Reactions to the 2016 new Michelin stars have started to pour in as the chefs and their restaurant teams respond to their new accolades.
This year's stars, which were announced today, included two new two-stars for Mayfair Japanese restaurants Araki and Umu, and 15 new one-stars across the UK and Ireland.
The House of Tides in Newcastle, run by chef Kenny Atkinson (pictured) and his wife Abbie, was celebrating its new star this afternoon after the couple broke the news to the team in person. It was one of six new stars across England (not including London).
Atkinson told The Caterer: "It's hard to put into words. It's always been good [to get a star], but if you look at the love we've had from our guests and on social media, it's been great. And now to get this in 18 months, and such a short time, it's the absolute cherry on the cake. We had guests in the restaurants who started cheering."
Restaurant manager Laura Stephenson, who has worked at the site since it opened in February 2014, said: "We're ecstatic, really. It's an amazing day for it. Everyone's worked hard for it, and finally we can say we've got a star. It's brilliant for everyone. We'd never been expecting it."
The team has 11 full-time front of house staff and eight chefs.
Stephenson added: "The chefs are all a bit numb at the minute. Kenny was hugging everyone. Both he and Abbie have put their heart and soul into this, and they're just so proud, they can't put it into words. Their faces, they were just so over the moon, you could just see their eyes filling up."
Mickael Viljanen, Finnish-born Irish chef of the Greenhouse
He said: "I'm delighted for them. They're the ones who do the hard work every day from morning till night. I'm so proud. [A star] is not something that I've always been massively stressed over; we just buy the best produce and cook food that we want to eat. But I'm delighted for the people, as it's never been a one-man show. Over the years, people have worked extremely hard, and they've all contributed one way or another."
He explained that there was not one single thing that he thought had changed in the restaurant this year, but that it may have been a case of the site becoming more consistent.
He said: "Maybe we have stabilised over the years; when it's a new opening you're under scrutiny and pressure, and maybe we needed to find our feet. It runs as a more consistent operation. [But] there's no bigger science behind it, we've just always been cooking food that we like to eat ourselves."
The House of Tides said there might be a Champagne toast in celebration of the new star later, while the Greenhouse maintained that any celebrations would probably have to wait until its days off of Sunday and Monday, as the restaurant was fully booked for dinner and lunch services until then.
The luxury Goring hotel in London's Victoria was also very happy with its star for its Dining Room at the Goring, with chief executive Jeremy Goring commenting: "We're delighted and honoured to be recognised by Michelin for what we are trying to achieve. It's only taken 105 years. [Restaurant manager] Mikko Jappinen and his front of house team are, in my view the best in London. They deliver consistently excellent, engaging service to our guests, often with a dash of humour and always with discretion. They are fabulous human beings, as is [head sommelier] Olivier Clausse and his expert sommelier team."
Speaking about the restaurant's food, he said: "Every element of what [executive chef] Shay Cooper does is a study, and each piece of the whole must justify itself. Of course we are pleased, but most satisfying of all is the fact that we've received this fabulous accolade whilst resolutely focussing on one thing; delighting our guests. In this sense you could say that the Michelin star is a lovely accident."
Another one-star winner was Gravetye Manor in West Sussex. Head chef George Blogg, who was taking time off work to get married when he discovered he and his team had been mentioned, said: "I am very proud of every member of the Gravetye team and this accolade is testament to the effort we have all put in. I am also extremely grateful for the support from our owners and managing director Andrew Thomason, who have all shown great faith in me and ultimately given us the platform to make this possible. I can't think of a place where I would rather be working, the combination of the history, the amazing setting and fresh ingredients from the kitchen garden make cooking here an absolute joy. Thank you Michelin for an amazing wedding present!"