Sat Bains, one of the UK’s most innovative chefs, has been at the forefront of the British food scene for 20 years.
In 1999, he won the prestigious Roux Scholarship and, in 2002, launched Restaurant Sat Bains with Rooms, a stylish conversion of Victorian farm buildings on the outskirts of Nottingham, with his wife Amanda. The following year, Restaurant Sat Bains became the first restaurant in Nottingham to be awarded a Michelin star.
Since then, Sat has gone on to receive the AA’s ultimate award of five rosettes, two Michelin stars and 9 out of 10 in the Good Food Guide. He has also been the recipient of two Catey Awards – Menu of the Year (in 2003) and the coveted Chef Award (in 2015).
In 2017, Bains was the only British chef to be named in the 100 Best Chefs of the World, a list produced by French magazine Le Chef and compiled from the votes of two- and three-Michelin-starred chefs from around the world. In 2018, Bains was inducted into the exclusive Les Grandes Tables du Monde, the only new addition to that year’s guide from the UK, and in December 2018, Restaurant Sat Bains was named the fourth best-rated restaurant in the world, and the UK’s number one, by online reviews website TripAdvisor.
He has been awarded four honorary degrees – two from the University of Nottingham, one from University of Derby Buxton and one from Nottingham Trent University - and remains committed to training young chefs and improving the working environments for them.
The author of Too Many Chiefs, Only One Indian, which won nine international awards including the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2015’s Best-designed cookbook in the world over the last 20 years, he is also a familiar face on TV following his success in the BBC’s Great British Menu.
Sat, whose family are Sikhs from Punjab, was born in Normanton, Derby, where he completed his City and Guilds qualification. He got his first break after moving to Nottingham as head chef of Jesse’s restaurant.
He worked as a chef de partie with the team that opened Raymond Blanc’s first Le Petit Blanc brasserie, in Oxford, in 1996, and he then spent three months at London’s Michelin-starred L’Escargot restaurant before returning to Nottingham in 1997 as head chef of the Martins Arms in Colston Bassett.
It was while he was in his next role – as head and only chef of the 20-seat restaurant in Derby’s Ashbourne Gallery – that he entered the Roux Scholarship competition, winning through its early rounds and eventually carrying off the 1999 title at his very first attempt.
Bains’ success in the scholarship won him the chance to work at the then three-Michelin-starred Restaurant Le Jardin des Sens in Montpelier France, and also resulted in the invitation to become head chef at Nottingham’s Hotel des Clos (the forerunner to his current enterprise).
In November 2002, the hotel restaurant was renamed Restaurant Sat Bains, and it scooped a Michelin star the following year. However, after the hotel was put on the market, Sat and Amanda bought a 15-year lease on the restaurant in 2004, after carrying out a £250,000 refurbishment.
In the spring of 2005, Sat and Amanda had the opportunity to buy a 15-year-lease on the hotel as well and the property became known as Restaurant Sat Bains with Rooms.