Michelin-starred chef Glynn Purnell swapped his chef whites and toque for a gown and mortar board when he was conferred with an honorary fellowship by University College Birmingham.
Purnell was honoured for his long-standing commitment to the University's professional chef courses and culinary arts programmes.
Purnell said it was an emotional experience to accept the honorary fellowship watched by his parents and two of his sous chefs at UCB's annual awards congregation at Symphony Hall.
"I had a massive lump in my throat. It was a really humbling experience which I will always look back on and it has motivated me to do more with young people in the industry," he said.
"I have a fantastic relationship with the University. It is always open to new ideas and that is what makes UCB the best place in the country for young chefs.
"It is a financially strong university and constantly invests in its facilities and students."
The honour is conferred on individuals who have "rendered important services to University College Birmingham over a sustained period and have been members of, or closely associated with, the University".
Prof Ray Linforth, UCB's vice-chancellor and principal, praised Purnell's contribution to Birmingham's culinary scene and said the chef was a great ambassador for the city.
Professor Linforth said: "When he appears on TV, he is always talking about the culinary scene in Birmingham and promoting the quality and diversity of our restaurants. Having been helped, supported and tutored by some great chefs himself, Glynn also devotes a lot of time to nurturing young chefs."
Purnell becomes the third Birmingham chef conferred with an honorary fellowship by UCB, following David Colcombe, chef director of Opus restaurant, and Luke Tipping, executive chef at Simpsons.