Phillip Kaye, the "godfather" of casual dining, picked up the special award at Caterer and Hotelkeeper's 2005 Catey awards last night at the Grosvenor House hotel in London.
To see photos of last night's event, click here
At the glitzy ceremony, attended by 890 luminaries from the hospitality industry, Kaye was rewarded for his "immense influence" on the sector, which began in the 1960s with the Golden Egg restaurant group.
He notably went on to corner the mid-market sector with Garfunkel's, Ask and Zizzi.
Previous winners of the Special Award include Jamie Oliver (2003) and Compass Group chairman Francis Mackay (2001).
It was a double whammy for the Cotswold House hotel in Gloucestershire, which made Catey history by bagging two gongs on the same night.
Firstly it scooped the best independent hotel of the year award and then later landed the independent marketing campaign prize. The judges praised the hands-on approach of owners Ian and Christa Taylor for the 22-bedroom hotel's innovation, excellent customer service and quirky bedrooms.
In the restaurant sector, independent restaurateur of the year went to Alan Yau, the man behind Wagamama. The judges cited his pioneering and entrepreneurial spirit and praised his "restless curiosity" in opening up Far Eastern food to the rest of the world.
The chef award went to David Nicholls, executive chef at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park. He was lauded by the judges for retaining the property's Michelin star and keeping a hotel at the forefront of fine dining. Nicholls followed in the footsteps of past winners such as Heston Blumenthal in 2004 and Marcus Wareing in 2003.
The 2005 Cateys also saw the first public sector caterer of the year award. The winner was Ron McKenzie, head of catering at County Durham and Darlington Acute Hospitals NHS trust. He was commended for treating patients as guests and using local ingredients.
Newcomer of the year was Simon Rogan, chef patron at L'Enclume restaurant in Cumbria, who won the judges over with his Midas touch in the kitchen and experimental cuisine.
Bohemia in St Helier, Jersey, took the Menu of the Year Catey, which was praised for its contemporary vision of French-influenced fine dining.
Food service caterer of the year went to Peter Aldrich, chief executive of Compass Group's executive dining division Restaurant Associates, who was commended for his quiet but effective leadership.
- Read the gossip from the Cateys on the Kitchen Rat weblog
Catey 2005 Award Winners were:
Special Award winner:Phillip Kaye
Independent Restaurateur of the Year:Alan Yau
Chef Award winner:David Nicholls, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park
Independent Hotel of the Year:Ian and Christa Taylor, Cotswold House hotel
Best Independent Marketing Campaign:Ian and Christa Taylor, Cotswold House hotel
Newcomer of the Year:Simon Rogan, L'Enclume restaurant
Menu of the Year winner:Bohemia, St Helier, Jersey
Food Service Caterer of the Year:Peter Aldrich, Compass Group
Group Hotel of the Year winner:City Inn Westminster
Pub and Bar Industry award winner:Tim Bacon, Living Ventures
Group Restaurateur of the Year:Mark Derry, Loch Fyne restaurants
Public Sector caterer of the Year:Ron McKenzie, County Durham and Darlington Acute Hospitals NHS trust
Manager of the Year:Stephen Carter, St Andrews Golf Resort and Spa
Pub and Bar Operators of the Year:Craig Bancroft and Nigel Haworth, Three Fishes
Education and Training Award winner:Cyrus Todiwala
Tourism award winner:Bob Downie, Royal Yacht Britannia
Best Group Marketing Campaign winner:Wagamama