The AA has announced its latest rosette award winners, with the Dining Room at Whatley Manor in Malmesbury, Wiltshire; Roganic in London; and Old Downton Lodge in Ludlow, Shropshire, being awarded four rosettes.
Niall Keating (pictured), executive chef of Whatley Manor, said: "I've always had goals as a chef and this is one of those that really feels like we're starting to make a small dent in this industry. We [his kitchen team] have only been here for two years, so to get four rosettes so quickly in a hotel that was already very well established is a dream come true for us."
The five-red-AA-star, 23-bedroom hotel is currently closed and undergoing a full refurbishment, including a new kitchen being designed by Keating, who won his first Michelin star in October 2017, less than a year after joining the hotel. He also won the Michelin Young Chef Award 2018, beating four other chefs from across Europe.
"The owners understand the kind of journey we're going on and are helping us by investing in us and seeing how far we can actually take this for the hotel," he added. "We can't wait to get customers through the door to see our new dining experience."
He thanked general manager Sue Williams, owners Alix Landolt and her son Christian, as well as his sous chef Craig Lunn for their support.
Karl Martin, head chef at Old Downton Lodge, said: "We haven't got a lot of money, we've got a really small team, three of us in total, we're in a tiny kitchen, to see the lads' reaction was priceless. I couldn't have done it without them.
"It means that the hard work for such a small business is getting noticed, the improvements we've made, everything we do is based around the customer… it shows we're doing something right and we're really happy about that."
Chef and restaurateur Simon Rogan, owner of Roganic, added: "Hearing that Roganic has achieved its fourth AA rosette is a really proud moment for us all, and the perfect way to round off our first 12 months since opening…
"It's been a real joy bringing Roganic back to Marylebone as a permanent site, and every step of the way head chef Oliver Marlow and the whole team has put everything into making Roganic the success it is."
A further 16 restaurants have been awarded three AA rosettes, including Gordon Ramsay's Pétrus in London; Rothay Manor in Ambleside, Cumbria; and Allium at Askham Hall, near Penrith, Cumbria.
Simon Numphud, managing director at AA Hotel & Hospitality Services, said: "We are delighted to recognise these hotels and restaurants for achieving such high standards of culinary excellence. Congratulations to all those working at these establishments, who continue to show the breadth and quality of the British culinary landscape."
The list of new three AA rosettes included:
Alchemilla, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire
Allium at Askham Hall, Cumbria
The Cross at Kenilworth, Warwickshire
Fordwich Arms, Canterbury, Kent
John's House, Mountsorrel, Leicestershire
Launceston Place, London
Lords of the Manor, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire
The Methuen Arms, Corsham, Wiltshire
Rothay Manor, Ambleside, Cumbria
The Salutation, Sandwich, Kent
Stocks hotel, Sark
The Wilderness, Birmingham
The AA has been awarding rosettes to restaurants since 1956, with the top award of five rosettes being introduced in 1991. The rosettes are awarded biannually in January and September, with success being determined by one or more visits by an AA inspector to a hotel or restaurant.