The chef collected the prize at the Michelin Guide Star Day ceremony in Budapest last night, beating four other shortlisted chefs.
The event, billed as a celebration of European gastronomy, was attended by a host of Michelin-star holding chefs, including Guy Savoy, Georges Blanc, Elena Arzak, Pascal Barbot, Raymond Blanc, and Quique Dacosta.
Keating gained his first Michelin star for The Dining Room at Whatley Manor in October of last year at the age of 26, just 14 months after he took over from Martin Burge.
The young chef has held positions in Michelin restaurants in three countries - Sat Bains (two stars, Nottingham), Benu (in San Francisco, with three stars), and Kong Hans Kælder (in Copenhagen, with one star).
“There was never a moment’s doubt in my mind that he is a top talent, oozing with original ideas," says Sue Williams, general manager at Whatley Manor, who has known Keating since 2010.
"His focus is unwavering, and his comprehension of the sector in which he operates is impressive for his age."
“Knowing Niall as I do, he will accept this wonderful recognition with humility and will share the success with his team.”
Whatley Manor owner Christian Landholt echoed the same sentiment, praising Keating’s “work ethic and respect towards his colleagues.”
Last night’s ceremony also saw the announcement of a second new award, The Michelin Chef Mentor 2018 Award.
It was given to Christian Constant – ‘papa dans ses cuisines’ – who has restaurants in Paris (including One Starred Le Violon d’Ingres), Toulouse and Montech, France.
The chef is credited with bringing to life the ‘bistronomy’ movement and has trained numerous Michelin-starred chef.