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Top 100: Sat Bains, Restaurant Sat Bains

19 April 2018 by
Top 100: Sat Bains, Restaurant Sat Bains

Overall ranking: 59 (82 in 2012)

Chef ranking: 13 (21 in 2012)


Sat Bains has been at the vanguard of the British food scene for nearly 20 years. In 1999 he won the prestigious Roux Scholarship and in 2002 he launched Restaurant Sat Bains with Rooms, set in converted Victorian farm buildings on the outskirts of Nottingham, with his wife Amanda. The following year, Restaurant Sat Bains became the first restaurant in the city to be awarded a Michelin star and it was promoted to two stars nine years later, in 2012. Bains, a holder of five AA rosettes and a nine out of 10 in the Waitrose Good Food Guide, was presented with the Craft Guild of Chefs' Special Award in 2015 and carried off the coveted Chef Award trophy at the Cateys the same year. He has four honorary doctorates and is the author of Too Many Chiefs, Only One Indian, which has won nine international awards.

What we think

A highly inventive chef who has inspired a generation, Sat Bains's style of cooking has always been ground-breaking, elevating humble ingredients such as celeriac and kohlrabi to creations becoming of a two-star chef.

From his first Michelin star in 2003, the awards have been strong and steady and include Catey Menu of the Year in 2003, the Square Meal award for Best UK Restaurant in 2007, Observer Food Monthly's award for Best Restaurant in 2008, Best Restaurant Chef at the 2010 Craft Guild of Chefs awards, Best Chef in the Waitrose Good Food Guide 2011, two Michelin stars in the 2012 guide, Cateys Chef Award 2015 and number one in The Sunday Times Top 100 Restaurants list that same year.

Speaking to The Caterer at the time, he said: "The industry has changed from when we were young and training. I'm old school. I'm used to the unsociable hours, but why should the next generation have to be? We've got to try and make this brilliant industry attractive again. I'm passionate about training the next generation coming through, but the pool is drying up - front and back of house. We need incentives to attract the workforce. It's a massive decision for us, and yes, it will affect our profits, but we both firmly believe this hopefully will be a solution."

His book, Too Many Chiefs, Only One Indian, an enormous tome weighing in at 5kg, has won nine international awards, including Best-designed Cookbook in the World Over the Last 20 years at the 2015 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. Bains is also a familiar face on TV and he cooked the starter at the banquet in the BBC's 2007 Great British Menu, receiving a perfect 10 from all three judges for his egg, ham and peas dish. He also makes frequent appearances on MasterChef.

In 2015, Bains hit the headlines once again when he failed at his Guinness World Record attempt to cook the highest formal dinner in history on Mount Everest after suffering from HAPE (high altitude pulmonary edema), a life-threatening illness. But while in recovery, in what he thought was the relative safety of Kathmandu, he was caught up in the Nepal earthquake, which claimed nearly 9,000 lives and injured almost 22,000 people. Bains and his party had been attempting the climb to raise funds for Community Action Nepal and Hospitality Action.

In his first interview following the earthquake, Bains told The Caterer: "Would I return to the mountain? I know now that I'm not cut out for it. I woke up every morning and saw Mount Everest and she is beautiful - I really felt her power - but I genuinely believe that she doesn't want people on her. Man wants challenges and wants to climb the highest mountain in the world, but two years on the trot the deaths outweigh the challenges; it's a moving mountain, getting higher every year. I felt her presence when I looked up at her and I realised how insignificant I was standing underneath."

Not one to stand still, however, two months later he opened Nucleus, a new dining concept within the grounds of Restaurant Sat Bains. Exclusive and self-contained, the six-seat dining experience has its own private access and a dedicated kitchen.

Bains ended 2017 as the only British chef to be named on the 100 Best Chefs of the World list produced by French magazine Le Chef and compiled from the votes of 582 two- and three-Michelin-starred chefs from around the world.

Further information

Restaurant Sat Bains with Rooms to introduce four-day week >>

Sat Bains awarded fourth honorary degree >>

Sat Bains: Altitude sickness saved me from Nepal earthquake >>

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