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Ipswich restaurant wins top award

PUBLISHED: 17:59 15 May 2002 | UPDATED: 11:55 03 March 2010

TOUGH superchef Gordon Ramsey has declared the cuisine of Ipswich a winner!

Months after footballer Martijn Reuser caused a storm by saying there was nowhere good to eat in the town, the top expert has given a Booker Prize for Excellence 2002 to The Galley in St Nicholas Street.

TOUGH superchef Gordon Ramsey has declared the cuisine of Ipswich a winner!

Months after footballer Martijn Reuser caused a storm by saying there was nowhere good to eat in the town, the food expert has given a Booker Prize for Excellence 2002 to The Galley in St Nicholas Street.

The restaurant won the Best Restaurant category, and its chef, Matthew McCarthy, won his way into the final three for Best Young Chef, in the national competition.

The awards came at a star-studded dinner at London's Park Lane Hilton Hotel with cabaret by comedienne, Jo Brand.

Ipswich-born Matthew, 20, trained with Ugur Vata of The Galley, and has worked there full time since last July.

Ugur said: "The judging was very thorough, with the organisers visiting us three times and studying the way the restaurant is run, at different times of the day, and the paperwork, as well as the food."

Matthew then had to cook a meal in two hours, from surprise ingredients for Mr Ramsey and his executive chefs at his restaurant, Petrus.

At first, Mr Ramsey declined to name a winner because he said the standard of all three finalists was so high.

Mr Vata added: "This is great news for Ipswich – a winning restaurant and young chef who is also a winner. I am very proud of Matthew. He has enthusiasm and discipline in the kitchen."

Mr Ramsey may have been a strict judge in line with his fierce reputation, but Mr Vata was also impressed with his down-to-earth approach.

Mr Ramsey made an effort to chat to all the entrants at the prize giving ceremony, and Mr Vata said they found they had lots in common.

Mr Vata won £1,000, and he and a guest will go on a study tour of Rome to experience the Italian approach to retail and catering, mouth-watering food and local wine.


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