Williams Sponsor Culinary Hero Award 2023

Williams Refrigeration were delighted to present this year’s Culinary Hero Award to Darren Passmore, Executive Chef at Compass Group and Co-Owner of Rustic Rhubarb.

The Craft Guild of Chefs Awards recognises exceptional talent across the whole industry, and the glamorous ceremony took place at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge in London, on Thursday, 1 June, with over 700 industry leaders.

The Culinary Hero Award identifies chefs with a true passion for food who have achieved a specific achievement or long-term commitment within the catering industry.

From left to right: Vice Admiral Sir Tony Johnstone-Burt (President of the Craft Guild of Chefs), Kaj Sandom (National Accounts Manager, Williams Refrigeration), Darren Passmore (Culinary Hero Award Winner) and Matt Owens (Chair of Craft Guild of Chefs)

Darren Passmore is Bupa Cromwell Hospital’s award winning Head Chef, and believes good food is a crucial part of a patient’s treatment. In between cooking, Darren takes time to speak to patients about their favourite food, and where possible recreates these for them within the hospital.   

Last year Darren and his wife launched Rustic Rhubarb, a café employing people who have missed out on opportunities in life, with the aim of giving employees a sense of purpose and meaning whilst providing delicious food.

“Darren’s core strength is that he understands the transformative power of food and uses it to improve lives – from the patients when he worked in a hospital, customers within his current workplace to the people with learning disabilities he teaches cookery skills to in his spare time.” – Craft Guild of Chefs.

The night saw fourteen chefs from the hospitality industry, including restaurants, hotels, armed services and the wider scene, triumph in their categories at the prestigious awards.

The full list of winners:

Accredited College Restaurant of the Year Award: Westminster Kingsway College

Apprentice Chef Award: Eimear McCarthy, Student, South Eastern Regional College

Armed Services Chef Award: SSgt Grahame Wickham, Unit Catering Manager, British Army

Banqueting and Events Chef Award: Ian Page, Executive Chef, Payne & Gunter

Chef Lecturer Award: Len Unwin, Curriculum Team Leader, Sheffield College

Chef's Favourite Branded Chain Restaurant: Prezzo

Competition Chef Award: Adam Thomason, Culinary Director, Absolute Taste

Contract Catering Chef Award: Wayne Corbett, Executive Chef, National Grid

Culinary Hero Award: Darren Passmore, Compass Group & Co Owner Rustic Rhubarb

Development Chef Award: Terry O'Riordan, Owner and Development Chef, Keto Chefs

New Restaurant of the Year Award: Upstairs by Tom Shepherd

Pastry Chef Award: Mark Perkins, Executive Pastry Chef, Rosewood London

Pub Restaurant Chef Award: Phil Mason, Chef Patron, The Rat Inn

Public Sector Catering Chef Award: Scott Freeman, Culinary Director, ESS Defence

Restaurant Chef Award: Adam Handling, Chef Owner, Adam Handling Restaurant Group

Sustainability Excellence Award: Adnams PLC

Young Chef Award: Nathan Johnson, Senior Chef de Partie, Royal Crescent Hotel and Spa

Special Award winner: Simon Rogan