The judging panel (Pic: Golden Chopstick Awards)
The Grosvenor Square Marriott was the venue for the first ever Golden Chopsticks Awards last night. Hosted by Gok Wan the awards were presented to 16 different restaurants and chefs. Celebrity chef Ken Hom led the judging panel for this years event, which also included TV chefs Ching-He Huang, Jeremy Pang and Simon Rimmer, among others.
Gok, who also founded the awards, said: “The Golden Chopsticks Awards was everything I dreamt it would be and so much more. To be on stage in front so many brilliant, creative and passionate food lovers was a real honour. Last night, not only did we celebrate oriental food we also celebrated the heroes who have dedicated their lives to it. The Golden Chopsticks Awards in one night has cemented itself into the culinary calendar and I cannot wait for next year when the chopsticks will rise again, only bigger and better!”
One of the actual awards (Pic: GCA)
The Panda Radio team were at the awards too, we spoke to one of the judges, TV chef Ching-He Huang.
It wasn’t just a London event, it was a UK wide event. The best restaurant in Wales was won by Gigi Gao’s, which plays jazz from Shanghai in the evenings. Ireland’s best was Mandarin Palace, in Derry, which opened in 1989 and one online reviewer described as five stars not being a high enough rating.
We also spoke to Ken Hom OBE, a judge and award winner.
Chinese culture and cuisine has been part of the UK dining scene for the past 60 years with Chinese food voted the nation’s favourite year on year.
An awards spokesperson said that they wanted to recognise the breadth of Oriental dining options available today. “Nowadays joining the well-established Japanese and Thai food scene we see Korean, Malaysian and Vietnamese dishes growing in popularity together with specialist regional Chinese offerings”.
Here are the winners:
Best Newcomer Award – Dragon Inn Club
The Golden Noodle Award – The Royal China Club
The Best Takeaway Award – Tai Pan Express
Best Restaurant Wales Award – Gigi Gao’s
Best Restaurant Ireland Award – Mandarin Palace
Best Restaurant Scotland Award – Chaophraya
Best Restaurant England Award – Jinli
Food Blogger Award – Lizzie Hollowlegs
Ching-He Huang Innovation Award – Duck & Rice
Community Award – Ming I
Best Fusion Award – Hotpot
Best Restaurant Chain Award – Ping Pong
Fine Dining Award – Yu, Alderley Edge
Golden Chef Award – A. Wong
Founders Outstanding Contribution to Business Award – The Royal China Group
Founders Outstanding Contribution to Food Award – Ken Hom OBE
Founders Lifetime Achievement Award – Stanley Tse
(Editor’s Note: Ching did have her dancing shoes on… They were much better than any of the Panda Radio team’s dancing shoes)