Andrew McKenzie, the managing director of The Vineyard at Stockcross, has been crowned as Caterer and Hotelkeeper's Hotelier of the Year for 2008.
McKenzie, who succeeds Michael Gray, picked up the award at a packed Hotel Cateys at the Royal Lancaster hotel in London on Friday.
He follows in the footsteps of hotel legends, such as Peter Lederer, Harry Murray, Terry Holmes and Ramon Pajares, who have all held the Louis Jadot sponsored title.
"When you look at all the great hoteliers who've won this award previously, it makes me so proud," McKenzie told the audience.
Watch the video here
McKenzie began in the hotel industry aged 13, and has worked at Stakis hotels, Thistle, Shire Hotels, De Vere and Intercontinental.
He joined The Vineyard in 1997, and along with backer Sir Peter Michael, built up a Michelin-two-star restaurant at the hotel while adding rooms, maintaining consistent staffing levels and producing fine alumni.
Nathan Outlaw, Fat Duck head sommelier Isa Bal and Billy Reid of St Pancras Grand have all spent time under McKenzie at The Vineyard.
McKenzie, who is chairman of the Master Innholders, was one of the first operators at the luxury level to make room rates vary according to demand, taking the amount charged down from a maximum of £700 at The Vineyard, to as low as £100.
His recent "two-courses-for-£20" offer at the hotel's restaurant has also caused controversy.
"Other operators have said to me ‘isn't this a bit cheap?' But if we say to people ‘we're inexpensive, accessible and we'd love you to come and eat here' is that such a terrible thing?" he asked.
For the full interview with Andrew McKenzie see this week's Caterer.
By James Aufenast
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