Philip Howard has already been recognised for the brilliance of his cooking with the promotion to two Michelin stars earlier this year.
But in addition to this, the judges of the 1998 Chef Award (all past winners themselves) felt that, in terms of professional chef conduct, Howard represents the very best Britain has to offer.
"He is very thoughtful to his staff," said Raymond Blanc, chef-patron of Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons in Great Milton, Oxfordshire, one of the judges of the award. Fellow judge Albert Roux, proprietor of London's Le Gavroche, agreed. "His behaviour is exactly what we want to see more of in Britain. He is not big-headed and he projects our profession extremely well - he is an inspiration for young people to enter the industry."
Howard has always stood apart from the stereotypical chef. Having graduated from Kent University with a degree in microbiology (which undoubtedly armed him with the knowledge to understand properly the science of cooking), he joined Roux Restaurants.
But he spent just one year working in the contract catering sector before making the spectacular move to one of Britain's finest restaurants - Harveys, in Wandsworth, London.
Howard worked under Marco Pierre White for a year prior to joining another great British chef, Simon Hopkinson, at London's Bibendum, where he worked for six months. He then returned to Harveys for a further three months before moving to a new restaurant in St James's called the Square. In less than three years and with no formal training, Howard had reached his first head chef's position.
The Square opened in December 1991 and Howard embarked on an enviable voyage. In 1994 the Square was awarded its first Michelin star and in January of this year, having relocated the 80-seat restaurant to Bruton Street in Mayfair, Howard collected the restaurant's second.
Other guides are equally generous in their praise of the 31-year-old chef. "There is undeniable skill in the kitchen," read the Good Food Guide 1998, while the AA Best Restaurants 1998 guide commented: "New location, new look. But the same exciting cooking from Philip Howard, who seems to have been further inspired by the move." Egon Ronay Guides described the Square quite simply as "a truly exceptional experience".
Howard puts the success of the relocated restaurant down to consistency and continuity. "Opening this place was a real pleasure because the team were familiar with each other and the menu," he told Caterer last year. "There weren't any of the usual nightmares when opening a new place."
But Howard's talents do not just lie at the stove. He is a keen sportsman, enjoys both swimming and skiing, and has competed in a number of marathons (including London and New York), raising money for charity.
"Philip projects a good image to the media and is a great example to all youngsters entering the industry," concluded Roux. "He's never seen in the tabloids, he just concentrates on his kitchen and he respects the industry. He's a fantastic example."