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Welsh businesses pick up awards at Golden Chopstick Awards

Gok Wan & Fuchsia Dunlop with Gigi Gao’s

The Golden Chopsticks Awards winners were announced on Monday 29th April 2024, at a glittering ceremony in London, hosted by Gok Wan MBE. The awards, co-founded by friends Lucy Mitchell, Sarah Lewis and Gok in 2018, has become one of the largest and most prestigious celebrations of East and South East Asian food in the world.

A host of celebrities and VIP’s attended the event at the Royal Lancaster London, including TV royalty Lorraine Kelly and daughter Rosie, Gareth Gates, David Ames, Chris Baber, Juliet Sear, Nisha Katona, Hayley Tamaddon, Poppy O’Toole, Harriet Scott Magic FM. The judging panel were all there to celebrate the awards as well Head Judge, Ken Hom CBE’s 40th anniversary since his first TV show.

Also attending were politicians Angela Rayner MP, Dawn Butler MP and Sarah Owen MP, as well as some of the biggest influencers in East and South East Asian food, eminent food writers and prominent community leaders. Unlike other industry awards ceremonies, Gok managed to create a party atmosphere for all attendees who see it as the highlight of their year, taking time off with their whole team to celebrate their hard work and much deserved success. A surprise performance from Liberty X rounded off the evening with the band bringing the house down after the awards.

The 19 award categories mark the excellence of both the restaurant sector and contribution made by suppliers, food writers and individuals to the industry’s growth. After continued difficult times for the hospitality industry, it was no surprise that there were a number of heartfelt acceptance speeches from the winners.

The two largest tables in the room were devoted to winners from Wales who made their presence known on the night, as Gok made reference to their stunning outfits and lots of celebratory cheers coming from their side of the ballroom, just as he likes it.

Gok Wan MBE hosted the awards.

Not for the first time, Gigi’s Gao’s in Swansea picked up the gong for Best in Wales, voted for by the public and sponsored by Phoenix Rice. As judge and authority on E&SE Asian cuisine, Fuchsia Dunlop commented ‘I’m sure the public had their work cut out choosing one of these talented restaurateurs, with Wales being one of the most voted for regional awards.

Best Delivery Experience sponsored by Just Eat and voted for by the pubic went to Dragon Palace in Saundersfoot.

Gok Wan & Hayley Tamaddon with Dragon Palace

Hayley commented, “As someone who loves a takeaway I know how important it is to have a good takeaway experience!”

Best newcomer was picked up by newly opened Singapulah on Shaftesbury Avenue, London which showcases the vibrant hawker scene that Singapore is known for.

JM Oriental in Colindale, beat off stiff competition to win Best in England. This was particularly heart warming after the restaurant had previously picked up Best Newcomer, so to see them leap to collect the Best in England Award after only 3 years was a huge achievement. They also collected the coveted award for Best Dim Sum. And the icing on the cake was the third accolade of the night when they picked up the new award for Best Restaurant Design.

As Street Food continues to increase in popularity, The Spice Lab, Mercato Mayfair were delighted to collect this award.

Our new Heat and Eat award went to M&S for their fantastic Taste of Asia range meaning bold, beautiful, Asian-inspired flavours can be enjoyed from the comfort of your own home. This award celebrates the finest East and South East Asian pre-made food ranges available from supermarkets and retailers. Recognising convenience without compromising on authenticity, delivering an immersive culinary experience at home.

Scottish winners included Cosmo who picked up Best in Scotland plus the Food Influencer Award which was awarded to Malaysian Scottish TV presenter and food writer Julie Lin.

Cosmo also picked picked up the award for Best in Northern Ireland along with Best Restaurant Multi site.

Gareth Gates also attended the awards.

The north was represented with Liverpool picking up two trophies. Woo Tan Scran picked up the award for Best Vegan / Vegetarian dish (Previous winners from 2021, when they picked up best newcomer) and Chamber 36 collected the Best Cocktail Award, while ALS Gongcha in Sheffield picked up Best Sweet Treat.

The new Golden Future Forward Award was introduced to recognise an establishment that stands as an inspiration and celebration for those dedicated to fostering sustainability, community engagement and charity. Honouring individuals, organisations and initiatives that exemplify an unwavering commitment to creating a brighter future for generations to come, and was awarded to Chop Chop at the Hippodrome.

Hakkasan have been at the forefront of game changing Chinese restaurants since first opening in Hanway Place in 2001 so it was no surprise that their Corporate Executive Chef Andrew Yeo picked up the coveted Best Chef award.

After appearing on a special edition of Saturday Kitchen with Ken Hom, the coveted Fine Dining category was picked up by Gouqi in St James, London.

The ballroom erupted when Chef Twee Hwee Tong from Gouqi, picked up The Ken Hom Golden Chopsticks Lifetime Achievement, and really encapsulated the mood in the room on the night. Twee Hwee Tong was particularly honoured to pick up the award in front of his all time hero Ken Hom and it marked a double win for them on the night.

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Ken Hom, CBE, commented ‘I am more than delighted to be part of the fifth Golden Chopsticks Awards which coincides with my 40thanniversary in TV. It sets the highest standard from which East & South East Asian restaurants in the UK can all be judged. I congratulate all the winners and finalists as well as the judges for their hard work!’

Many of the chosen restaurants were voted for by members of the public over a six-week period, with over 42,000 votes registered. Separate industry prizes were awarded by an independent judging panel which includes influential figures from the industry.

The full list of winners are as follows:

  1. The Golden Chopsticks Best Restaurant in England – JM Oriental, Colindale
  2. The Golden Chopsticks Best Restaurant in Wales – Gigi Gao’s, Wales
  3. The Golden Chopsticks Best Restaurant in Scotland – Cosmo
  4. The Golden Chopsticks Best Restaurant in Northern Ireland – Cosmo
  5. The Golden Chopsticks Best Newcomer – Singapulah
  6. The Golden Chopsticks Best Delivery Experience – Dragon Palace, Wales
  7. The Golden Chopsticks Best Restaurant Design – JM Oriental, Colindale
  8. The Golden Chopsticks Best Multi site (5 or more branches) – Cosmo
  9. The Golden Chopsticks Best Vegan/Vegetarian Dish Award – Woo Tan Scran, Liverpool
  10. The Golden Chopsticks Best Sweet Treat Award – ALS Gongcha, Sheffield
  11. The Golden Chopsticks Best Street Food Award – The Spice Lab, Mercato Mayfair
  12. The Golden Chopsticks Best Dim Sum Award – JM Oriental, Colindale
  13. The Golden Chopsticks Best Golden Cocktail Award – Chamber 36, Liverpool
  14. The Golden Chef Award – Andrew Yeo, Hakkasan, London
  15. The Golden Chopsticks Food Influencer Award – Julie Lin
  16. The Golden Chopsticks Heat & Eat Award – Marks & Spencer
  17. The Golden Chopsticks Fine Dining Award – Gouqi, London
  18. The Golden Future Award – Chop Chop at the Hippodrome, London
  19. The Ken Hom Lifetime Achievement Award – Chef Chee Hwee Tong at Gouqi, London

Gok Wan MBE, co-founder and host of the awards commented: “After the amazing success of our first four awards, we knew it was going to be a tall order to go bigger and better this year, but with a new venue we feel we pulled it off! The Golden Chopsticks Awards has well and truly cemented itself into the culinary calendar. What an amazing night, bringing together the good and the great from the oriental food world in one room, with finalists covering the broad spectrum of E & SE Asian food from Chinese, Japanese and Thai to Vietnamese, Malaysian, Filipino and Korean. It was fantastic to see so many accomplished restaurateurs in the room, alongside the rising stars of the future! It was a real honour to host what is now one of my favourite nights of the year!”

Stuart Herrington, Head of Account Management, Just Eat UK added, “We would like to congratulate all of the winners and finalists of this year’s Golden Chopsticks Awards. At Just Eat, we believe that local restaurants play a crucial role in our communities. We’re therefore honoured to support a platform that not only celebrates the very best East and South East Asian food across the UK, but that also celebrates the people working hard behind the scenes. These awards acknowledge all of their efforts and hard work over a challenging few years.”