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The Craft Guild of Chefs unveils the 2012 winners of its coveted awards
In the year of the London Olympics, it was fitting that the Craft Guild of Chefs chose Wembley Stadium – home of many of the biggest sporting events in history – as the venue for its 'Going for Gold' themed 2012 awards ceremony on Wednesday, June 13.
The Craft Guild Awards continue to bring together key people in the industry and this year there were more than 680 attending the special event to see 17 chefs being presented with the Guild's 'culinary Oscars'.
Among them was the Special Award winner, Cyrus Todiwala OBE, one of the most admired and respected chefs in the industry, and holder of numerous citations and awards.
Past winners have included Raymond Blanc, the Roux Brothers, Heston Blumenthal, Pierre Koffmann and last year Philip Howard, and Todiwala now joins this illustrious roll call.
David Mulcahy, Craft Guild vice president and craft development director of sponsor Sodexo UK & Ireland, said he captured the very essence of being the chefs' chef.
"He is someone to look up to, who has the respect of this industry and is to many a true hero. As a chef, a successful restaurateur, an entrepreneur, a writer, a TV personality, a huge supporter of industry charities, a husband and a father, our Special Award winner is a man with seemingly endless energy and passion."
Mulcahy said his latest venture, Mr Todiwala's Kitchen, launched in autumn 2011 as the signature restaurant of the new Hilton at Heathrow Terminal 5, has become a well known showcase for Cyrus and Pervin Todiwala's rich Parsee heritage, and was recently described by Mark Bittman, The New York Times critic as "intricate, fascinating, different, delicious and unpretentious".
This year there was a surprise award – particularly to the recipient. The very rare Honorary Award was presented to the Craft Guild of Chefs' CEO Martin Bates for his unstinting service to the Guild.
Craft Guild national chairman Andrew Green said that appointing a chief executive in 2006 was a huge step forward for the Guild but Martin Bates relished the challenge and embraced it fully.
"As CEO he promised to build upon the relationships he had already established around the country and ensure that the Guild's voice was heard. Today many leading organisations hear that voice and respect it.
"He has concentrated on things close to his heart and what he believes the Craft Guild is all about – training, developing skills and bringing more people into the industry – and he has helped to build the profile of the Guild and steer it to greater things through his 100% commitment.
"His passion for the industry, passion for the Craft Guild and passion for making things work makes him a truly worthy winner of this award."
Other awards included the new Armed Services Award to recognise the outstanding chefs in the Army, Navy and RAF and this was won by the RAF's Mark Sweeney, who is considered by his peers to be one of the most gifted chefs in the Armed Forces.
The People's Choice Award, now in its second year, flags up the industry's unsung heroes and this year there were four very strong candidates. However after the online votes were cast and checked, Michael "Mick" Kitts, executive chef and senior lecturer at the Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management in Dubai, was declared the winner.
The Craft Guild of Chefs Awards 2012 - The winners
Apprentice Chef Award sponsored by Compass Group UK & Ireland
Lyndsay Michie Le Gavroche
Armed Services Chef Award sponsored by Purple Foodservice Solutions
Mark Sweeney Royal Air Force
Banqueting & Event Chef Award sponsored by McCain Foods
Phil Herd Levy Restaurants
Competition Chef Award sponsored by Electrolux Professional
Mark Hill House of Commons
Contract Catering Chef Award sponsored by Broadland Farms Fresh Turkey
Mark Crowe Elior UK
Cost Sector Chef Award sponsored by Lamb Weston
Mark Hancock University of Sussex
Development Chef Award sponsored by Discovery Foods
Robin Turner Sodexo
Education Chef Award sponsored by Town & Country Foods
Gary Hunter Westminster Kingsway College
Ethnic Chef Award sponsored by Pritchitts
Mehernosh Mody La Porte des Indes
New Restaurant Of The Year Award sponsored by Jelf Insurance
Pollen Street Social, London
Pastry Chef Award sponsored by Callebaut
Cherish Finden The Langham Hotel
People's Choice Award sponsored by Mövenpick Ice Cream
Michael Kitts Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management, Dubai
Pub Restaurant Chef Award sponsored by Premier Foods
Rob Hartwell The Rose & Crown
Restaurant Chef Award sponsored by Alaska Seafood
Richard Allen Grand Jersey Hotel & Spa
Young Chef Award sponsored by Falcon Williams
Ben Murphy Koffmann's at the Berkeley Hotel
Special Award sponsored by Sodexo UK & Ireland
Cyrus Todiwala Cafe Spice Namaste
Martin Bates CEO of the Craft Guild of Chefs