The AA will today announce the latest additions to its restaurant awards, with 13 establishments being honoured with three AA rosettes.
Among the winners are a mix of newcomers and existing operators including six establishments in London, six in England and one in Scotland.
New restaurants being elevated to the three-rosette-status, which rewards outstanding restaurants demanding recognition well beyond their local area, include Limewood in the New Forest and Kenny Atkinson's eatery at Rockliffe Hall in Darlington, County Durham, as well as Pierre Koffmann's eponymous restaurant at the Berkeley hotel; Portuguese chef Nuno Mendes's Viajante; and Alexis Gauthier's eponymous restaurant, all in London.
Kenny Atkinson (pictured) commented: "I'm very happy we have achieved this. It will help us with recruiting new staff."
Alexis Gauthier said: "I'm delighted to have won this award after just six months of opening. It's a great motivation for the team and these things really help business when you are trying to establish a brand."
Meanwhile at Gauthier's former restaurant Roussillon new head chef Daniel Gill retained its three AA rosettes. He said: "Since the summer the whole team at Roussillon, both front of house and in the kitchen, have worked extremely hard to maintain the level of quality associated with the restaurant. The award helps us all to see we are heading forward in the right direction and achieving our goal of maintaining Roussillon as a recognised part of the London dining scene."
Among the more established operators to have gained three rosettes are the Ritz in London and the Royal Oak at Paley Street, Maidenhead, Berkshire, which last year gained a Michelin star. Head chef Dominic Chapman told Caterer he was "over the moon" with the accolade. "It's not an easy industry to work in and all awards are a pat on the back for the hard work everyone on the team puts in. But three AA rosettes is really very special - there aren't many restaurants who hold this," he said.
Meanwhile Gordon Ramsay Holdings' Maze in London has been demoted to three AA rosettes, having previously held four rosettes, following the departure of both chef patron Jason Atherton and executive chef James Durrant last summer.
AA hotel services manager Simon Numphud said he was delighted to welcome 13 further establishments into the three rosette category, which accounts for 10% of restaurants in the UK. "AA Rosettes are awarded in recognition of high-quality cooking and it is wonderful to see chefs throughout the UK continue to challenge themselves and hone their skills," he said.
"This year we recognise emerging talent such as chef-patron Nuno Mendes at Viajante, in addition to established names that have moved onto pastures new such as Kenny Atkinson at the Orangery and the eponymous Koffmann's and Gauthier."
Next week, Michelin will launch its guide to Great Britain and Ireland.
Three AA Rosette winners
The Ritz, Piccadilly
Viajante, Bethnal Green
Royal Oak at Paley Street, Maidenhead, Berkshire
Lower Slaughter Manor, Gloucestershire
Peacock at Rowsley, Derbyshire
Kenny Atkinson at the Orangery, Darlington, Co Durham
Limewood, Lyndhurst, New Forest
The Black Swan, Oldstead, Yorkshire
The Torridon, Torridon
By Kerstin Kühn
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