20 new Michelin stars for Great Britain and Ireland

The Fat Duck regained its three stars after reopening and 20 new stars were revealed at the first live launch of the 2017 Michelin Guide Great Britain and Ireland

Many of the best chefs in the UK turned up to witness the reveal of the new Michelin stars as the launch of the 2017 Michelin Guide Great Britain and Ireland. Industry mainstays like Raymond Blanc and Marcus Waering sat alongside younger chefs like Isaac McHale and Michael O’Hare at the ceremony, which marked the first time that a Michelin Guide to Great Briatin and Ireland was revealed at a live event.

There were 18 new recipients of the one star recognition and one restaurant was upgraded to two stars. “Great Britain and Ireland are among the most exciting and dynamic dining destinations in the world,” said international director Michael Ellis. “If you haven’t been in the industry it is hard to imagine how much hard work goes into becoming a Michelin-starred chef. The dining scene here has come a long way in the last 20 or 30 years.”

Rebecca Burr, the editor of the guide, was keen to underline the diversity and range of restaurants being recognised. “When you have a restaurant like Veeraswamy, the oldest Indian restaurant in the country and you have the Ritz alongside new restaurants Ellory and The Ninth, it shows the breadth within the selection,” she said. “We really do cover the whole of GB and Ireland. We have lots of different inspectors from different countries over here – we have full-time teams who eat out three weeks of eevry month, you can get through a lot in that time.”

In another first, two new awards were introduced and presented to individuals and restaurants deemed worthy of special recognition. The first of these, the award to best female chef sponosred by Veuve Cliqout, was presented to Clare Smyth, who was the holder of three stars at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay until she left this year. She is about to make a move to open her own restaurant and it seemed fit to recognise her achievements at such a crucial point in her career. “It seemed natural for Clare to win that,” said Burr. “It’s no mean feat to maintain three stars for Gordon Ramsay and improving upon those three stars. She put her own stamp on it and she built upon it.”

The second award, for welcome and service presented in partnership with Nespresso, went to Peel’s at Hampton Manor where the team was recognised for “making guests feel truly special.”

As all chefs know, being awarded a star doesn’t mean that a restaurant will keep it forever and some establishments do struggle when they undergo change. Prior to announcing the new stars, Ellis recognised this and read out the list of restaurants who, despite some challenge or change in set-up had held on to their stars. “It can be destablising to lose a head chef but it happens,” he said.

No doubt the biggest announcement among these was that Heston Blumenthal had regained three stars for the Fat Duck, which was left out of the 2016 guide due to his Bray restaurant being closed for a year while Blumenthal opened a temporary restaurant in Melbourne, Australia.

The new recipient of stars who had been kept guessing in a side room until their apperance on stage, were invited to attend the event in a phone call last week. Hrishikesh Desai, executive chef at Gilpin Hotel and Lake House, explained how much the recognition meant to him. “I couldn’t move when I heard Rebecca Burr’s name on the phone – at first I thought was a hoax call and I asked her, ‘is this really Rebecca Burr’,” he said. “I am masisvely surprised, I wasn’t at all expecting this. I thought I would have to work one more year to get to the Michelin star.”

The biggest applause in the room was reserved for John Williams, executive chef at the Ritz – an industry stalwart and many clearly thought the recognition was well overdue.

Tom Kerridge whose pub the Hand and Flowers retained the two stars it was awarded five years ago said the Michelin guide is still the gold standard for restaurants. “The thing about the Michelin Guide is that it is consistent and it doesn’t alter with fashion or trends,” he said. “The greatest restaurants are always about beautifully cooked produce with great hospitality and that is what it stands for all the time, irrespective of cooking technniques or style of service; if you tick those boxes then it works and that is why the Michelin guide works so well. It is a benchmark that is recognised around the world.”

Full list of new Michelin-starred restaurants in UK & Ireland 2017

Two stars
Raby Hunt, Darlington

One star
The Crown, Berkshire
The Tudor Room, Egham
Forest Side, Grassmere
Thomas Carr @ the Olive Room, Devon
The Wild Rabbit, Kingham
Gilpin Hotel and Lake House, Windermere
Sosban and the Old Butchers, Anglesey
James Sommerin, Penarth
Heron & Grey, Dublin
Peel’s at Hampton Manor,

London, one star
Five Fields
Celeste at Lanesborough Hotel
The Ritz
The Ninth

Tina Nielsen

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