Coveted hotel industry ‘Oscar’ recognises ‘truly caring nature’ of Bath hotel chef

December 8, 2022

Bath’s only Michelin-starred chef, Chris Cleghorn of the Olive Tree Restaurant, has been named the Hotel Restaurant Chef of the Year at the hotel industry ‘Oscars’, the Hotel Cateys.

The prestigious awards celebrate the UK’s most successful hotel operators and their employees and are the industry’s only truly independent benchmark of operational excellence, with entrants judged by their peers and industry experts. 

Chris’s ambition when he joined The Olive Tree, part of Bath’s multi award-winning Queensberry Hotel, in 2013 was to gain a Michelin Star.

Within nine months his passion and drive to deliver exceptional standards of dining had been recognised with three AA rosettes – with the hoped-for Michelin Star following in 2018.

It remains Bath’s only Michelin Star – and now Chris, pictured, second from leftsays winning a Hotel Catey is another lifetime pinnacle achievement. 

He is regarded as having been at the forefront of championing team and resource management change at The Olive Tree on Russel Street while creating an environment that nurtures talent and success, yet brings a work-life balance.

Hotel Cateys judges said achieving this in a Michelin environment was exceptional and “reflected his truly caring nature”. 

Chris also obsessively sources from the very best Somerset and South West producers, only casting the net wider when he cannot find the required ingredients locally.

Chris said: “I was literally speechless when I was announced as the winner, especially as I was up against such admirable competition.

“A Michelin star was my stated career ambition, but a Hotel Catey follows as another lifetime pinnacle achievement. 

“The entire industry is tough for us all just now, so this award is a major boost not just for me, but for my incredible team who make our everyday successes and achievements possible.”

The Queensberry Hotel and Olive Tree Restaurant co-founder and co-owner Laurence Beere added: “Over the last decade, I have closely watched Chris develop and grow and I have witnessed him finding, creating and constantly honing, polishing and improving his personal chef ‘hallmarks’, his vision and his style.

“Alongside this internal graft, he has become such a positive influence for others in our industry.”

He said Chris went out of his way to help everyone he could – whether that was in The Queensberry Hotel and Olive Tree Restaurant or in colleges and schools where he dedicates time to judge, mentor and teach students.

“I am deeply genuine when I say that having Chris join our team in 2013 was one of the best days for our long-standing business,” Laurence added.

“I am proud to call him my friend as well as the executive head chef of our fiercely independent hotel operation.

“I can think of no-one who exemplifies all the required qualities of an exceptional hotel restaurant chef more fully. And I can think of no-one more deserving of this award.”

The Hotel Cateys were awarded at a gala ceremony at the Royal Lancaster London hotel.

Since their launch in 2007, the awards have celebrated the most successful hotels, hoteliers and hotel employees across the UK.


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