Sat Bains and Tom Kerridge are the big winners in England in the 2012 Michelin guide to Great Britain and Ireland, after being promoted to two-star-status by the famous restaurant guide.
Great British Menu winner Tom Kerrige’s Hand & Flowers in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, has been named the first two-Michelin-starred pub in the country, while Restaurant Sat Bains with Rooms has finally reached its second star after years of the industry calling on Michelin to recognise the Nottingham restaurant.
RESTAURANT SAT BAINS
Sat Bains was born in Normanton, Derbyshire, into a Sikh family from the Punjab region, which straddles India and Pakistan. He was catapulted into the limelight while working at the Ashbourne Gallery in Derby when he won the 1999 Roux Scholarship.
He won his first Michelin star in 2003 at his eponymous restaurant at the Hotel des Clos, a small property in Lenton, on the outskirts of Nottingham. However the hotel was sold the following year.
Undaunted by the sale, Bains bought a 15-year lease on the restaurant and planned to reopen as a separate business. However, in the spring of 2005, the chance to buy a 15-year lease on the hotel also arose and Bains and his wife Amanda jumped at it. It became known as Restaurant Sat Bains with Rooms.
On winning his second star today, Bains told Caterer and Hotelkeeper: “Amanda and I are absolutely blown away. It was my 12th anniversary on this site yesterday and it’s just proven that you must keep going and keep pushing. You’ve just got to keep believing.”
He added: “I never thought two stars was in my grasp, but we’ve done it through sheer determination. My head chef John Freeman has been with me 10 years – it’s as much for him as for us – and for the people who believed in our vision.
“I’m going to reflect for a while and keep pushing forward. The amount of support we’ve received is incredible. It’s not over, it’s just the beginning. I don’t feel stressed, I feel relieved.”
THE HAND & FLOWERS
Tom Kerridge first won a Michelin star in 2003 at Adlards in Norwich but left the restaurant after 18 months to launch the Hand & Flowers together with his wife, Beth, in February 2005. It picked up a Michelin star in 2006 and has since opened four guest rooms on site.
Kerridge’s happy marriage of robust cuisine and convivial pub atmosphere has become something of a model among the new breed of Michelin-hopeful gastropubs, something that will no doubt intensify following the second star.
Kerridge told Caterer and Hotelkeeper he was absolutely over the moon with the result. “It’s amazing,” he said. “The fact that we’re a pub with two stars is just incredible.
“The fact that Michelin is awarding two stars to a pub means they are embracing British culture - it’s the same as a two-star tapas bar in Spain. My cooking may be French but we use British ingredients, we are a British pub and serve ales and we have fish and chips on the menu at lunchtime – the only two-Michelin-starred fish and chips in the world!”
Kerridge added that he felt the award represented Michelin’s recognition of the hard work he and his team had put in over the past seven years. “It has been a journey, a slow process and we have progressively improved. I am so proud of my staff. All of them bar me and my pastry chef are under 30 so this is a really amazing achievement.”
By Kerstin Kühn and Amanda Afiya
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