Neven Maguire - MacNean House & Bistro
This is a very special award, given each year to a chef who has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to defending the quality ingredients which Paul Bocuse, the founder of the chefs’ organisation Euro-Toques, once called ‘the building blocks of good cooking’. Few have championed their local specialist producers - and, indeed, quality producers throughout the country - so consistently or with such dedication as Neven Maguire. And, although Neven was unable to attend the awards personally, it seemed especially appropriate that his mother, Vera - who inspired him with her love of cooking and instilled in him the importance of quality ingredients, and family and local values - was there to accept this important award on his behalf. In the early days of this family-run restaurant, long before it became the national icon of good cooking that is today, Vera and Neven cooked side by side in the kitchen here - and, although Neven is a stylish chef who has moved the cooking up more than a few notches, the fundamental values of quality, local produce and great flavours remain the same.