Celebrated Indian chef-restaurateur Cyrus Todiwala was awarded the special award at last night's Craft Guild of Chefs awards.
Todiwala, who owns Café Spice Namaste and Mr Todiwala's Kitchen together with his wife Pervin, was recognised for his outstanding contribution to the industry.
A Catey and two-time Springboard Special award winner and recipient of an MBE and OBE, the Craft Guild of Chefs special award is the latest in a string of accolades for Todiwala, who recently cooked lunch for the Queen as part of the Jubilee celebrations.
The inaugural armed services chef award was presented to Royal Airforce Flight Sergeant Mark Sweeney, personal chef to the RAF's chief of the air staff at his London residence.
The pub chef award went to former Acorn Scholar Rob Hartwell, head chef at the Peach Pub Company's Rose and Crown in Warwick.
Michael Kitts, director of culinary arts at the Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management, won the People's Choice award. This award recognises a person who has made a growing impression on colleagues but who did not quite fit the criteria for a blue ribbon award.
The new restaurant of the year award went to Jason Atherton's Pollen Street Social, which last October picked up a Michelin star less than a year after opening.
Craft Guild of Chefs vice-president Steve Munkley said every 2012 winning chef was not only a great cook, but used great innovation and initiative to excel in their particular sector.
"To win a Craft Guild of Chefs award, you have to be more than just handy in the kitchen, you need that extra, stand-out ingredient," he said. "Every winner in this year's awards can lay claim to this and thoroughly deserves their place in the association's hall of fame."
The Craft Guild of Chefs awards, now in their 19th year, took place at Wembley Stadium last night.
Video of Cyrus Todiwala's acceptance speech
The full list of winners:
Apprentice Chef Award Lyndsay Michie, Le Gavroche
Armed Services Chef Award Mark Sweeney, Royal Air Force
Banqueting & Event Chef Award Phil Herd, Levy Restaurants
Competition Chef Award Mark Hill, House of Commons
Contract Catering Chef Award Mark Crowe, Elior UK
Cost Sector Chef Award Mark Hancock, University of Sussex
Development Chef Award Robin Turner, Sodexo
Education Chef Award Gary Hunter, Westminster Kingsway College
Ethnic Chef Award Mehernosh Mody, La Porte des Indes
New Restaurant of the Year Award Pollen Street Social, London - Jason Atherton
Pastry Chef Award Cherish Finden, The Langham hotel
People's Choice Award Michael Kitts, The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management
Pub Restaurant Chef Award Rob Hartwell, The Peach Pub Company
Restaurant Chef Award Richard Allen, Grand Jersey Hotel & Spa
Young Chef Award Ben Murphy, Koffmann's at the Berkeley hotel
Special Award Cyrus Todiwala
Honorary Award Martin Bates, Craft Guild of Chefs
By Kerstin Kühn
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