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For all the success Adam Handling has had in the UK’s culinary scene, the motivated young chef doesn’t believe in luck. His father was in the army and his mother was a cleaner and referencing this humble upbringing he says, ‘what do you think they handed me apart from a brain to tell me that I need to work for myself?’.
Surprisingly, Adam fell into his triumphant career when at the age of 16, in an effort to put off going to university, he secured an apprenticeship at the Gleneagles hotel in Scotland. It was here he ‘fell in love with the feeling of being in a busy, past-paced kitchen’, and he subsequently became the youngest ever head chef at Fairmont St Andrews, a position that won him Scottish chef of the year in 2011. Upon moving to London Adam headed up the kitchen at St Ermin’s hotel in St James’ Park and his career began to flourish. In 2013 he appeared on Masterchef: The Professionals where he reached the final three, and in the same year he was the youngest ever person to be one of Caterer’s ‘30 under 30 to watch’ in the 2013 Acorn awards.
Critical to Adam’s ethos is sustainability, sourcing almost all restaurant produce from sustainable farms and in particular reducing food waste. He was even chosen to cook for world leaders at the G7 Summit in Cornwall, where the majority of ingredients were produced within 100 miles of the event.
In 2017 the Frog flagship restaurant opened in Covent Garden, along with Eve Bar located underneath, with the tagline ‘sustainable British luxury’. The Frog experience is theatrical, enticing and all the dishes have an emotional connection to Adam, having been inspired by memorable moments from his childhood, travelling and the like. True to values, Frog also boasts a totally zero-waste kitchen as kitchen offcuts are given a creative second life as elements such as cocktail garnishes for Eve Bar. It is therefore no surprise that Frog was awarded a Michelin star in the 2023 guide. The Adam Handling Restaurant Group empire also includes the upscale country-pub The Loch & The Tyne in Old Windsor, and the Ugly Butterfly restaurant located along the stunning St Ives coast.
In April 2023 Adam succeeded in his long awaited second chance at taking the Great British Menu champion title, securing the crown with an extraordinary trifle-inspired dessert. With six thriving venues already under his belt, Adam is open to the idea of a further potential Scottish venture as a nod to his heritage, likely to be in Edinburgh.