The winners of the 2013 Master of Culinary Arts (MCA) awards were announced tonight in a gala dinner held at London's Claridges.
Held every four years, the prestigious awards are run by the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts (RACA) and celebrate the outstanding craftsmanship in culinary skills, pastry and in food and wine service in the UK.
There were five winners of the MCA award for culinary skills, including Jeff Galvin of Galvin restaurants and 2011 National Chef of the Year winner Frederick Forster from the Boundary in Shoreditch.
William Best from Wilton's Restaurant in St James, Steve Love from Love's in Birmingham and Jeremy Ford, culinary director of Restaurant Associates were also honoured.
William Curley, Denis Drame from Pennyhill Park Hotel & Spa and Paul Williams of Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons won the MCA pastry award.
Mourad Ben Tekfa, also from Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, Luigi Cagnin, from the Ritz London, and Sergio Cappello of the Travellers Club were among the six front-of-house professionals to pick up an MCA restaurant service and management award.
The other winners were David Galetti from Le Gavroche, Robert Rose of Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, Royal Hospital Road and Elaine Watson, Gleneagles Hotel.
"For me, a Master of Culinary Arts is a person who strives for perfection in their profession and has the grace and elegance to promote our craft to the next generation."
Set up in 1987 and inspired by Michel Bourdin, with support from Albert and Michel Roux, the award is based on the Meilleur Ouvrier de France accolade (Meilleur Ouvrier literally meaning "best craftsmanship").
"The unique characteristic of the MCA compared to other competitions is that the judges all derive from the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts which embodies the elite of our profession in the UK and easily matches the elite of any country in the world," added Michel Roux, joint chairman of MCA pastry.
"Therefore the title is pre-eminent and the ultimate accolade for anyone. In my book, it is the equivalent of winning a gold medal in the Olympic Games."
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* click here for a film on the finalists, produced by Roy Ackerman's Cool Cucumber TV >>