The Michelin Special Awards exist to highlight the outstanding work of individuals and teams that have caught the eye of the Michelin inspectors over the past 12 months. At the MICHELIN Guide Ceremony 2023 Awards were presented for: Young Chef, Chef Mentor, Welcome & Service, Sommelier and Exceptional Cocktails. Read on to discover why this year's winners were chosen.
YOUNG CHEF AWARD – Sarah Hayward, The Coach
It has been impossible to ignore the meteoric rise of Sarah Hayward. In just a few years, she has ascended the ranks to become Head Chef at The Coach, which retained its Michelin Star in the 2023 Guide. Sarah began her career on the Isle of Wight and showed her talent whilst working at The Bull & Bear in Manchester, before taking the reins at The Coach. Located just down the road from its older sibling, The Hand and Flowers, The Coach has a similar ethos of offering appealing pub food in a relaxed environment. Sarah’s stewardship of the restaurant is a testament to her skill as a chef. When she came up on stage to receive her award, she put her success down to being “cool, calm and collected”. Tenacious, modest and determined, Sarah has become a wonderful role model for young chefs. Such is her work ethic, that she even found time to train for and run the London Marathon!
WELCOME AND SERVICE AWARD – Declan Maxwell, Spitalfields
“Treat customers like you’re bringing them into your house for a dinner party.” This is the advice that Declan Maxwell gives to new waiters at Spitalfields. It’s no wonder, then, that he was the recipient of our Welcome and Service Award 2023. Set out of Dublin’s bustling city centre, Spitalfields is a pub with a classic black and red exterior and a wonderfully traditional feel inside. The team here have worked hard to seamlessly integrate the original, long-standing pub with their newer Bib Gourmand awarded restaurant so, whether you're dropping by for a pint or here for a 3 course meal, Declan will make you feel equally welcome and relaxed. He leads from the front with warmth and enthusiasm, ensuring that every guest has a joyful experience from beginning to end and, in such a busy setting, he manages this with remarkable ease.
If you're visiting Spitalfields and need somewhere to stay, browse our Michelin-recommended hotels in Dublin.
SOMMELIER AWARD – Tara Ozols, SO|LA
Just as a good glass of wine can enhance your food, a great sommelier can help take a restaurant experience to the next level. This is exactly what Tara Ozols brings to SO|LA, making her the perfect recipient of the Michelin Sommelier Award 2023. “It’s all about the guest’s experience”, Tara said when accepting her award, highlighting her deep consideration for her customers’ requirements. The wine list she has put together at SO|LA is an intriguing all-American selection, of which she has expert knowledge. She fully engages with guests when searching for the perfect pairing from this list – always making them feel comfortable – and the warmth and enthusiasm she brings to her role makes every diner’s visit feel that little bit more special.