Chef Thomasina Miers recognised in New Year’s Honours 2019
Chef-restaurateur Thomasina Miers headed the contingent of hospitality industry personalities to be featured in the New Year’s Honour List 2019.
Thomasina Miers, the co-founder of the Wahaca chain of Mexican restaurants, was honoured with the Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for her work in the food industry.
Miers first came to prominence in 2005 as winner of BBC Two’s MasterChef competition, having earlier eschewed a career in VAT consultancy, digital strategy and marketing to study at the Ballymaloe Cookery School in Ireland and then spend time in Mexico to learn the indigenous cuisine.
After her MasterChef win, Miers spent six months at Petersham Nurseries Café, working for head chef Skye Gyngell, before forming a business partnership with Mark Selby to launch their first Wahaca restaurant in London’s Covent Garden in 2007.
The Mexican street food concept, which is proud of its strong environmental ethos, now numbers 25 outlets. The company has emerged stronger and more focused than ever following an outbreak of norovirus in 2016 during which 200 staff and 160 diners fell ill. The cause is believed to have stemmed from a supplier and, as a result, the business completely re-engineered its supply chain.
Wahaca has amassed numerous accolades, including the Sustainable Restaurant Association’s Sustainable Restaurant Group of the Year three times and the Restaurateur of the Year – Group Catey in 2016.
In addition to running Wahaca, Miers has contributed food and recipe article for The Times, The Guardian and Country Life, including a long-running weekly column in The GuardianWeekend Magazine, and written seven cookery books. She has also presented television programmes for Channel 4 and Channel 5 and helped the ARK Franklin Primary Academy in Kensal Rise, London, to establish an open air classroom in its grounds.
Miers said: “I was both amazed and thrilled when I heard about the award – it really is the hugest honour. I couldn’t do any of it without the support of my team at Wahaca and a collection of amazing people that help and inspire me every day. I feel exceptionally lucky to be working with so many hard-working people in an industry where there is so much creativity and talent. I hope this will encourage more bright young sparks to get into this hugely rewarding sector.”