Richard Allen of Grand Jersey has been crowned Hotel Catey Hotel Chef of the Year (with less than 250 covers). He was awarded the prestigious national title at an evening of celebration at the Lancaster London, on Friday night (16th November 2012).
The awards, organised by Caterer and Hotelkeeper magazine, were launched in 2007 and are designed for hoteliers to celebrate the achievements of their staff and give them the recognition they deserve. They are a hotel specific spin off of the Catey awards, which have been described as the hospitality industry’s equivalent of the Oscars. Previous Catey winners include Heston Blumenthal in 2004, Marcus Wareing in 2003, Gordon Ramsay in 2000, Rick Stein in 1999, Brain Turney in 1997 and Raymond Blanc in 1990.
This year’s shortlist for Chef of the Year (with less than 250 covers) featured Lisa Allen of Northcote Manor, seen on the Great British Menu, Paul Gayler of The Lanesborough, London, who won the outstanding contribution to the hotel industry award on the night, and Stephen Smith of The Devonshire Arms Country House Hotel and Spa, another Michelin starred chef.
The accolade is a triumph for Richard and is the highpoint of an amazing year for the team at Tassili. In June, Richard won the Restaurant Chef of the Year category at the prestigious Craft Guild of Chefs Awards shortly after being recognised in the esteemed Debrett’s 2012 People of Today list. In August, Tassili was included in the Good Food Guide 2013 and featured in Chef Magazine’s list of its favourite five restaurants.
Richard expressed his surprise and delight by saying ‘Winning the title of Hotel Chef of the Year was completely unexpectedly. I had some amazing company in the category and didn’t think for one minute I would walk away with the award. When I heard my name, I was so overwhelmed I wasn’t sure whether they had said my name or a fellow shortlist with the same surname! I really can’t remember walking to accept the award nor walking back to the table. I’m still blown away.’
He continued ‘I would not be where I am today without the great team I have around me, and without the support I have had throughout my career. I am immensely grateful to my colleagues at Tassili, for all they do and their fantastic commitment. Thank you. Looking to the future, the next challenge is to strive towards that fourth Rosette, and I would like to put the front of house team forward to next year’s Hotel Cateys.’
Eamonn Elliot, Grand Jersey’s general manager, added ‘To say that we are thrilled for Richard would be an huge understatement! It is amazing and well deserved to see his hard work and dedication to excellence recognised at a national level with such a coveted industry award, and against very strong competition. He and the team at Tassili are outstanding achievers and I am extremely proud of their continued success and noteworthy successes. Well done Richard’.