Chef of the Year

Kenny Atkinson

Chef of the Year

It has been an eventful 12 months or so for Newcastle-based chef Kenny Atkinson. In February last year the House of Tides chef-patron was named head of judges for the prestigious National Chef of the Year (NCOTY) cooking competition, taking over the mantle from Paul Ainsworth. For this year’s competition, Atkinson is asking chefs to consider food waste and the creative use of ingredients in what is hoped will be the best final to date.

Beyond this, Atkinson has led by example with the opening of his second Newcastle restaurant Soltice. With space for just 14 diners, Solstice is even more ambitious than his Michelin-starred flagship House of Tides and sees the chef push his skills further as a chef to enable him to cook even more ambitious and intricate food. As such, Solstice offers a 15 to 18-course tasting menu of focused, modern cuisine.

His new restaurant has impressed from the off. In one of her last reviews for The Sunday Times, restaurant critic Marina O’Loughlin described Solstice as ‘a northern delight with star quality’ and she wasn’t the only one to think so.

At the start of this year the restaurant was awarded a Michelin star by the red book having only been open for six months. One can’t help feel there’s more to come from Atkinson and his quiet ambitions to win two stars at Solstice. Given his pedigree, you wouldn’t bet against him.