Roberta Hall-McCarron wins AYALA SquareMeal Female Chef of the Year Award 2023

Hall-McCarron is trailblazing for a new wave of Scottish talent, and her two Edinburgh restaurants are right up there with the best in the UK.

Updated on • Written By Pete Dreyer

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Roberta Hall-McCarron wins AYALA SquareMeal Female Chef of the Year Award 2023

SquareMeal and Champagne AYALA are proud to announce that the winner of this year’s Female Chef of the Year award is Roberta Hall-McCarron.

For another year, SquareMeal joined forces with Champagne AYALA to celebrate exciting and inspiring female talent in the hospitality industry. This year’s ceremony was hosted by Angela Hartnett - a previous winner of the award in 2018 - at Cafe Murano in Covent Garden.


Hall-McCarron scooped the award out of a shortlist of over 30 chefs that included the likes of Pip Lacey (Hicce) and Sabrina Gidda. Roberta’s skill as a chef is unquestionable - after a career honed in the kitchens of The Kitchin and Castle Terrace in Edinburgh, Roberta has grown into one of the UK’s most promising restaurateurs. Her two Edinburgh restaurants - The Little Chartroom in Bonnington and Eleanore on the Leith Walk - have captured the imagination as two of the most exciting restaurants in the country, managing to deliver consistently exceptional, innovative food, whilst also making guests feel like VIPs.

‘We want to serve incredible food with really great service, but we want the restaurant to be informal and fun, like someone is coming round to your house for dinner,’ she explained in our interview this year.

The SquareMeal and AYALA Female Chef of the Year award was launched in 2018 to recognise the contributions made by women in the hospitality industry. That was in response to a 2017 Office for National Statistics stat that only 17% of chef positions in the UK were filled by women. The Female Chef of the Year award aims to celebrate women in the industry who are inspiring a new generation of chefs as positive role models.

2023 winner Roberta follows in the footsteps of past winners such as Lisa Goodwin-Allen of Northcote and The Game Bird at The Stafford Hotel, Sally Abe of The Pem, Skye Gyngell of Spring, and Angela Hartnett of Murano.

Commenting on Hall-McCarron's win, SquareMeal Head of Content Caroline Hendry said: ‘When we think about female chefs that are trailblazing a path for others to follow, Roberta is clearly leading from the front in that regard. What she's achieved so far at The Little Chartroom and Eleanore is nothing short of astounding, and if young chefs are looking for hard-working, dedicated, talented role models in the industry, they won't find many more inspirational than Roberta.’

Hadrien Mouflard, General Manager of Champagne AYALA adds: ‘At Champagne AYALA, we are committed to excellence in everything we do, and as such, we are proud to be once again supporting the SquareMeal AYALA Female Chef of the Year Award, shining a light on the great work that these chefs are undertaking both in their restaurant kitchens and within the wider community. It is with great pleasure that we present this award to Roberta Hall-McCarron, who is undoubtedly a rising star in the restaurant industry with a long, influential career ahead of her.’

Cover image: Some of the chefs at the 2023 awards. From left: Abby Lee, Angela Hartnett, Pam Brunton, Vanessa Fernandes, Julie Lin, Adriana Cavita, Roberta Hall-McCarron, Kim Woodward, Chantelle Nicholson, Helen Graham, Harriet Mansell, Nicola Robinson, Sam Clark

Read more about our AYALA Female Chef of the Year awards, including interviews with the likes of Pip LaceySabrina Gidda, and Lisa Goodwin-Allen.

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