Scottish restaurateur Tony Singh was “gobsmacked” to be among a number of hospitality industry figures to be awarded an MBE in 2017’s New Year’s Honours List.
It was revealed this evening that Singh would become a Member of the Order of the British Empire alongside fellow restaurateur Mark Hix, restaurateur and hotelier Nick Jones, and restaurateur and caterer Simon Dougan.
Melanie Andrews, director and founder of the Scottish Baking Awards, and education catering specialist Patricia Fellows were also recognised with MBEs.
Commenting on the news, Singh said: “Gobsmacked and honoured to have been recognised in this way. I must say it came as a bit of a shock, but I am very proud of it. Seeing my parents’ faces when I told them was just the best. I can’t start to thank all those that have supported me over the years who would believe in a wee lad from Leith keeping it #Tasty!”
Singh, a member of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts, the Craft Guild of Chefs and a Master Chef of Great Britain, runs Tasty restaurant in Glasgow as well as a restaurant in the Apex Grassmarket hotel in Edinburgh. Recently he has appeared as one half of the Incredible Spice Men on BBC TV with Cyrus Todiwala as well as being an ambassador for all things Scottish.
Dougan, managing director of the Yellow Door deli, bakery and catering business and a champion of Northern Ireland’s food heritage and its local producers, also received an MBE.
Speaking to The Caterer, Dougan said: “I think it is a great honour and for someone like me – a chef working in the hospitality industry in Northern Ireland – to be recognised in this way is absolutely fantastic. It just shows you the value that the hospitality sector contributes to the country.
“I am very excited. I have a great team around me and it is their hard work as well that has been recognised in this way. We are very passionate about the work that we do and all the different aspects of Yellow Door, with all the different family members – there are five delis and restaurants – and we are very proud that we make everything from scratch and we grow a lot of stuff ourselves.”
In a short statement about his MBE, Hix said: “Honoured and delighted to be recognised by the British Empire, what a way to start the New Year.”
Hix launched his first restaurant, Hix Oyster & Chop House in Farringdon, London, in 2008 with business partner Ratnesh Bagdai, after spending 17 years as chef-director at Caprice Holdings. He followed the opening of his first restaurant with Hix at Browns hotel, Hix Soho and the chicken and steak restaurants, Tramshed in Shoreditch and Hixter Bankside. In addition to Mark’s Bar, which operates in the basement of Hix Soho and Hixter Bankside, the first stand-alone Mark’s Bar launched at the Old Vic theatre in October 2015. In February this year, Hix teamed up with artist Damien Hirst to open Pharmacy 2 at the Newport Street Gallery in Vauxhall.
Outside of London in his native Dorset, Hix has opened Hix Oyster & Fish House and Hix Townhouse, a boutique hotel, both in Lyme Regis. In April this year he entered into a joint venture agreement with hospitality business WSH to enable him to expand his portfolio of restaurants.
Nick Jones is one of hospitality’s most successful entrepreneurs. The 2015 Hotelier of the Year is the founder and chief executive of Soho House & Co.
Jones, described as one of the “most inspirational people in hospitality”, was responsible for the much-lauded and copied design ethos of Babington House in Somerset as being revolutionary in comparison to the rigid regimes to which country house hotels had previously adhered. More recently he has opened Soho Farmhouse in Oxfordshire, which was equally ground-setting with its offer of rustic cabins and extensive eating and leisure outlets within a resort setting. In between he has created a whole raft of impressive city properties, both at home and abroad.
Jones said: ‘I’m surprised and really pleased. Giving people a great time has given me a great life. And the people who work so hard along side me share in this special honour.”
Next year, Soho House will open what is set to be London’s most ambitious opening of 2017, the 252-bedroom Ned hotel, under managing director Gareth Banner.
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