'I'm absolutely stunned': Chefs react to new Michelin stars

06 February 2024 by
'I'm absolutely stunned': Chefs react to new Michelin stars

Chefs and restaurant teams have shared their reactions to winning Michelin stars after the announcement last night.

Eighteen new one-star restaurants and six new two-star restaurants were revealed at the ceremony at Manchester's Midland hotel, while the Ledbury in London's Notting Hill became the ninth three-star restaurant in the Great Britain and Ireland guide.

Brett Graham, chef-owner at the Ledbury, told The Caterer he was "absolutely stunned" by the award.

He said: "We had absolutely no idea, we came up [to Manchester] today wondering if anyone would get the three stars. Every year since I've been cooking there's been speculation.

"We've got an incredibly strong team through head chef Tom, who is an absolutely brilliant cook, and Jack, who is the general manager – he's an absolute gentleman, a lovely guy. They are a big part of this as well and it would be untrue if I said it was just my award. This award also belongs to the staff, past and present, at the Ledbury.

"There's been no master plan [to get three stars]. We just did what we did and that's it, and I must say I think Michelin were very thorough in their inspection, and I really respect that as well."

Cedar Tree by Hrishikesh Desai at Farlam Hall in Cumbria was awarded its first star, just over a year after Desai joined as chef patron.

"I feel absolutely thrilled," said Desai. "I'm very much pleased for the team because they worked so hard for the vision."

Adejoké Bakare's West African restaurant Chishuru in London won its first star, less than four years after it started as a pop-up in Brixton.

Bakare posted a picture of her celebrating on Instagram with the caption: "First black female Michelin-starred chef in the UK. Second black female Michelin-starred chef in the world."

It was a strong night for West African cuisine as Akoko in London's Fitzrovia also won its first star. Executive chef Ayo Adeyemi, who joined the restaurant in 2022, said: "Receiving a star is a testament to our team's determination and creativity. Thank you to all our guests and [owner Aji Akokomi], who has given me the platform to achieve these goals. I am very much looking forward to the next chapter at Akoko."

Brooklands, the restaurant Claude Bosi launched at London's Peninsula hotel in October, entered straight into the guide with two stars.

Bosi told The Caterer that he knew Michelin had visited in October but had otherwise not been aware of many inspectors eating in the restaurant.

The chef, who said he was mostly based at his Bibendum restaurant in London, paid tribute to the "fantastic" Brooklands team and said he "couldn't be prouder" of their achievement.

"This is one of [the best] moments in my life because the team who have been working with me understand the DNA and do an amazing job," he said. "It's all about the team and that's it."

The Glenturret Lalique restaurant in Crieff became the first restaurant inside a whisky distillery to win two Michelin stars. It was also the only new star addition in Scotland this year.

Chef Mark Donald, who joined the restaurant in 2021, said it was an "ecstatic moment" and he was "happy too that Scotland is getting the recognition it deserves as a gastronomic destination".

"We will all be enjoying a dram of Glenturret whisky tonight," he added.

To see the full list of new starred restaurants in the 2024 guide click here.

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