth, vice-chancellor and principal, at UCB said: “Andreas Antona has made an immense contribution to University College Birmingham and the lives and careers of many young hospitality and chef students. For him to be awarded an honorary doctorate is a fitting tribute to his sheer dedication and commitment to ‘give something back’ and nurture the talents and skills of young people.
"He has guided the thinking in terms of industry trends; has helped to shape courses to ensure that they meet industry requirements and are fit for purpose; provided sound, practical, advice on equipment purchases; helped to develop strong, effective relationships with leading players in the industry and, most importantly, worked with our students and provided work placements and full-time employment at the end of their courses."
Antona's restaurant, Simpsons is one of only three restaurants holding a Michelin star in Birmingham. The chef also owns two restaurants in Kenilworth - The Cross, which is now overseen by Bennett and The Beef Restaurant. The chef is also set to open another venture in Birmingham city centre.
He is also chair of the Culinary Alliance of Birmingham – a group of leading local chefs who are committed to raising Birmingham’s profile as a food destination; to promoting the sustainable sourcing of produce and, to nurturing talented young chefs to achieve their full potential.