Awards in dining Oscars

MANCHESTER restaurants swept the board at the weekend’s 22nd Annual Hi-Life Dining Awards with Harvey Nichols’ Alison Seagrave named chef of the year.
A glittering dinner at the Hilton Hotel, attended by 500 of the north’s top restaurateurs, celebrities and Hi-Life members, was hosted by the BBC duo of Gordon Burns and Dianne Oxberry.
These ‘Dining Oscars of The North’ are the largest restaurant awards chosen by members of the public.
More than 20,000 diners from the 80,000-strong club voted in 13 hotly-contested categories.
Heywood-born Seagrave, still in her first year as head chef at Harvey Nichols’ Second Floor restaurant, beat off competition that included The Lowry Hotel’s Eyck Zimmer and Paul Askew of Liverpool’s London Carriageworks.
She was presented with her award by the legendary Raymond Blanc, whose own Le Petit Blanc scooped Best Manchester Restaurant.
In the wake of Paul Heathcote’s Longridge Restaurant surprisingly losing its Michelin star last week and the continued absence of Michelin representation in Manchester, the Frenchman made an impassioned defence of Manchester’s restaurant culture.
Hi-Life obviously rates the city, making Le Mont in Urbis Overall Best Restaurant and Albert’s Shed in Castlefield Hi-Life Best Newcomer, while Est Est Est in Alderley Edge won Best Cheshire Restaurant.
One of the most popular gongs was the Lifetime Achievement Award to MEN columnist Ray King, who for two decades was the paper’s restaurant reviewer. Hi-Life chairman David Heeley paid tribute to his continuing influence.
Among the celebrities attending the event were Coronation Street stars Sean Wilson, Julia Haworth and Kate Kelly, and comedian Dave Spikey. An auction at the dinner raised more than £6,000 for the Action Against Hunger charity.
Thanks to my colleagues on The Diary page for this update.


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