Celebrity chef Rick Stein was the big winner at Tuesday night's AA Centenary Awards, picking up the lifetime achievement award.
Stein, co-owner of four restaurants including The Seafood Restaurant and Rick Stein's Café, was recognised for "a lifetime commitment to the highest quality of service and standards, a track record of constant improvement and an unswerving dedication to customer care".
Stein described himself as "utterly delighted" to be recognised by the AA. "Above all, though, I am receiving this award for everyone I work with, particularly my business partner Jill Stein," he added.
Philip Howard, head chef and co-owner of The Square in Mayfair and The Ledbury in Notting Hill, picked up the Chef's Chef of the Year Award; AA Hotel Group of the Year went to Q Hotels; while Hotel du Vin picked up AA Small Hotel Group of the Year.
Hotel of the Year in England was awarded to Jesmond Dene House in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, Tyne & Wear. Scotland's winner was Norton House Hotel, Edinburgh, while the top hotel in Wales was Lake Country House Hotel & Spa, Llangammarch.
Restaurant of the Year in England went to The Royal Oak in Maidenhead; London's winner was Scott's Restaurant; The Kitchin in Edinburgh picked up the Scotland award; while Wales' winner was The Walnut Tree in Abergavenny, Monmouthshire.
The Pub of the Year winners were The Queens Arms, Corton Denham (England); The Torridon Inn, Torridon (Scotland); and The Bush Inn, St Hilary (Wales).
Ransome's Dock in London won the Wine Award (England); with The Strathearn at Gleneagles Hotel, Perthshire taking the Scottish award; and The Crown at Whitebrook winning for Wales.
Gatton Manor Hotel and Golf Club scooped the AA and Best Practice Forum Business Excellence Award.
A team of five AA five rosette chefs, made up of Tom Aikens, Raymond Blanc, David Nicholls, Chris Staines and Marcus Wareing, cooked for the 1,000 attendees at London's Grosvenor House Hotel, with each chef taking responsibility for one element of the gourmet menu.
By Gemma Sharkey
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