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12th September 2023

The BIH Spotlight Awards Announce Finalists

The BIH Spotlight Awards celebrate diverse talent in the hospitality industry 

Be Inclusive Hospitality, (BIH) a not-for-profit organisation, have announced the finalists for 2nd year of the BIH Spotlight Awards. The awards are designed to shine a light on exceptional businesses and individuals from Black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds in hospitality.

The winners of the BIH Spotlight Awards will be announced at an awards ceremony, taking place on Monday 16th October at M Threadneedle Street, London.

BIH received over 300 public nominations for 15 awards categories including Chef of the Year, Pastry Chef of the Year, Drinks Professional of the Year plus 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 Peoples’ Choice Awards for Person of the Year and Restaurant of the Year.

This year’s judging panel plays host to some of the hospitality industry’s most influential figures including Culinary Director of Rare Restaurants, Mike Reid and Co-founder of Tayer & Elementary, Monica Berg.

They will also be joined by Founder of Juma Kitchen Philip Juma; Writer, Food and Diversity Consultant Mallika Basu; Chief Executive Umbrella Training Adele C.Oxberry; Chef Consultant for Tiger & Rabbit and Bamboo Bowls Jay Morjaria; Chef, Author and Restaurateur Shelina Permalloo; Global Rum Ambassador Ian Burrell; Founder & Director of Mum Craig Prentice; Owner, Presenter of Wood & Water April Jackson; Director of Susa Comms Piers Zangana; Owner of Happy Endings Terri Mercieca; Chef Director Dominic Taylor; Founder of Celestial Peach Jenny Lau; Founder and Executive Director of Peach 20/20 Peter Martin; Found of Home Hospitality & Actually Good Lauren Barnett.

Founder of Be Inclusive Hospitality, Lorraine Copes, said: “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 October.”

The finalists in 15 categories are as follows:

Chef of the Year – Sponsored by

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

Pastry Chef of the Year

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

Drinks Professional of the Year – Sponsored by Moet Hennessy UK

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

Caribbean Food

  • Liam Barker, Chef & Educator – London
  • Ayanna and Ayisha Fisher, Director of Ayannas London
  • Jamaican Restaurants, Rudie’s Jerk Shack – London
  • Adians Tropical Fusion Restaurant – Birmingham

African Food – Sponsored by Pedros

  • The Flygerians – London
  • Tunde Tejumola, Chef at Suyaman – London
  • Louis Ashok, Chef at Technique London Ltd
  • Restaurant brand, Chuku’s – London

South Asian Food

  • Sohini Banerjee, Supperclub Chef for Smoke and Lime – London
  • Restaurant brand Rambutan – London
  • Roti Chai Restaurant – London
  • Manju Patel, Head Chef at Manju’s – Brighton

East & Southeast Asian Food – Sponsored by ESEA Eats

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

Middle Eastern Food – Sponsored by Persian Hospitality Network

  • Ayesha Kalaji, Head Chef at Queen of Cups – Glastonbury
  • Modern Persian Kitchen, Co-Founder of Modern Persian Kitchen – Durham
  • Imad’s Syrian Kitchen, Founder of Imad’s Syrian Kitchen – London

Writer of the Year – Sponsored by Decanter

  • Chetna Makan
  • Jimi Famurewa
  • Gurd Loyal
  • Rashmi Narayan

Head Office Impact – Sponsored by DesignMyNight

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

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

  • The Village People – London
  • Trailer Happiness – London
  • The White Horse Buckover – Wotton-under-Edge
  • Diogenes the Dog – London

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

  • Crazy Gin Ltd
  • Jamaican Rum Vibes
  • Tarsier Spirits
  • Cue Point Ltd

Rising Star – Sponsored by Umbrella Training

  • Chef and Food Writer, Rahel Stephanie
  • Senior Coffee Trainer at Well Grounded Jobs CIC, Aashifa Hussain
  • Co-Founder of Kromanti Rum, Danielle David
  • Commis Chef at The House of St Barnabas, Blossom Green

Peoples’ Choice Person of the Year – Sponsored by Deliveroo

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

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

  • Gouqi
  • Akoko

Tickets for the 2nd BIH Spotlight Awards can be purchased here:


For further media information, please contact:

Lizze Chan-Foxley or Molly Allen, at The Relationship:         07821 459 368        07837 184 237

Notes to editors

BIH is a not-for-profit organisation, founded by Lorraine Copes, with a mission to build a thriving community to accelerate race equity within hospitality, food and drink. The social enterprise was incorporated in 2020, due to the lack of representation of People of Colour in positions of influence, and the supply chain. The social enterprise now holds the prime position of igniting much-needed conversations and delivering initiatives to advance change within the hospitality, food and drink sectors.

Awards categories –

For further media information, please contact:

Lizze Chan-Foxley or Molly Allen, at The Relationship:         07821 459 368        07837 184 237

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