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Phil Carmichael, Berners Tavern at the London Edition
Phil Carmichael has already made the shortlist of the Hotel Cateys once before, in 2015, and the way in which he built on the achievements that got him close to taking the award last year ensured that he was this year's winner.
As executive chef of Berners Tavern restaurant at the London Edition hotel, Carmichael has a serious level of responsibility, and leads and mentors a brigade of over 55 chefs. He and his team have won numerous accolades, not to mention praise from the public and critics alike, ensuring that Berners Tavern remains one of the capital's go-to restaurants.
In the past year, he's assisted Jason Atherton and the kitchen team at the Clock Tower restaurant (at the New York Edition) to create a new menu and mentor the new executive chef. He has also been awarded ACE Global Executive Chef of the Year for Marriott International, and found time to appear on the BBC's Great British Menu, making it through to the final eight.
One of the key strengths of the chef has been to motivate his team to grow. The best example in 2016 was when his head chef Jonathan Wright achieved a prestigious Acorn Award at this year's ceremony. In fact, there have been nearly 30 chefs who have moved up to more senior roles since Berners Tavern launched.
Speaking about working with Cowbridge-born Carmichael, Atherton said: "My relationship with Phil is a bit like my relationship with Gordon Ramsay when I was at Maze. Phil is a die-hard chef, one of the old Maze brigade; he was the first chef I ever employed at Maze."
Inspired by the design of the London Edition hotel, which celebrates Great Britain, Atherton and Carmichael have worked hard to deliver a menu that focuses on prime produce from throughout the land, such as Wye Valley leeks, Cornish crab, Blythburgh pork and Devonshire vanilla cream.
Having opened many restaurants for Atherton before, Carmichael says the launch of Berners Tavern has been on a different level. "The media scrutiny has been immense this time. It's London, so that makes it more intense for starters, but because of the interest in the hotel, and the fact that it's Jason's first foray into all-day dining, the pressure is intense."
Be that as it may, Carmichael has shown few signs of it, and the judges of this category were bowled over by the level of success he has managed to achieve.
What the judges said
"I was blown away by the quality of Phil's entry. However, what really got me was the level of achievement. The scale of the operation in terms of revenue and quality is phenomenal."
Matthew Tomkinson, the Montagu Arms
"Phil oversees one of London's busiest and most respected hotels and restaurant in an expert manner, and thoroughly deserves the award."
Hywel Jones, Lucknam Park
"Phil's entry shone. He is flexible and adaptable and runs a tight but exceptional ship, leading with loads of passion."
James Murphy, Grand Central hotel, Glasgow
Phil Carmichael Berners Tavern at the London Edition
Brian Grigor Number One restaurant at the Balmoral, Edinburgh
Robby Jenks The Vineyard, near Newbury, Berkshire
Mayur Madhukar Nagarale Sofitel London Heathrow
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