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CROTY 2023 Winners

College Restaurant of the Year 2023 reacts to award win at AA Hospitality Awards

26 Sep 2023
People 1st International

Exeter College’s renowned @34 Restaurant celebrated a momentous victory on Monday, September 25, as it was crowned the College Restaurant of the Year 2023 at the prestigious AA Hospitality Awards. Sponsored by People 1st International, the award recognises the exceptional talent and innovation displayed by the college’s budding chefs and dedicated waiting staff, all of whom are students pursuing culinary careers.

@34 Restaurant, a training ground for future culinary stars, is not only a place of learning but a dining destination that welcomes patrons to savour its culinary delights. The restaurant offers a diverse menu, ensuring there is something to tempt every palate, and is open for both lunch and dinner on selected days.

This year’s AA College Restaurant of the Year competition challenged participating college restaurants to design an event celebrating one of three significant milestones in 2023: the 50th Anniversary of the first Concorde pan Atlantic flight, the 75th Anniversary of the founding of the NHS, or the 100th anniversary of Disney Brothers Studios.

Andy Doyle, Partnerships Manager at People 1st International, praised @34 Restaurant’s approach:

“@34 Restaurant fully hit the brief with a well-planned and researched event proposed for the 75th anniversary of the NHS. They put great thought into all elements of the brief including the marketing plan for the event and how they would utilise other departments of the college provision such as performing arts. They also ensured that the planned meal focussed on local produce and suppliers bringing in a sustainable approach to the whole event. Congratulations to the lecturers and chefs at Exeter College and well done to all the college teams that took part.”

Receiving the College Restaurant of the Year award at the AA Hospitality Awards was a moment of immense pride for the team at Exeter College. The win not only acknowledged the dedication and hard work of the college’s lecturers but also underscored the high levels of professionalism instilled in the institution’s culinary learners.

Matthew Pickett, Hospitality Curriculum Area Manager at Exeter College comments:

“This is such an amazing achievement for all the students and staff across the full range of our programs we offer here at Exeter College. From the Michael Caines Academy, NVQ and VRQ students they all input to what we do every day and strive for the highest standards their lecturers set. We’re particularly proud of the competition team that created such an amazing presentation, it was so well researched, rehearsed and totally inclusive. It was a great example of how amazing young people can do amazing things.

“For our learners it shows them that we do things right here. We strive for perfection and that we back our students to deliver. Whether that’s a simple coffee service, a 7 course tasting menu or a competition such as this. We are all so proud of the @34Restaurant and our commercial spaces, and having this validated with both the highly commended Rosette and now the College Restaurant of the year has been amazing for everyone, students and staff alike.”

For more information about how to become an accredited college or the AA College Restaurant of the Year, contact

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