Michelin-starred pub Pipe & Glass snags top award at ‘Chef Oscars’

By Nicholas Robinson

- Last updated on GMT

Winning chef: James Mackenzie of the Pipe & Glass, South Dalton, Yorkshire
Winning chef: James Mackenzie of the Pipe & Glass, South Dalton, Yorkshire

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One Michelin-starred chef-patron James Mackenzie, of the second-best UK gastropub the Pipe & Glass Inn, in South Dalton, Beverley, East Yorkshire, snagged the Pub Restaurant Chef of the Year Award at the Craft Guild of Chefs Awards last week.

Mackenzie, who has maintained a firm spot on the Publican’s Morning Advertiser’s ​(PMA​) Top 50 Gastropubs list​ for years – and bagged the second spot this year – accepted the award in front of 800 industry luminaries.

He told the PMA​: “I don’t know what won the award for us, but I would like to think it’s down to some of the extra things we’ve been doing with chef training, such as the young chefs’ competition we run.”

The young chefs Golden Apron competition has been running since 2012 and is open to 14 to 19-year-olds across Yorkshire.

Of last week’s win, Mackenzie continued: “It’s fantastic to be recognised within the Craft Guild of Chefs. It’s a well-respected organisation within the industry and the event is known as the Chefs’ Oscars.

‘Top 50 Gastropubs’

“When you’re nominated to be up for a shot at winning something like this it’s fantastic. We have been going for 10 years and we’re in the Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs and have won this award and it’s great.”

It was also an honour to have chefs such as the Galvin brothers congratulate him on the night, he added.

Although things are currently optimistic for Mackenzie and the Pipe & Glass he nodded to ongoing struggles within the pub industry, particularly the chef recruitment crisis.

More than 11,000 chefs will be needed by 2020 to combat the recruitment crisis, according to recent statistics.

“It’s still the thing that everyone talks about at events like this, straight away people ask you ‘so how are you doing for staff?’,” said Mackenzie.

‘Alright for chefs’

“We’re alright for chefs at the moment, but we’re always slightly overstaffed anyway, just to account for any issues that may come up.

“But, it’s really about making sure you hold on to the staff you have so nothing upsets the apple cart in the first place. Head chefs have to get the best from their staff by using the best of their skills to keep them engaged.”

As for the future of the Pipe & Glass, Mackenzie said there were no plans to do anything drastic at the moment and he currently did not intend to open another site.

However, the Yorkshire chef would be focusing on making sure his customers were better served and would work on developing the pub's menu.

“Maybe we’ll take that top spot from Steve [Harris of the Sportsman, Seasalter, Kent]​ in the Top 50 list next year!” Mackenzie joked.

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