Milan Hukal from the Dog Inn, Grundisburgh, Suffolk, took the crown for Pub Chef of the Year, while Robert Yuill from the D’Arcy Thompson, Dundee, was crowned Young Chef of the Year by Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs minister George Eustice.
It was a big surprise to have won the award, said Hukal, who added he would be back in the kitchen today.
Yuill said: “I really wasn’t expecting it. I wouldn’t have been disappointed if I didn’t win and hopefully it’s [the awards] are going to do well in the industry in years to come.”
More than 120 nominations
The competition, which was launched late last year, received more than 120 nominations from Members of Parliament across the country, who each selected a pub chef from within their constituency who they believed to be worthy of the awards.
Hukal was nominated by local MP Dr Daniel Poulter, while Yuill received his vote from MP Chris Law.
A shortlist of finalists was selected from the entries by a panel of food experts. Four finalists were decided on by the panel for both the Pub Chef of the Year and Young Chef of the Year categories.
A cook-off took place at Fuller’s the Vintry pub in the City of London in January, where each of the eight finalists was given the opportunity to show their creativity and flair for food. They were then interviewed before the winners were decided.
BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “The huge response to our Pub Chef of the Year competition from MPs has been a real inspiration and we’ve enjoyed so many amazing dishes from our great pub chefs.
“There is already huge talent in the sector and we must work with MPs, local colleges and the whole pub sector to ensure the next generation of pub chefs has the skills, support and opportunities to take the sector even further.”
George Vezza, managing director of competition sponsor Nestlé Professional, said: “This year, we are proud to have supported the Parliamentary Pub Chef and Young Pub Chef of the Year award and hope that the skill and talent displayed by Milan and Robert will inspire the next generation of chefs to consider careers in the pub sector.
“As more and more people are choosing pubs as destinations for eating out, this is indeed a very exciting time to develop a career as a chef.”
- John Calton – Great British Pub Awards Best Food Pub and Top 50 Gastropubs Chef of the Year winner – of the Staith House, North Shieds
- Gordon Jones, the Brit Pub, Port Talbot, Wales
- Milan Hukal, the Dog Inn, Grundisburgh, Suffolk
- Michele Cremona, the Candlemaker, Battersea, south London
Those shortlisted for the Young Chef of the Year Award were:
- Gordon Stott, the Sun Inn, Dummer, Hampshire
- Robert Yuill, the D’Arcy Thompson, Dundee
- Edward Hackland, the Waggon, Halam, Nottinghamshire
- Matt Long, the Raglan Arms, Llandenny, Wales