Twice Michelin starred chef Atul Kochhar invests in the next generation of restaurateurs

Aspiring young females win start-up investment

A life-long advocate of nurturing the next generation, last night twice Michelin starred chef Atul Kochhar awarded two amateur female restaurateurs an investment to start their very own restaurant.

Appearing on BBC Two’s brand-new series Million Pound Menu, hosted by Fred Sirieix, Ruth Hansom and Emily Lambert launched their dining concept Epoch and were pitted gainst other restaurants to win the ultimate prize.

The aspiring restaurateurs have already become trailblazers in the hospitality industry; Hansom was named 2017 Young National Chef of the Year, the first female to ever win the accolade, while Lambert was The Ritz’s first ever female sommelier. This latest endeavour will further elevate their status in the industry and brings them one step closer to their ultimate goal, becoming London’s youngest female restaurateurs.

On the announcement, Atul Kochhar commented, “I was blown away by Ruth and Emily’s creativity, flavour combinations and passion. Throughout the whole competition they stood out for all the right reasons, from their entirely British dining concept to their business acumen. These ladies are truly talented and I’m looking forward to mentoring them as they progress in the hospitality industry.”

Ruth Hanson and Emily Lambert commented “A highlight of our careers to date, we’re delighted that Atul has chosen to work with us. It’s an incredibly exciting opportunity to drive forward our ideas and develop our culinary concepts in collaboration with Atul.”

Hanson and Lambert will be collaborating with chef Atul Kochhar at his Amersham restaurant Hawkyns on Wednesday 6th and Thursday 7th June. To book a table call 01494 728126 or visit

About Epoch

Epoch is an entirely British dining experience curated by the award-winning duo. Their concept; use the finest growers, producers and craftsman to bring guests the Best of British. Hansom uses seasonally inspired ingredients to develop exciting new dishes, while Lambert uses her expert pallet to pair each creation with the ideal English wine, ensuring every course has its own story.

About Lambert and Hanson

At just 21 (Lambert) and 22 (Hansom) both women are have risen through the ranks, displaying star quality. Lambert moved from Surrey to London aged 17 to join The Ritz Academy Programme. During this time, she completed her Wines and Spirits Education Trust Level 2 and 3 and following the completion of her academy training at age of 20, progressed to become the first female Sommelier at The Ritz Restaurant.

Yorkshire-born Hansom left home at 16 to embark on her culinary dream, bravely moving to London to take up a place at Westminster Kingsway College. After working at Boundary Restaurant for a year she moved to The Ritz London where she completed her Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Apprenticeship with a Distinction and remained there for over four years, progressing from commis to Chef de Partie. Hansom has also won a plethora of awards including the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Michael Bourdin Scholarship in 2016, the Craft Guild Diploma Award in 2017 and the 2017 Young National Chef of the Year.

About Atul Kochhar

Born in Jamshedpur, North East India, Atul Kochhar started his career in Delhi. Since 1994, he has been at the forefront of Indian fine-dining cuisine, achieving a Michelin Star in 2001. Atul Kochhar’s contemporary style and love of traditional cooking techniques led him to open his own restaurant ‘Benares,’ London in 2003 which won him a Michelin Star in 2007. Since then he has opened numerous successful, award-winning restaurants – Sindhu at The Compleat Angler in Marlow and on-board P&O cruises; Hawkyns at The Crown Inn, Amersham and Indian Essence in Petts Wood. Atul’s portfolio across the world includes the second Benares in Madrid, Rang Mahal at the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai.