Once in a while I am lucky enough to get invited to some pretty fabulous events and this was most definitely one of them. The London Hilton on Park Lane, where I was once an employee, played host to a gathering of over 700 of the industry's leading Chefs, Restaurateurs and Hoteliers.
The evening's menu was especially created by Marcus Wareing, holder of the AA's ultimate and much-coveted accolade of five Rosette's for Restaurant Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley Hotel. Carpaccio of beef with horseradish cream followed by Halibut with razor clams and lobster accompanied by leek mash and lobster jus and a chocolate and raspberry fondant for dessert, all made for an exquisite meal. Dinner was swiftly followed by entertainment in the form of the incredible Heather Small (formerly of 'M People') who belted out hits her classic hits including 'Proud' and 'Search for the hero'.
The awards section of the evening was hosted by former GMTV host Penny Smith with a little help from England International, Liverpool Midfielder and owner of Southport's 'Warehouse Brasserie' Steven Gerrard. Awards included 'Best Restaurant 2010' for London, Wales, Scotland and England and I was absolutely thrilled that two of my favourite Chefs, Chris and Jeff Galvin took the accolade of London's Best Restaurant for their yearling City-based restaurant Galvin La Chapelle. The Galvin Brothers continue to turn all they touch to 24 karat gold, through a combination of highly-skilled cooking and impeccable front of house standards; an extremely well deserved award, indeed.
The Hardwick in Abergavenny scooped the 'Best Restaurant 2010' award for Wales, where Chef Patron Stephen Terry continues to win admirers from both near and far. Terry has worked with Chefs Michel Roux Jnr and Marco Pierre-White as well as a spell in France at Le Roches and the famous L'Arpege in Paris. I was fortunate enough to be seated with Stephen Terry and his lovely wife Joanna who are wonderfully passionate and Stephen's unpretentious, highly accomplished cookery using well-sourced ingredients are just why he deserves this award. The Hardwick have recently spent over a million pounds adding 8 stylish bedrooms to their existing restaurant and bar and I hope to visit them in Abergavenny in the not too distant future, so watch this space.
For a full list of the 2010 awards winners, visit: http://aahospitalityawards.com/aa-awards-2010.php
Galvin La Chapelle - 35 Spital Square,London E1 6DY
T: 020 7299 0400
The Hardwick - Old Raglan Road, Abergavenny, Wales NP7 9AA
T: 01873 854220