Following the announcement that Great Britain and Ireland has two new two-star and 15 new one-star restaurants, Caterer and Hotelkeeper caught up with some of the teams that are today celebrating their success.
REACTIONS FROM THE RESTAURANTS
Social Eating House
Paul Hood, head chef of Social Eating House, who opened the Poland Street restaurant in May with business partner and mentor Jason Atherton, said the award of a Michelin star was a great team effort. “It’s amazing, and it’s massive to have been awarded it so quickly. You always want a star, you hope to get one, but this really is incredible.”
He credited his team at the 78-cover, Soho-based restaurant, for the quick success. “The entire team works really well together, it’s down to all of them, and it’s great to feel that the standard of the food cooked is at that level. It’s nice to know all the effort and hard work was worth it.”
Having initially launched with what he calls “really simple food, just a few elements on each plate”, he said the restaurant quickly progressed to serve dishes that are a bit more complex “firmly concentrating on great produce and cooking skills”.
Atherton added: “I am so proud of the team at Social Eating House. Paul was my head chef for so many years and now he has his own restaurant he has proved in record time what a class chef he is. The team have worked so hard to create a real, class restaurant. We are now going to celebrate with a glass of Champagne!”
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
Commenting on Dinner’s second star, Heston Blumenthal’s executive chef Ashley Palmer-Watts said: “Wow. This is just incredible news and an amazing achievement for the entire team at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. Everyone works so hard every day and myself and Heston are so proud of each and every one of them. I am just blown away.”
Blumenthal himself said: “Absolutely brilliant – I am overjoyed. It’s great news for Ashley and the whole team. It’s been an incredible two and a half years for Dinner and this is just simply the highlight. As a Brit, I am very proud that a restaurant inspired by and celebrating Historic British cooking has been recognized today.”
Angler at the South Place Hotel
Tony Fleming, executive chef said: “Today, everyone at Angler is absolutely delighted as Michelin has such integrity and is the pinnacle of achievement for any chef. I believe it is consistency that has led to us winning a star within a year of opening. I am so proud of our team who work tirelessly to uphold this culinary standard of excellence.
“This is undeniably one of the best days of my career. It’s also my daughter Louisa’s 10th birthday today and I can’t wait to celebrate with my talented team and loving family.”
Arnaud Bignon, who had already held two Michelin stars at Spondi in Greece, was delighted to achieve the same level of recognition at the Greenhouse.
“It’s a great day. This is what you work for and it is a credit to all the hard work of the team,” he said. “We work hard every day for our guests and this shows we are getting it right. You don’t want to expect anything but I had hoped that we would achieve this level. It’s always a tense time before the results are announced but this is fantastic. I’m delighted for the team.”
Bignon added that the brigade were too busy to celebrate this morning, but that they would raise a glass to their success once lunch service was complete.
Marlon Abela, owner of MARC, which operates the Greenhouse said: “We are delighted to receive our second star which reflects all the hard work and commitment at The Greenhouse and MARC. I am immensely proud of chef Arnaud Bignon and our team. Our commitment to epicurean excellence continues and this star only renews our drive for the many exciting future plans we have for the group.”
Ametsa with Arzak Instruction
Commenting on the news that Ametsa with Arzak Instruction in London’s Halkin hotel had gained a star, Simon Wakefield, general manager of the Halking told Caterer: “I am so pleased for Sergio (Sanz Blanco, head chef). It has been great week – we got the three AA rosettes on Monday and now the star today – it is fantastic.
The restaurant received a somewhat mixed reception from critics when it opened in March this year, but Wakefield praised Sanz Blanco, who trained at Spain’s Arzak, a holder of three Michelin stars for the past 24 years.
“Sergio and the team have worked absolutely flat out – they have taken on board what people have said and reacted to it – and they have really managed to produce some fantastic food,” Wakefield said.
“From day one they have always been able to produce and I think it has taken time for people to understand it. He is a young chef in his first role as a head chef and within six months he has achieved a Michelin star.”
James Wilkins, chef patron of Wilks Restaurant, Bristol who was celebrating the win of his restaurant’s first Michelin star with partner Christine Vayssade, who runs the front of house said: “It’s amazing. I’m still in shock, it’s been my dream since I was 15 years old. I wasn’t expecting it – we’ve only been open a year and even though it has been our target we thought it was still a little bit early maybe.
“I’ve spent most of my career working in other chef’s amazing restaurants, and it’s what we always wanted. My wife Christine and I gave up well-paid expat jobs to come back to the UK to follow our dreams, and obviously it’s tough going, but it makes up for all the long days.”
Adam Stokes, chef patron of Adam’s in Birmingham, told Caterer: “We didn’t know it was coming. We’ve worked really hard to get the restaurant up and going, we’ve only been open 5 months!
“It’s consistency that’s allowed us to win the star so soon, I think. We’ve set in place the staff, the equipment, everything we required to cook at the level that we can, and we’ve been doing that since the day we opened.
“The whole team has just been great. We work such long, hard hours, as everyone does in this industry, but a big, huge pat on the back to them all, it’s as much for them as it is for the restaurant.
“This is the best day of my career so far. This is my own restaurant with my own name on it, this means everything.”
Former two-Michelin starred chef Eric Chavot told Caterer that he fully appreciates the honour of being awarded a star at Brasserie Chavot.
“I’ve been in this game for a long time and really appreciate what Michelin means to restaurants,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting a star for Brasserie Chavot at all – so it’s a great surprise and thrill for the staff. No matter what chefs or restaurateurs say, Michelin is the Holy Grail of achievement and I am delighted today.”
Ian Swainson, described the news of receiving a Michelin star at the Samling, the 11-bedroom country house hotel in Ambleside, Cumbria, as “absolutely fantastic”.
“There have only been three of us in the kitchen for most of the year – myself, my sous Tom Sheppard and Lewis Oliver – and I really could not have done it without them,” he said.
“We have also had fantastic support from the hotel’s owners who enabled us to do what we do, which is basically focus on producing really well-flavoured food and making it as interesting as possible.”
Swainson joined the Samling in the summer of 2012, havining worked for Alan Murchison for seven years, most recently at the Michelin-starred L’Ortolan in Reading, where he was acting head chef.
Ormer by Shaun Rankin
Shaun Rankin was on the school run when he received the news of a Michelin star being awarded to Ormer, the restaurant he opened in St Helier, Jersey at the end of May.
“It is a great achievement, particularly after we opened only a few months ago,” he said. The restaurant has been going very well. Martin Brudnizki has done a fabulous job in creating a very relaxed and comfortable space, which complements our fabulous food.”
Rankin will be opening a delicatessen next to the restaurant in 10 weeks’ time and is also looking ahead to launching a restaurant in London.
Didier Souillat, executive vice president of restaurants for the Hakkasan group, commented: “On behalf of the Hakkasan group, chef Tong Chee Hwee and the team at HKK, I would like to express our enormous pride in having been awarded our first Michelin star for this ground-breaking restaurant.
“The recognition by the prestigious Michelin Guide so soon after we launched last December reflects a phenomenal achievement by chef Tong and his hard working kitchen team, in creating a unique fine-dining restaurant that pioneers Chinese ‘haute cuisine’.
“The knowledge and commitment by chef Tong’s team, combined with the quality and service style of the front-of-house as led by general manager Mark Hastings, has guaranteed that HKK offers a distinctive world-class experience.”
REACTIONS ON TWITTER
Proud to be British today! So pleased for brutal hard work n consistency it takes to rock the red guide! #michelin
A truly amazing achievement for team #Angler & all @southplacehotel thks to everyone for your kind messages. I will reply in time I promise!
Amazing news we’ve been awarded a star in the new guide. Very very happy. Thanks to all the crew over the year.
Huge congratulations to @Socialeathouse for their Michelin star. Well done @hoodpaulie @AntoineJaillet @hashtaggareth. Amazing news!
Well done to all my team @ThackeraysRest for regaining the Michelin star for 2014 & thank you to all our customers for the continued support
We are delighted to announce that we have won a @MichelinGuides star! #delighted #michelin
Congratulations to new #Michelin2014 awards especially @APWChef @Nathanoutlaw and all our #obsession friends @NorthcoteUK @NigelHaworth
@Hulstone @esenses I can sleep now for the 1st time in 3 days
Well done to all the guys @hotelcapital for all the hard work especially my super amazing head chef Pete Biggs! 1 Michelin star amazing
@Nathanoutlaw Congrats for the star in at the capital! Wonderful achievement
Well done to all those in the Michelin guide this year especially @APWChef @Nathanoutlaw @echavot & Jason Atherton! Fantastic #michelin
The huge kitchen team at fraiche all breath sigh of relief for a Michelin star for the 6 th year !
Well I’ve managed to retain my no stars for the ninth year running.
Really proud to be the fourth Birmingham Michelin Star alongside the talents of @yummy_brummie @LukeTipping1 @TurnersRestBrum
Congratulations to @MattWorswick and the team @GlenappCastle on getting a #MichelinStar Such great news!