The Executive Chef of the Year is Surendra Yejju of Wagamama.
This accolade recognises that whether it is restaurants, pubs, care homes, contract caterers or any other professional foodservice business, the group executive chef has one of the most important roles to play when it comes to what happens on a kitchen level.
From creative menu development and food sourcing to kitchen specification and roll-outs, this accolade honours those individuals that are excelling in their posts.
Surendra Yejju’s enormous talent for food development and understanding the trends shaping Asian cuisine has made him a huge asset for Wagamama during a time of rapid expansion.
Over the past year he has spearheaded the launch of two national menus and six menus at its Noodle Lab test site, as well as pioneering its smart rota project for back-of-house staff and training Wagamama’s senior chef team on menu roll-outs.
With delivery taking on added significance for the business, Surendra has played a major role in setting up Wagamama’s first Deliveroo Editions site, with more to follow.
And on the equipment side he has driven improvements in oil savings, energy consumption and finished product following trials of high-spec frying equipment.
Surendra Yejju (pictured receiving his award from the 2019 Executive Chef of the Year Glenn Evans), said: “The credit for this award goes to my boss, and I also accept the award on behalf of each and every chef that works for Wagamama.”
All five finalists in the Executive Chef of the Year category are masters of their craft who deservedly made it onto the final shortlist for their dedication, expertise and ability to deliver results. The fact that each one polled a huge amount of votes is testimony to how highly they are regarded by the industry.
- Antony Bennett, Loungers
- Arnaud Kaziewicz, Eat
- Paul Jarvest, Revere Pub Company
- Ross Pike, Oakman Inns & Restaurants
- Surendra Yejju, Wagamama