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Why 2016 was an amazing year for Stoke Park's Chris Wheeler

PUBLISHED: 11:53 08 February 2017

Ready to roll a scone up to the green… or perhaps not. Photo: Maureen McLean

Ready to roll a scone up to the green… or perhaps not. Photo: Maureen McLean

Maureen McLean

Trust us, as Stoke Park's executive chef Chris Wheeler tees up a delicious scone from the afternoon tea offering, it wasn't going to end up on the table! But if there was a culinary version of producing consecutive holes in one, then Chris would be the man for the job when we look back on what was a magnificent 2016 for him.

Chris has just been crowned Hotel Chef of the Year at the Hotel Cateys (over 250 covers), the Oscars of the hotel industry, during a ceremony at the Park Plaza Westminster, hosted by Debra Stephenson. Hotel Cateys are now in their tenth year, and each year’s awards have been bigger and better than the last.

This wonderful award crowns a magnificent year for Chris, who in October also won the ‘Chef of the Year’ award at the Berkshire & Buckinghamshire Life Food & Drink Awards and made his debut on BBC 2’s Great British Menu.

Now, a word about that last one. It’s just our opinion, but we wonder how many fellow viewers felt, like us, that in another year with another judge he would havw sailed through to the final both on the dishes produced and sheer personality. Anyway, we hope to see him on our screens in 2017’s Great British Menu line up.

But back to the latest award, and while Chris was obviously delighted, his team and colleagues at the five star hotel, spa and restaurant, are naturally singing his praises.

Giammario Ragnoli, General Manager, says: “For 13 years Chris has been wowing our guests with his exquisite cuisine and fabulous personality. Thanks to Chris, Humphry’s, our fine dining restaurant holds 3 AA Rosettes, and Chris’s ability to create outstanding dishes for large scale functions such as our annual The Boodles tennis, has been greatly admired.”

Away from Stoke Park Chris is exceptionally busy. He works closely with East Berkshire College to encourage students to enter the world of catering, and could also be found cooking up a storm on stage at both the Thame Food Festival and Taste of London. He’s a champion of local food producers and helps to raise huge amounts of money for charity.

Giammario says: “To win the Hotel Catey and Chef of the Year at the Berkshire and Buckinghamshire Life Food and Drink awards, which are judged by industry peers and experts, all of whom recognised Chris’s incredible work at Stoke Park and ambassadorship for the industry, is a huge honour and we are all extremely proud of him.”

Now… about those scones! 


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