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Meet the Finalists – BIH Spotlight Awards

Meet the finalists for the 2nd Annual BIH Spotlight Awards. These prestigious awards highlight outstanding businesses and individuals from Black, Asian, and ethnic minority backgrounds within the hospitality sector.

The winners of the BIH Spotlight Awards will be unveiled at a grand awards ceremony scheduled for Monday, October 16th, at the illustrious M Threadneedle Street in London.

We received an overwhelming response with over 300 public nominations spanning 15 awards categories. These include titles such as Chef of the Year, Pastry Chef of the Year, Drinks Professional of the Year, as well as accolades for the best in Caribbean Food, African Food, South Asian Food, East & Southeast Asian Food, Middle Eastern Food, Writer of the Year, Head Office Impact, Bar or Pub of the Year, Brand of the Year, Rising Star, and The People’s Choice Awards for Person of the Year and Restaurant of the Year.

The judging panel for this year comprises influential figures from the hospitality industry, including Mike Reid, Culinary Director of Rare Restaurants, and Monica Berg, Co-founder of Tayer & Elementary and a cohort of other industry leaders.

Our founder, Lorraine Copes, expressed her excitement, saying, “Following the success of our very first BIH Spotlight Awards last year, we’re really looking forward to celebrating more of our industry’s unsung talent. We’re over the moon with the number of applications we’ve received this year and can’t wait to raise a glass to all our finalists, alongside our incredible judging panel, at our awards ceremony on the 16th of October.

Meet the finalists:

Chef of the Year – Sponsored by

  1. Dixie Fingal-Rock Innes, Chef at Sohaila Restaurant – London 
  2. Eric Allangba, Founder/ Chef Patron of Funky Feast – London 
  3. Lalit Kumar, Executive Chef at IHG
  4. Ahmed Abdalla, Head Chef, Legacy at The Grand – York

Pastry Chef of the Year 

  1. Fang-Yu Lin, Head Chef and owner of Sugarcane Studio Ltd – Bath 
  2. Donovan Dyer, Head Pastry Chef of M Restaurants – London 
  3. Ryan Panchoo, Owner of Borough 22 Doughnuts – London 
  4. Sara Assad-Mannings, owner of Bun Head Bakes – London 

Drinks Professional of the Year – Sponsored by Moet Hennessy UK 

  1. Sonal Clare, Wine Director at The Wilderness – Birmingham 
  2. Stephanie Wangui, Senior Sommelier at Noble Rot – London 
  3. Jeri Kimber-Ndiaye, Head Sommelier at The NoMad Hotel – London 
  4. Wine Educator, Shane Jones

Caribbean Food 

  1. Liam Barker, Chef & Educator – London 
  2. Ayanna and Ayisha Fisher, Director of Ayannas London
  3. Jamaican Restaurants, Rudies Jerk Shack – London 
  4. Adians Tropical Fusion Restaurant – Birmingham 

African Food – Sponsored by Pedro’s 

  1. The Flygerians – London 
  2. Tunde Tejumola, Chef at Suyaman – London 
  3. Louis Ashok, Chef at Technique London Ltd
  4. Restaurant brand, Chuku’s – London 

South Asian Food 

  1. Sohini Banerjee, Supperclub Chef for Smoke and Lime – London 
  2. Restaurant brand Rambutan – London 
  3. Roti Chai Restaurant – London 
  4. Manju Patel, Head Chef at Manju’s – Brighton 

East & Southeast Asian Food – Sponsored by ESEA Eats 

  1. Charlene Liu and Liu Qian, Founders of Liu Xiaomian – London 
  2. Amy Poon, Founder of Poon’s London & Poon’s Wontoneria
  3. Chao Zhang, Founder of Tofu Vegan – London 
  4. Nicole Ma & Ryan Leung, Founders of Hoko London 

Middle Eastern Food – Sponsored by Persian Hospitality Network 

  1. Ayesha Kalaji, Head Chef at Queen of Cups – Glastonbury 
  2. Modern Persian Kitchen – Durham 
  3. Imad’s Syrian Kitchen – London 

Writer of the Year – Sponsored by Decanter 

  1. Chetna Makan
  2. Jimi Famurewa
  3. Gurd Loyal
  4. Rashmi Narayan

Head Office Impact – Sponsored by DesignMyNight 

  1. Olajide Alabi, Equality, Inclusion and Wellbeing Partner at Turtle Bay Hospitality
  2. Brian Beaton, Employment Programme Manager for The House of St Barnabas
  3. Ollie Stewart, Progression Manager for The House of St Barnabas
  4. Vicky Ilankovan, Manager at Equal Measures UK

Bar or Pub of the Year – Sponsored by Campari UK/WSET School London 

  1. The Village People – London 
  2. Trailer Happiness – London 
  3. The White Horse Buckover – Wotton-under-Edge 
  4. Diogenes the Dog – London 

Brand of the Year – Sponsored by Coca-Cola Europacific Partners 

  1. Crazy Gin Ltd
  2. Jamaican Rum Vibes
  3. Tarsier Spirits
  4. Cue Point Ltd

Rising Star – Sponsored by Umbrella Training 

  1. Chef and Food Writer, Rahel Stephanie
  2. Senior Coffee Trainer at Well Grounded Jobs CIC, Aashifa Hussain
  3. Co-founder of Kromanti Rum, Danielle David
  4. Commis Chef at The House of St Barnabas, Blossom Green

Peoples’ Choice Person of the Year – Sponsored by Deliveroo

  1. Director of Human Resources at The Biltmore Mayfair, Sting Khumalo
  2. Author and Bartender of Lyaness Bar, Emanuele Mensah

The Peoples’ Choice Restaurant of the Year – Sponsored by OpenTable

  1. Gouqi
  2. Akoko

Tickets are available to purchase here.


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