The number of food programmes screened on our TVs each night is one example of how fascinated we Brits are with good cooking. The wealth of celebrity chefs might be another (Gordon Ramsey still edges past Jamie Oliver here worth £113million). And the UK’s burgeoning restaurant scene is another. With an estimated 30,000 restaurants found across the UK, competition to be the best is fierce.
One of the big prizes most chefs aspire to winning is the ‘London Restaurant of The Year’ which is announced at the annual Food & Travel Reader Awards event. This year’s winner, which has just been announced, is Wild Honey, a modern European restaurant based in Mayfair and launched by Chef Anthony Demetre in 2007. ‘Newcomer Restaurant of the Year’ went to Frog run by Adam Handling in Covent Garden whilst Tom Brown of Cornerstone in Hackney took home the ‘Breakthrough Chef of the Year’ award.
Winning these awards are big deals for these chefs. Not only do they help attract more critics and diners to their restaurant but it can help attract staff too. (Gordon should take note. Chefs are banning swearing from their kitchens in an effort to recruit more Millennials). Investors might be influenced to back these chefs’ next ventures too. Despite operating on wafer thin margins, investors can’t help themselves and last September alone, forty four new restaurants opened – just in London.
Of course, the UK’s best restaurants are not all based in London and several located outside it did well too, namely Hampshire’s Chewton Glen, which was awarded both ‘Rural Hotel of the Year’ and ‘Hotel of the Year’; Yorkshire’s The Black Swan for ‘Restaurant of the Year’ and ‘Restaurant of the Year Outside London’ and Simon Rogan’s two-star restaurant L’Enclume for ‘Timeless Classic Restaurant of the Year’; which can be found in Cumbria.