The capital's restaurant industry would be in serious trouble without the influence of the European workers that help to staff it.
That was the warning from seasoned restaurateur Bruce Poole, who owns and runs Chez Bruce in London's Wandsworth Common.
Speaking as he collected his Lifetime Achievement Award at the Harden's London Restaurant Awards at the Hippodrome Casino in Leicester Square, Poole said that much of the improvement to the London dining scene over the time in which he had been in business had been thanks to the arrival of so many Europeans within the industry.
Speaking in the context of a post-Brexit Britain, where it is currently unclear as to whether or not the EU's directive on free movement of people will continue to apply once the country starts the process of leaving Europe, Poole said: "Without our European friends, we're f***ed. We really need these guys."
His views were echoed by fellow restaurateur Tim Siadatan, co-owner of Trullo and Padella in London, who said: "In 15 years of managing London restaurants, fewer than 5% of the applications I have received for kitchen porter jobs have been from British people."
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Theresa May indicated during the G20 summit of world leaders in Hangzhou, China that she rejected a points-based system for controlling EU migration, one of the key promises of Leave campaigners during the referendum.
However, she also said that the Brexit vote must be respected and suggested that curbs on the current free movement of EU citizens into the UK would be a red line in further negotiations with the EU.
Poole's Lifetime Achievement Award was presented as 12 other restaurants around the capital were recognised in a dozen different categories.
The Araki restaurant in London, reputed to be the most expensive in the UK, was the winner of Top Gastronomic Experience, fighting off competition from Michel Roux Jr's Le Gavroche and Brett Graham's Ledbury to take the title.
Meanwhile, Black Axe Mangal on Highbury Corner received the Top Newcomer award and JKS Restaurants' Hoppers in Soho won Top Cheap Eat.
Peter Harden, co-founder of Harden's and host of the awards, said: "Having read and looked through more than one million restaurant reviews in my career I know the amazing commitment it takes to be a leader in the eating-out industry. I salute all those shortlisted via our survey, but particularly of course Mitsuhiro Araki, whose gamble in giving up his three Michelin stars in Tokyo and moving his operation to London is proving spectacularly successful; and is yet another feather in London's culinary cap."
Top Gastronomic Experience The Araki
Top Newcomer Black Axe Mangal
Top Cheap Eat Hoppers
Best For Business
Best Steaks & Grills
Best Street Food The Rib Man
Wine List of the Year
Top Bar or Pub
Best For Romance
Best Breakfast or Brunch
Top Coffee House
Department of Coffee
Best Afternoon Tea
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