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Cateys 2019: Restaurateur of the Year – Independent – Paul Ainsworth

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Cateys 2019: Restaurateur of the Year – Independent – Paul Ainsworth

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Paul Ainsworth’s Padstow empire has been carefully nurtured for more than a decade and today offers award-winning hospitality for every pocket.

Ainsworth arrived in Cornwall in 2005 to head up fine dining restaurant No 6. In the years that have followed, he and his wife Emma have created a diverse portfolio of venues that complement and support one another, with the judges praising the couple’s business acumen, hard work and perseverance.

He has added to Michelin-starred flagship No 6 with the more casual Rojano’s in the Square, the six-bedroom Padstow Townhouse, cookery school Mahé and, earlier this year, the Mariners pub in nearby Rock.

Focusing his business on Padstow has allowed to him to stay hands-on at every venue, ensuring he has as much time as possible at the helm of No 6, which has held its Michelin star since appearing in the 2013 guide.

As well as building up a coastal empire, Ainsworth has become a figurehead for both hospitality and Padstow. Whether taking part in guest chef dinners or demonstrations, interviews or TV appearances, he focuses on encouraging visitors to the south-west coast.

He has also done much to ensure that the pool of talent required for future ventures will be available, working with local colleges to create apprenticeships and promoting careers in hospitality.

Ainsworth is also an active supporter of local causes. In Padstow he raises money for many charities, including the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and Air Ambulance, as well as supporting events and sponsoring sports teams. He also completed the London Marathon this year, raising £43,000 for Pancreatic Cancer UK in memory of his father.

On top of this he is a regular supporter of both Hospitality Action and Springboard, the latter of which he is a patron.

The Ainsworths have created a sublime group of venues, building their business in a considered manner that has reaped rewards. They have successfully laid solid foundations for future growth in Padstow by keeping the town itself front and centre of their efforts.

What the judges said
“One to watch. Just a great person. Fab for Cornwall. A great leader.”
Richard Corrigan

“Paul has quietly built the most stylish and impressive family of restaurants, but remains loyal to his corner of the country and continues to be fiercely independent.”
Russell Norman

Shortlist
Paul Ainsworth, Paul Ainsworth at No 6 and Rojano’s in the Square, Padstow, Cornwall

Tom Kerridge, the Hand & Flowers and the Coach, Marlow, Buckinghamshire; Kerridge’s Bar & Grill, London

Tom Kitchin, the Kitchin Group, Edinburgh

The judges
Amanda Afiya, Hospitality consultant

Peter Backman, consultant, Peter Backman

Elizabeth Carter, consultant editor, The Good Food Guide

Richard Corrigan, Owner, Corrigan Collection

Paul Hackett, inspector, the AA

Russell Norman, co-founder, Polpo

Alistair Sandall, head of professional development, IOH

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