Launched in 2007, The Estrella Damm National Restaurant Awards are an annual celebration of the brilliance and vibrancy of the UK’s eating out scene – rewarding the very best chefs, front of house staff and restaurants the country has to offer.
The awards themselves are set to take place on Monday 13th June, revealing the list of the 100 best restaurants in the UK, as voted for by their academy of chefs, restaurateurs and food writers.
As well as revealing the best restaurants from across the UK, the awards will also recognise talent in a number of categories, including Chef of the Year, Restaurateur of the Year, Chef to Watch, and Opening of the Year. There will also be awards for Wine List of the Year, and The Service Award.
The shortlist for Chef of the Year has been unveiled this week and features a selection of chefs that have managed to excel over the last 12 months, and features some of the very best in the North.
There’s Simon Rogan, who’s flagship Cumbrian restaurant L’Enclume not only turned 20 this year but also managed to gain a 3-star recognition from the Michelin guide. The awards explain how his “naturalistic cooking and plating, multi-course menus and service style have helped raise the profile of British restaurants on a global scale, with the chef having been a trailblazer in sustainable practices.”
Also on the shortlist is Lisa Goodwin-Allen, executive chef at Northcote in the Ribble Valley. She’s been there since 2015, and this year decided to split her time between Lancashire and London, overseeing The Game Bird restaurant in The Stafford hotel in the capital.
Coming 2nd in the list of Top 50 Gastropubs in the UK, Parkers Arms in Clitheroe can attribute most of its recent success to chef-patron Stosie Madi, thanks to her “unwavering passion for serving barnstorming food” that’s made it one of the best in the country.
After recently opening “the most ambitious Indian restaurant London has ever seen” in the form of Bibi, Chet Sharma has had a busy year, and his placement in the shortlist of Chef of the Year was pretty much guaranteed. Chet cut his teeth at top local establishments Moor Hall and L’Enclume before heading down south with his Mayfair modern Indian restaurant.
Also on the list is Gareth Ward, who at Ynyshir turned a traditional country house in Snowdonia into an ultra-modern restaurant serving multiple courses of Asian-inspired dishes. It’s now a Michelin two-star venue and Ward continues his “uncompromising stance and laser focus attention to detail”.
The remaining chefs on the list include Ikoyi’s Jeremy Chan who has gained recognition for his West African cuisine, Florence Knight at Sessions Art Club in Clerkenwell and former Noma Mexican chef Santiago Lastra who opened high-end restaurant Kol in Marylebone this year.
The winner of this year’s Chef of the Year award will be announced at the National Restaurant Awards ceremony on Monday 13th June.