News from 2017

Worshipful Company of Cooks to fete outstanding achievers at Annual Prize Winners’ Luncheon

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Big guns of the British food and culinary world will gather at Innholders Hall this Wednesday, 1st March 2017, when the Worshipful Company of Cooks hosts its annual luncheon in honour of the civilian and military cooks who triumphed in the various culinary competitions it supported during the past year.

Worshipful Company of Cooks crest

The Lord Mayor of London, the Rt Hon Andrew Parmley, is expected to attend, where he will be joined by Liverymen Chef Brian Turner CBE, President of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts; Chef John Williams MBE, Executive Chef of The Ritz; Chef Henry Harris, proprietor of Harris Vintners, as well as Freemen Harry Lomas MBE BEM, Executive Head Chef at The Grove Hotel, Spa and Resort and Simon Fooks, Managing Director of Merchant Taylors Catering.

Also present at the luncheon will be Chantal Coady OBE, founder of Rococo Chocolates and a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier London; senior culinary judge Chef John Retallick, Adam Sutton, Head Chef of The Ivy; Reece Collier, Head Pastry Chef at The Grove Hotel, Spa and Resort, and Saira Hamilton, private chef and owner of Small Aubergine. Creating the menu is a team led by Liveryman Herbert Berger, Chef Director of Innholders Hall. Berger gained a Michelin star at three different restaurants before moving to Innholders Hall.

But the occasion’s true luminaries are the competition winners, including chefs from the Royal Navy, Royal Fleet Auxillary, the Army, and the Royal Air Force. The event will honour the likes of AB Dominic Armfield, HMS Duncan Cook of the Year; Ruth Hanson and James Devine, 2016 Craft Guild of Chefs Young Chef of the Year and National Chef of the Year, respectively; Gary Maclean, 2016 winner of Masterchefs: The Professionals 2016, and the Cooks Apprentice of the Year, Demetris Sakalis.

The Worshipful Company of Cooks has an illustrious history as one of the oldest livery companies in the City of London, with origins dating back to the 12th century when it was formed by the amalgamation of two medieval guilds, the Cooks of Eastcheap and the Cooks of Bread Street. Today, while the smallest livery company in membership terms, the Company continues to uphold a proud tradition of contributing immensely to the life of the City through the craft of cooking. It was one of the 16 livery companies to found the City and Guilds London Institute (City & Guilds) over a century ago.

The Annual Prize Winning Luncheon is organised by the Company’s Master, Michael Thatcher, and the Company Clerk, Peter Wilkinson, assisted by Past Master Graham Craddock, and the members of the Cookery Committee.

The Company sponsors an NVQ Level 2 and NVQ Level 3 apprenticeship scheme at Westminster Kingsway College, as well as the Combined Services Culinary Challenge, which selects military chefs who then go on to represent the UK Combined Services Culinary Arts Team on the world stage. In addition, the Company provides annual grants towards the Craft Guild of Chefs scholarship scheme and the William Heptinstall Award for young people wishing to broaden their culinary experience abroad. The Company likewise supports Springboard FutureChef.

Graham Craddock said, ‘The Worshipful Company of Cooks is committed to nurturing, supporting and recognising culinary excellence across Britain and in doing so, enriching the life of the City of London. Today our membership may not be made up entirely of cooks and chefs, but our history is entwined with the craft of cookery and this annual luncheon is the culmination, year on year, of what we see are significant achievements by men and women who will help to guide the future of food and cooking in this country. We never forget that the cornerstones of our work are Charity, Cookery, the City and Fellowship.

‘On behalf of the Company – which is also fondly known as the ‘the Cook’s Livery’ – I would like to congratulate all the winners. You are all beacons of your profession. This luncheon will also be our opportunity to give a special award to the chefs who we believe have made an invaluable, irreplaceable contribution to the culinary profession.’

The Worshipful Company of Cooks Annual Prize Winners’ Luncheon will be held at Innholders Hall, 30 College Street, London EC 4R 2RH.

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For more information on the Worshipful Company of Cooks Annual Prize Giving luncheon, contact Graham Craddock at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Gina McAdam at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..