TV chef Gary Rhodes, from Kent, has been awarded an OBE in the Queen's birthday honours.
Gary Rhodes said his OBE was better than getting a Michelin star
Three others in the south east have also received MBEs, including Edward Earle, for fundraising at the Royal Alexandra and Albert School in Surrey.
Rosemary Johnson, 50, has been awarded for her work for people with learning disabilities in Woking, Surrey.
And David Rains, 54, has been awarded for his services to lone parent charity Gingerbread and the community in Kent.
Mr Rhodes, who also trained as a chef in Kent, was honoured for services to the hospitality industry.
Hurricane and plane
He attended the Howard School in Rainham and trained at Thanet College.
Mr Rhodes said receiving the honour was better than being awarded a Michelin star.
"To be recognised for your work in the industry over 30 years, that's got the edge," he said.
Edward Earle joined the Royal Alexandra and Albert School in 1963 and has raised more than £3m for works and improvements to the building.
Following the hurricane in 1987 he led his maintenance team to cut a way out of the school grounds, and in 1990 he cleared a plane crash under dangerous circumstances.
Ms Johnson has worked for a number of organisations over the past 26 years during which time she has helped people with disabilities.
David Rains has been involved with Gingerbread for more than 18 years.
He helped set up local community support groups in Dover, Deal and Ashford.