Cumbria Life Food & Drink Awards 2011 Winners
FINE DINING RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR
Holbeck Ghyll Country House Hotel
What the judges said: 'The epitome of the country house fine dining experience and quintessentially Cumbrian. Food and service were near to faultless.'
Runners up: The Rampsbeck; Swinside Lodge
RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR
What the judges said: 'There could only be one winner in Cumbria because of its phenomenal standing in the UK and chef Simon Rogan's 'simply mind blowing' food.'
Runners up: The Jumble Room, Grasmere; Holbeck Ghyll
DINING PUB OF THE YEAR
What the judges said: ‘A really intelligent approach to British food with a passion for local produce, a good choice of food, beer and wine, a warm welcome and really pleasing service’
Runners up: The Punch Bowl Inn; The George and Dragon
NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR
General Burgoyne, Great Urswick
What the judges said: They were ‘absolutely blown away’ with their visit to ‘an outstanding example of what an owner-led dining pub is all about, with a great welcome and great food’.
Runners up: The Plough Inn; Hooked Seafood Restaurant
CHEF OF THE YEAR
Justin Woods, Castle Green Hotel
What the judges said: ‘To attain 2 AA rosettes while managing a big Castle Green Hotel team, a huge budget, four outlets, plus breakfast and room service is an incredible achievement.’
Runners up: Marc Sanders; Paul McKinnon
BEST TEA SHOP
Watermill Tea Room
What the judges said: 'It was simply a delightful experience in an absolutely charming setting.' They said it was like going into a farmhouse kitchen and having a high quality tea.
Runners up: Cafe vB at The Village Bakery; Gillam's of Ulverston
BEST SPECIALIST FOOD RETAILER
Cranstons Cumbrian Food Hall
What the judges said: 'Very well laid out with a really good range of local products - but didn't feel like a supermarket. A pleasurable retail experience with great service and knowledgeable staff.'
Runners up: J&J Graham, Penrith; The Moody Baker, Alston
BEST FARM SHOP
Low Sizergh Barn
What the judges said: 'The quintessential farm shop experience which has grown and got better and better over the years.' They were even moved to ask: could this be Britain's best farm shop?
Runners up: Cowran Estate; Kitridding Farm Shop
BEST SUPPLIER/PRODUCER (LARGE)
Bells of Lazonby
What the judges said: 'A large enterprise providing vital local employment, the judges ‘loved the way Bells had expanded into new areas with large contracts while retaining its niche brands.’
Runners up: Hawkshead Relish; Lakes Speciality Foods
BEST SUPPLIER/PRODUCER (SMALL)
What the judges said: They were ‘blown away by the quality of the products. It is a great advert for Cumbria’.
Runners up: Mr Vikkis, Penrith; Country Puddings, Penrith
CUMBRIA LIFE'S SPECIAL AWARD, FOR LIFETIME CONTRIBUTION TO CUMBRIAN FOOD & DRINK
The testimonial: ‘Years before local food became a fashionable cause, Peter was banging the drum for Cumbria’s produce. He has become renowned for the wild boar, rare breed pigs and other animals which he raises at his farm at Endmoor, near Kendal. He has always been ahead of the curve: promoting local food, backing the Slow Food movement and championing the campaign for protection for Traditional Cumberland Sausage. He also promotes Cumbria from his stall at London’s famous Borough Market. His friend Jamie Oliver sends students from his Fifteen restaurant to Sillfield Farm to learn from Peter and in turn, Peter keeps Jamie supplied with pork.’
The testimonial: ‘Over the last four decades, Colin has been a linchpin in the success story of the renowned Sharrow Bay at Ullswater. A local lad, he started his working life as a teenager on the bottom rung in the kitchen but he worked his way up to become head chef. He has now spent 41 years at Sharrow Bay, consistently producing some of the country’s best food. In 1997, he and his then fellow head chef, Juan Martin, were awarded a Michelin star for their cooking and incredibly the hotel has retained that accolade in every subsequent year. Colleagues describe Colin as a truly great cook, who focuses on the food.’
JUDGES' SPECIAL AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT
The testimonial: The chairman of the judges, Steven Doherty, said that when he first came to Cumbria 20 years ago he wasn’t sure if he had made the right decision. He asked his employer at the time, the famous chef Albert Roux, for his advice. In colourful ‘kitchen’ language, Albert told Steven to ‘get yourself up there’ and he’d never look back. Steven says that Albert turned out to be right. He said he was delighted and honoured to present the Judges’ Special Award for Outstanding Achievement to Simon Rogan of L’Enclume. ‘Again the winner stands testament as to what is happening within the vibrant, dynamic and exciting food and hospitality scene right here in Cumbria,’ he said. ‘So here we have an individual who was even bolder and braver than myself, and truly stuck his neck out by moving to Cumbria but with what results? Second in The Good Food Guide behind The Fat Duck, 9 out of 10 they state, five AA rosettes, one Michelin star, one truly amazing restaurant and chef Simon Rogan.’
Best Cumberland Sausage
Plumgarths Farm Shop, Kendal
‘The appearance of raw sausage was excellent, and the taste, texture and aroma of the cooked sausage made it a worthy winner.’
Coniston Brewery, Blacksmith’s Ale
‘Its hop character was particularly impressive in melding beautifully with the background biscuit malt. The flavours weren’t static, but seemed to evolve.’
CATEGORY WINNERS: Pale Golden Ales: Loweswater Gold, Cumbrian Legendary Ales, Hawkshead; Standard Bitter: Thirst Ascent, Keswick Brewery; Lager and Continental Styles: Bavarian Hefe-Weiss, Mitchell Krause, Workington; Premium Bitter: Blacksmith’s Ale, Coniston Brewery; Milds, Stouts and Porters: Yewbarrow from Great Gable, Egremont; IPA: Infinity IPA, from Coniston Brewery (and overall runner up); Speciality Beers: No. 9 Barley Wine, Coniston Brewery
The Moody Baker, Alston
Judges described their chosen loaf as an all-round winner: ‘The overall appearance of the bread was excellent with good taste and texture.’
Elliott’s Piccalilli, Milnthorpe
Judges agreed there was a clear winner: ‘A piccalilli with ingredients of outstanding quality and texture and a perfect balance of spices.’
Judges were so impressed with the standard of the puddings they decided there should be FOUR joint winners:
Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding, Cartmel Village Shop; Luxury Christmas Pudding, Coniston Country Kitchen Larder; Hunter’s Chocolate Fudge, Hunter’s Puddings, Kendal; Syrup Sponge Pudding, Country Puddings, Dacre near Penrith.