Details of the 20 restaurateurs chosen for The Power List: Restaurant magazine's 100 most powerful people in the restaurant industry.
Alan Yau. The creative genius behind Hakkasan, Wagamama and Busaba Eathai is unquestionably one of the world’s most important restaurateurs. A true polymath, his eye for detail across all aspects of an operation – from the design of the staff’s uniform and the floor tiles to the layout of the menu and the configuration of the kitchen – has resulted in some of the western world’s most original and influential restaurants. Now no longer involved with the formats with which he made his name, Yau has had an extraordinarily busy few years. He’s opened Turkish café Babaji, which looks likely to expand; Chinese gastropub Duck + Rice; and most recently and most impressively Park Chinois, an outrageously opulent Chinese restaurant that references the dinner and dancing clubs of 1930s Shanghai.
Jamie Oliver. With the Italian restaurant chain that bears his name in locations across the world, Jamie Oliver conceived one of the most powerful high-street restaurant brands in the UK. His strong media profile and ability to cause controversy and to run highly publicised campaigns on a global stage means he wields considerabe clout.
Gordon Ramsay. One can never accuse Gordon Ramsay of having a lack of ambition. The road has occasionally been rocky, but no British chef has ever put themselves out there quite like Ramsay. Since achieving three stars in 2001 at the age of 35, he has opened dozens of restaurants in the UK, not to mention a string of sites oversees in locations as challenging as Paris and New York. And with five shows currently running on the Fox Network, he is one of a handful of UK chefs to have made their mark in the States.
Rainer Becker. With a portfolio that spans London, Miami, Hong Kong, Dubai, Bangkok, New York and Abu Dhabi to name a few with his Zuma and Roka brands, Rainer Becker has created one of the most admired restaurant groups of the past 20 years. His restaurants are hugely profitable, and Roka and Zuma are the benchmarks for high-quality, yet scalable, Japanese food.
Raymond Blanc. What sets Raymond Blanc apart from many other chefs is the restaurateur’s parade of talent that has passed through Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, one of the UK’s most iconic hotel restaurants. This roll call includes – but is by no means limited to – Marco Pierre White, Bruno Loubet, Eric Chavot, Robin Gill and Ollie Dabbous. His 18-strong Brasserie Blanc chain also gives him a national high-street presence.
Russell Norman. Russell Norman is largely to thank for the current trend for low-hanging lighting, bare brick walls, small-plate food and no reservations. With Polpo, Norman has built a growing restaurant empire whose approach has become much copied and has led to many more diners having to stand out in the rain to eat at their favourite restaurants.
Rick Stein. Having created ‘Padstein’ in Cornwall, thanks to his presence in the town, Rick Stein intends to develop a national chain of eponymous seafood restaurants across the UK following openings in Winchester and Marlborough. The TV chef’s cookbooks are regular best sellers and he is a household name in the UK and also in Australia, where he owns Rick Stein at Bannisters in New South Wales with wife Sarah.
Mikhail Zelman. The Goodman and Burger & Lobster owner dreams big and continually pushes the boundaries of what a restaurant can be. The growing Burger & Lobster brand, which is expected to add to its site in New York as well as expand its presence in the Middle East, was single-handedly responsible for a surge in lobster concepts as well as those offering limited choice, or ‘monoproduct’ places, as Zelman calls them.
Marlon Abela. Marlon Abela is a hospitality industry chameleon with an array of business interests centred around his love of fine food and drink. Having last month bought The Square, he now owns three upscale restaurants in Mayfair that have two Michelin stars each (Umu and The Greenhouse are the other two). The son of an airline catering mogul and hotelier, Abela also runs several restaurants in the US and is on the hunt for a site for a stateside incarnation of Umu. At the more casual end of the market, his most recent link up has been with high-profile pastry chef François Payard to create a chain of French bakeries in New York. He also runs a wine and bakery wholesale businesses and a company in Dubai that supplies European ingredients to the Middle East.
Mark Hix. Mark Hix’s chicken and beef restaurant brand Hixter might be shrinking, but the overall profile of this recognisable restaurateur isn’t. His contacts in the world of art and media continue to keep the spotlight on his businesses while his new collaboration with Damien Hirst to open Pharmacy 2 restaurant shows he is still very much a man of the moment.
Ruth Rogers. As co-founder of The River Café, Ruth Rogers helped change the face of Italian cuisine in London and created a breeding ground for influential chefs and restaurateurs. A second restaurant is now on the cards for next year, almost 30 years after the first and, with it, Rogers is likely to inspire a new generation of chefs.
Arkady Novikov. Not everything the Russian restaurateur touches turns to gold, with his restaurants Rextail and Brompton Brasserie performing below expectations, yet his eponymous Mayfair spot is a powerhouse of the London eating-out scene. As such, Arkady Novikov has ruffled feathers among the capital’s restaurant elite and his ambitions mean that he will continue to do so for some time yet.
Yotam Ottolenghi. Through his incredibly successful cookbooks and recipe columns, Yotam Ottolenghi has introduced numerous exotic ingredients to the UK. He’s no slouch in the restaurant world either with a small chain of top-quality cafés alongside the more formal Nopi.
Namita and Camellia Panjabi, Ranjit Mathrani. The triumvirate behind MW Eat has had a transformative effect on Indian food in London since opening Chutney Mary back in 1990. The trio now operates four upmarket Indian restaurants alongside seven more casual ones that are in the middle of a major overhaul.
Tak Tokumine. Tak Tokumine has been a key figure in the Asian food scene since opening Japan Centre in 1976. The Fukuoka-born entrepreneur was among the first to realise the huge potential for ramen in central London and now operates five Shoryu restaurants that serve authentic Hakata-style ramen, with the brand now rolling out nationwide. His most recent project is Ichiryu, an udon noodle-focused grab-and-go concept that has clearly been developed with expansion in mind. With plans afoot to open a more high-end restaurant as well as a second Japan Centre, 2016 looks set to be a big year for Tokumine.
Monika Linton. The founder of Brindisa can take much of the credit for the UK’s first-rate Spanish restaurant scene, having supplied chefs with top draw Spanish produce for almost three decades. She also runs a successful group of Spanish restaurants with Ratnesh Bagdai that includes five in London and La Bellvitja in Barcelona.
Tony Kitous. The founder of the Levant Restaurant Group is on a one-man mission to bring Lebanese food to the masses. His Comptoir Libanais chain is making steady progress outside the capital and the Algerian-born restaurateur looks set to take on the burrito boys at their own game with his shawarma concept Shawa.
Nigel Platts-Martin. The long-time owner of multi-Michelin-starred establishments The Square, The Ledbury, Chez Bruce, La Trompette and The Glasshouse in London knows more than most about running fine-dining restaurants. Platts-Martin created the blueprint for how many high-end restaurants operate today and his aim for perfection still resonates across the industry.
Mourad Mazouz. Algerian-born restaurateur Mourad Mazouz is behind London’s Sketch and Momo as well as other restaurants and bars in Paris and the Middle East, and also backed the launch of Michelin-starred Club Gascon. Thanks to him, north African cuisine has greater status in the UK.
Terence Conran. A one-time Goliath of the restaurant world, Terence Conran’s impact is still being felt on today’s eating-out scene. Conran and Partners was responsible for the design of D&D’s recent grand opening German Gymnasium and Prescott & Conran breathed new life into Les Deux Salons when it purchased the business from Anthony Demetre and Will Smith last year.