The great and good of the hospitality industry came together last night (September 26) to celebrate the winner of the AA Hospitality Awards 2016. Held at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London, the winners of the 23 awards were recognised for their hard work and expertise in the fields.

Drawing on the unrivalled knowledge and expertise of the AA inspectorate and other industry professionals involved in the judging process, winners are selected in recognition of excellence and success within their chosen category, having shown a significant improvement in the preceding 12 – 18 months and proving their dedication to raising industry standards and enhancing both their guest and diner experiences. From top hotels and restaurants to the best of British pubs and college restaurants the AA Hospitality Awards celebrate everything that is great in British hospitality. All the winners will appear in the latest edition of the 2017 AA Hotel, Restaurant and Pub Guides which were launched at the event.

Guests at the event, hosted by Hugh Dennis, were treated to a gastronomic menu created by the 2015 AA Chefs’ Chef, Daniel Clifford.

The winners of the 2016 AA Hospitality Awards are:

AA Chef of the Year 2016

A unique award that offers all AA Rosette-awarded chefs the chance to decide which of their peers deserves the ultimate recognition.

Winner – Simon Rogan

Simon is one of the most creative and dynamic chefs working in the UK today and his food has made an indelible impression on the country’s food scene, his influence is far-reaching.

AA Lifetime Achievement Award

Winner – Pierre Koffmann

Pierre Koffmann has been one of the undisputed heavyweights of the British restaurant scene since he arrived in England in the early 1970s. Born in Tarbes, Gascony in 1948, he was inspired by his grandmother’s method of cooking – living off the land and cooking as the seasons dictated on a big open fire. Leaving school at 14, he tried for a variety of jobs, but eventually opted for the local cookery school. Arriving in London at the age of 22, his original plan was only to stay for six months, but he quickly found a job working for Michel and Albert Roux at Le Gavroche. Within six months he had been promoted to sous chef and was soon appointed head chef at the Roux Brothers’ Waterside Inn at Bray, where he stayed for five years. In 1977, he opened their first restaurant, La Tante Claire, and it quickly gained a reputation as one of the best dining experiences in London. Two decades later, he took up residency in the Berkeley Hotel in Knightsbridge, where he continued to cook until he decided to hang up his apron in 2003. However, his retirement was short-lived. In 2009, he made a high-profile comeback running a pop-up version of La Tante Claire on the roof of Selfridges. The original one-week event sold out immediately and it continued for two months, during which time he served up 3,200 plates of his signature dish of pig’s trotters stuffed with chicken mousseline, sweetbreads and morel mushrooms. The huge success of this pop-up inspired him to make an unexpected return to The Berkeley Hotel. During his career, he has trained a number of chefs including Gordon Ramsay, Marco Pierre White, Marcus Wareing and Jason Atherton. With so many culinary giants working under him over the years, this chef’s ongoing influence on the British restaurant scene is immeasurable.

AA Hotel of the Year

Introduced in 1992, and awarded to hotels that are recognised as being outstanding examples in their particular market.

AA Hotel of the Year for England – Northcote, Langho

AA Hotel of the Year for Wales – The Angel Hotel, Abergavenny

AA Hotel of the Year for Scotland – Cromlix Hotel, Dunblane

AA Hotel of the Year for London  – The Beaumont

AA Hotel of the Year for Northern Ireland – Manor House Country Hotel, Enniskillen

AA Restaurant of the Year

While the standard of cuisine is at the very heart of the selection criteria for these awards, innovation, ambience, and hospitality are all part of the equation that determines the eventual winners.

AA Restaurant of the Year for England – Lumière, Cheltenham

AA Restaurant of the Year for Wales – Restaurant James Sommerin, Penarth

AA Restaurant of the Year for Scotland – Inver Restaurant, Strachur

AA Restaurant of the Year for London  – Sosharu, London

AA Wine Award

Nominees are judged on the quality of their wine list and their ability to inspire customers to make wider and more adventurous choices.

AA Wine Award for England and Overall Winner – Sketch (Lecture Room and Library), London

AA Wine Award for Scotland – The Kitchin, Edinburgh

AA Wine Award for Wales – The Whitebrook, Whitebrook

AA Pub of the Year

Combining the provision of enjoyable food, a great pub atmosphere, and a warm welcome with a high standard of management

AA Pub of the Year for England (sponsored by Cobra)– The Boot, Repton

AA Pub of the Year for Wales – Penhelig Arms, Aberdyfi

AA Pub of the Year for Scotland – The Ship Inn, Elie

AA Hotel Group of the Year

A hugely prestigious award presented in recognition of the hotel group that has a proven track record of striving to ensure the very best levels of service, food and accommodation across the range of properties. Attention to detail is imperative and a committed and structured approach to future development is essential.

Winner – Thwaites Shire Hotels

AA Eco Hotel and Eco Hotel Group of the Year

These awards recognise a clear commitment to sustainability, demonstrated through good practice and policy to make a positive contribution to reducing impact on the environment

Winner AA Eco Hotel – Battlesteads Hotel, Hexham

Winner AA Eco Hotel Group  – AccorHotels

AA Food Service Award

The AA Food Service Award recognises establishments who not only deliver excellent standards of restaurant service and hospitality but also have technical service skills, food and beverage knowledge of the highest standard and a clear commitment to staff training and development.

Winner – The Ritz London

AA Housekeeper of the Year Award

The award recognises outstanding commitment and performance, identifying a Housekeeper who goes above and beyond the call of duty.

Winner – Nan McDowall, Crewe Hall, Crewe

AA College Restaurant Award

The College Restaurant of the Year Award has been developed in conjunction with our partner, People 1st, the leading workforce development expert for the hospitality, tourism, travel, passenger-transport and retail industries. The AA College Rosette Scheme was designed to recognise the efforts of students, both front and back of house who are the future of our hospitality industry. Colleges within the AA College Rosette Scheme that have shown outstanding achievements in a realistic working environment have been put forward for the AA College Restaurant of the Year Award.

Winner – Foxholes Restaurant, Runshaw College

The AA also announced the restaurants that have been awarded new Four and Five rosettes as well as the new Red Star hotels.

The new Five Rosette restaurants are:

Hélène Darroze at The Connaught, London
Casamia Restaurant, Bristol
Restaurant Story, London
Pollen Street Social, London

The new Four Rosette restaurants are:

The Whitebrook, Whitebrook
Winteringham Fields, Winteringham
Number One The Balmoral, Edinburgh
Hampton Manor, Solihull
Paul Ainsworth at No 6, Padstow
Orwells, Henley-on-Thames

The new Five Red Star hotels are:

The Royal Crescent Hotel and Spa, Bath
South Lodge, Lower Beeding
The Bath Priory Hotel, Restaurant and Spa, Bath
Rosewood London
Ashford Castle, Cong, County Mayo, ROI