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Acorn winners 2016: Jonathan Wright, 28

01 July 2016
Acorn winners 2016: Jonathan Wright, 28

Head chef, Berners Tavern at the London Edition

Nominated by Jon Dawson, HR director, the London Edition

Proudest moment "When Berners Tavern won the Restaurant of the Year Catey in 2015 and Restaurant of the Year 2014 at the AA Hospitality Awards."

Greatest inspiration "Discovering new things, from reading a book or visiting an amazing market, and letting your imagination run wild."

Ambition "I'm very happy where I am at the moment, so who knows? Travelling is a massive passion, so maybe I will go abroad to work."

Jonathan Wright demonstrates how well commitment and flair are rewarded in this industry. He started out as a commis chef in 2004 at the Kailyard by Nick Nairn and worked his way up through Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's and York & Albany. By 2015, aged 27, he had achieved his goal of being head chef at an award-winning establishment.

Heading up a 52-strong brigade at Berners Tavern in the swish five-star London Edition hotel is not for the fainthearted. Wright oversees 600 covers a day, plus room service and events, generating an annual revenue £10m.

He joined the restaurant as senior sous chef when it opened in 2013 and is credited with helping to win many of the accolades.

But it's his generosity in finding time to nurture the careers of others that sets him apart. As well as mentoring and promoting 26 chefs since opening, he introduced a new training programme in 2015 that rotates staff across all sections in the kitchen. Along with arranging outings and monthly recognition awards, this has helped to reduce labour turnover by 34%. He also hired five apprentices and trained them.

He has also found the time to raise £4,000 for teenage cancer patients at University College of London Hospital.

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