Overall ranking: 81 (37 in 2012)
Chef ranking: 20 (8 in 2012)
Johannesburg native Phil Howard, chef-patron of Elystan Street restaurant, is a chef loved and respected by the industry. He was the chef and co-owner of the Square from its opening in 1991 to its sale to the Marlon Abela Restaurant Corporation in March 2016. He opened Elystan Street in Chelsea in October 2016 and it was awarded a Michelin star a year later. He also owns Kitchen W8 in Kensington and Sonny's Kitchen in Barnes with business partner, Rebecca Mascarenhas, and has shares in the two-Michelin-starred Ledbury restaurant in Notting Hill with Nigel Platts-Martin and Brett Graham.
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Howard entered the industry after graduating from the University of Kent with a degree in microbiology. He found his passion for cooking after a summer of working in the Dordogne, France, and on his return enrolled on an apprenticeship with Roux Restaurants in 1988. Nine months later he moved on to train under Marco Pierre White at Harveys, and a stint with Simon Hopkinson at Bibendum followed.
In 2005 he opened a second restaurant with Platts-Martin for his sous chef Brett Graham to head - the Ledbury in Notting Hill. Despite a chaotic start, when Howard fell into and (with the help of Platts-Martin) recovered from drug and alcohol addiction, the Square soon started to pick up awards. The first came in 2006 and a second in 2010, which the Square held until his departure.
Four years later, Howard teamed up with business partner Mascarenhas to open a third restaurant, Kitchen W8. With Mark Kempson, another former Square sous chef in the kitchen, the restaurant won its first Michelin star in January 2011.
In March 2016 he parted from the Square following its sale to pursue his own venture with Mascarenhas: Elystan Street in Chelsea (on the former Tom Aikens site). Since opening in October 2016, Elystan Street was awarded a Michelin star in 2018, won the AA Restaurant of the Year for London 2017-18, and achieved three rosettes in the AA Restaurant Guide 2018.
Howard is a supporter of industry charity Hospitality Action, which helps hospitality workers who have fallen on difficult times. He has also played a significant role in the progression and development of two culinary competitions: Young Chef/Young Waiter, and National Chef of the Year.
Howard's list of accolades includes the Catey Chef Award in 1998 and the Catey for Independent Restaurateur of the Year in 2011. That same year he also picked up the Craft Guild of Chefs' Special Award.
In August 2017 he announced the opening of Union - a casual restaurant at La Plagne Montalbert in MÁ¢cot-la-Plagne, France.
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