Culinary awards - the road to succes

No matter what industry you work in, the aim is to build up a reputation for excellence. Whilst winning awards isn’t everything, there’s no denying that it feels amazing to have your work, no matter what it is, appreciated by others.

In the food and hospitality industry there are many culinary awards given to professionals working to the highest of standards. Below we have provided a brief guide to some of the most prestigious culinary awards and what you need to do to be in the chance of winning one.

AA Rosette Award for excellence
The AA Rosette is designed to recognise successful cooking at all levels in the United Kingdom.
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AA Rosette
First up we have the long-established AA Rosette award scheme that is designed to recognise successful cooking at different levels in the UK.

In order to determine whether or not a hotel or restaurant deserves a Rosette award, an AA inspector will visit the institution and assess the meal they are given.

The AA Rosette awards go up in levels from one to five, with Five Rosettes only being awarded to restaurants of the highest standard. Only about 10% of restaurants and hotels in the UK are considered to be at a One Rosette or above standard.

One and Two Rosette awards are usually presented at the time of inspection. Three and Four Rosette awards are announced twice a year and Five Rosette awards are announced just once a year.

The AA Rosette belongs to the chef and restaurant or hotel combined. If the chef chooses to leave the institution, the Rosette award/s will be suspended until a new inspection has been carried out to see if the institution is still worthy.

Earning a Michelin star is seen as one of the highest honours in the culinary industry. All Michelin judges are anonymous and pose as ordinary diners when they are secretly evaluating the quality of restaurants. Their judgment is made on what is on the plate in front of them and they must take into consideration the quality of the products, the mastering of flavours, the mastering of cooking and personality of the cuisine.


The heat of competition
Michelin stars are only awarded to a small number of outstanding restaurants.
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Judges can award restaurants between one and three Michelin stars for outstanding quality. One Michelin Star is the sign of a very good restaurant offering cuisine prepared to a consistently high standard. Two Stars recognise excellent cuisine that has been skilfully and carefully crafted to an outstanding quality and Three Stars is awarded to restaurants offering exceptional cuisine.

Michelin also have another culinary award scheme known as the Bib Gourmand. This award was created in 1997 and designed to recognise restaurants offering good food at affordable prices. This year, in order to stand a chance at qualifying for a Bib Gourmand, restaurants must offer a full meal (excluding drinks) for under £28.00.

The James Beard Foundation award for excellence
The James Beard Foundation Award is a prestigious culinary award in North America.
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James Beard Foundation Awards
The James Beard Foundation Awards is an American culinary award scheme that covers all roles in the industry including:

·         Chefs

·         Restaurateurs

·         Cookbook authors

·         Food journalists

·         Restaurant designers

The awards were established in 1990 and are often referred to as ‘The Oscars of the food industry.’ More than 600 culinary professionals vote on each category to decide the winners. Category winners are then presented with a bronze medallion featuring an image of James Beard and a certificate from the James Beard Foundation.

Annual Awards of Excellence
The Royal Academy of Culinary Arts run two award programmes, each covering three aspects of the culinary arts: cooking, pastry and service. The first award programme is called the Annual Awards of Excellence and is designed to recognise and encourage talented up and coming chefs, pastry chefs and waiters. The award programme takes place each year and is open to young chefs, pastry chefs and waiters between the age of 20 and 26, working full time in the UK.

It is fair to say that the Annual Awards of Excellence is the most prestigious award available to young people working in the hospitality industry. Since it was set up in 1983, around four hundred people have achieved the award.

In order to stand a chance of winning the award, candidates are required to sit an examination. Although everyone sitting the examination can receive the award if they pass, only the candidates with the highest marks in each category can go onto win the title of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Young Chef, Young Pastry Chef or Young Waiter of the Year.

The Masters of Culinary Arts
The second award programme set up by The Royal Academy of Culinary Arts is titled The Masters of Culinary Arts. This is a more advanced awards programme, open to head chefs, head pastry chefs and restaurant managers. The awards take place every four years. In order to qualify, chefs, pastry chefs and restaurant managers must be over the age of 26 and have at least 10 years’ experience in the industry.

The Masters of Culinary Arts award programme was set up in 1987 as a way of recognising the outstanding craftsmanship in the culinary industry. The award is based on the Meilleur Ouvrier de France award and is designed to improve the standards of food, cooking and service in the UK, whilst also raising the profiles of outstanding individuals in the industry.

It has extremely demanding entry requirements and passing any stage is seen as a big achievement. The judging panel is made up of members of the academy and other significant professionals from the industry. They can choose to give the award to all or none of the finalists, depending on the pass mark. It is less of a competition and more of a mark of excellence.

As you can see from reading this post, there are so many culinary awards for chefs, pastry chefs, waiters, restaurateurs and other industry professionals to win. However, as great as it is to be recognised by an award body for your talent and skills, the greatest achievement will come from satisfying your customers with a first class service that is next to none.

Image credits: Leo Reynolds, ulterior epicure and brixton



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