Chef Simon Shaw and kitchen team

Smiles all round as the team tonight celebrates a win at this year’s prestigious Manchester Food and Drink Festival Awards, held in the spectacular settings of The Palace Hotel‘s Ballroom.

After enjoying a great Gala Dinner the gathered crowd of hospitality professionals – including our El Gato Negro contingent – settled down to enjoy this year’s awards ceremony, hosted by BBC Radio Manchester’s Becky Want and XS Manchester’s Matt White. The atmosphere was electric and the anticipation grew steadily as the winners of seventeen awards were announced. Our team was over the moon to be included amongst Manchester’s finest, collecting the Newcomer of the Year from the incomparable John Thomson.

Chef patron and founder of El Gato Negro Tapas, Simon Shaw says:

“This whirlwind year certainly shows no sign of slowing down and to receive the Newcomer of the Year award was really just the cherry on top. It’s a fantastic achievement having only been open a short space of time.

“It’s incredible for me and for everyone who has worked so hard. We’ve opened with a bang for sure, but there is still a lot of hard work to do. As a restaurateur, you have to gain trust. If a customer trusts you in your knowledge, production, presentation and the ambience you set – that’s why they come back. We are seeing regular customers in a period of nine months, which is amazing.”

Coming just a week after we were awarded a Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand, and in the same year we debuted in Restaurant Magazine’s National Restaurant Awards Top 100, 2016 has exceeded all our expectations.

This award has a particularly personal resonance, knowing it’s voted for by members of the public as well our colleagues in the hospitality industry across Greater Manchester. We continue to be overwhelmed by the level of support, goodwill and enthusiasm we’ve received since we opened in our new home city, and we hope we’ll be able to reward such friendliness and loyalty as we continue to develop and refine our offering over the next few months.

More than ever, we’re indebted to our incredibly talented, hardworking and brilliant colleagues – who truly make El Gato Negro Manchester what it is – and our customers, without whom we would not exist. Thank you all.

Chef Simon Shaw and El Gato Negro staff