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Bath chef wins Olive Magazine Award

Stay in Bath > News > food and drink > Bath chef wins Olive Magazine Award

Richard Buckley of Acorn vegan restaurant in Bath, has won the Veggie Pioneer award in olive magazine’s inaugural Chef Awards, in association with Dark Horse Wine, recognising the unheralded chefs who have been quietly excelling in the background.

Richard is the chef-proprietor of Acorn which has won multiple awards and is listed in the Michelin guide, The Good Food Guide and the Trencherman’s guide. He was raised a vegetarian and, after graduating with a 1:1 degree in English Literature, set about studying vegetable cookery whilst working in a series of top vegetarian restaurants. This culminated in his five-year role as head chef for Demuth’s Restaurant where he developed and refined his plant-centric, cooking style.

Richard has a passion for sharing the knowledge and techniques that he has learnt and developed in order to increase the general standard of plant-based food across the country. He said:  “The problem was, no one made this food from plants and I couldn’t cook meat. Not in any spiritual way, I literally had no idea how to do it. I suppose in hindsight I could have sucked it up and gone to work in a series of great restaurants and learnt a craft I would never use and didn’t want but I didn’t.

“Instead, I started studying, buying every book I could find, visiting every fine restaurant that offered a veggie option and learning, piece by piece error by error, how to make fine food from plants. It wasn’t easy and some poor people got served some very strange food in the variety of cafes and restaurants that were foolish enough to let me cook for the public. I worked and I studied and I cooked late into the night. I wanted to understand risotto so I cooked nothing but risotto for months, learning en route about stocks and texture and knife skills. Somewhere along the way, I found my life’s passion and piece by piece I developed a view of food and a depth of knowledge that began to reflect the vision I had in my mind.

“And this is where I find myself today, desperately trying to get closer to the ingredient, to the land it comes from, experimenting, learning and growing, creating a cuisine from plants that comes close to the dream I had all those years ago.”

The Olive Magazine Chef Award winners, across seven categories, are revealed in the latest edition of Olive, which praises Richard for cooking “good food that just so happens to be vegan, rather than be defined by it. Its vibrant food keeps diners interested to the last bite, with a balanced combination of flavours and textures.”

Nominees for the olive Chef Awards were voted for by the public, with the winners being chosen by panel of experts, including, Olive Magazine editor, Laura Rowe, Bristol-based journalist and restaurant inspector, Mark Taylor, award-winning food author and Guardian food columnist, Felicity Cloake, and social media foodie influencer, Clerkenwell Boy.

Head judge Laura Rowe said: “Richard’s food has continued to improve and improve over the years and it’s little surprise to us at olive that he’s won this award. He impressed our judges with his approach to plant-based cookery, shunning easy wins from carbs or cheese, and instead displaying the true versatility and ingenuity that can be achieved with vegetables alone.”

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