Sponsored by Christie Group
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Opening a restaurant in the full glare of the media spotlight, with your every move watched by your fellow professionals, is not an easy thing to do. The tiniest hiccup will be noted… and gloated over. Yet, it's fair to say that the chef-proprietor of this year's Newcomer of the Year has achieved that almost impossible task.
"My meal at restaurant Tom Aikens," remarked one of our judging panel, "was one of those occasions of which I remember every little detail because it was so good." Another added: "Looking at the restaurant as an entirety Ð the wine list, the decor, the food, the service - it has all been envisioned and carried through."
Our panel was reflecting both the public's verdict and, crucially, the views put forward in print by the country's restaurant critics. Never an easy bunch to please, the nation's arbiters of all things foodie have been unstinting in their praise since Aikens opened his eponymous 60-seat <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /?>