by Nigel Bartlett
marco Pierre White and Nico Ladenis this week joined the ranks of the most envied chefs in the UK when they each gained their third Michelin star.
Mr White, who displays his talents at The Restaurant at London's Hyde Park Hotel, becomes the first British-born chef to gain a third star.
He and Mr Ladenis now rub shoulders with Michel Roux and Pierre Koffmann, who retain their three stars at the Waterside Inn in Berkshire and La Tante Claire in London respectively.
Other Michelin winners include Richard Corrigan, rewarded with a star at Stephen Bull's third London restaurant, Fulham Road, which opened only last year. Fellow London chefs Gordon Ramsay of Aubergine and Stefano Cavallini of the Halkin Hotel also pick up their first star.
Outside the capital, David Adlard and Pierre Chevillard regain the single stars they lost two years ago at Adlard's in Norwich and Chewton Glen in Hampshire.
The inspectors also acknowledge the culinary talents of Michael Caines, who replaced Shaun Hill at Gidleigh Park in Devon last year. Neither Mr Hill's departure nor Mr Caines's motor accident, in which he lost an arm, have dented their enthusiasm for the establishment.
New Michelin stars remain thin on the ground in Scotland, however. While Jeff Bland picks up a star for his cooking at the Georgian Room at Cameron House Hotel, near Loch Lomond, Dunkeld's Kinnaird hotel has lost its single star.
Shai, in St Helier, Jersey, becomes only the second establishment in the Channel Islands to gain a star, joining Longueville Manor.
Pool Court in West Yorkshire loses its single star following its move to Leeds hotel 42 The Calls and the departure of head chef David Watson. Similarly, Calcot Manor is demoted following a change of ownership and chef.
Others to lose their stars include London's Suntory restaurant, and Mallory Court near Leamington Spa, Warwickshire.
Some 20 establishments have become holders of a Michelin Red Meal, including the Epicurean Bistro in Cheltenham, the Ubiquitous Chip in Glasgow and the Al San Vicenzo and Ivy restaurants in London.
Sir Terence Conran's much-hyped Quaglino's is one of six restaurants to lose Red Meal status.