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2016 Derbyshire Life Food and Drink Awards, Casa Hotel, Chesterfield

PUBLISHED: 14:22 10 January 2017

The winners

The winners

Ruth Downing (Rural Pictures)

Finalists, guests and sponsors joined Derbyshire Life in celebrating its second Food and Drink Awards at Chesterfield’s Casa hotel

Amidst a celebratory atmosphere the winners of Derbyshire Life’s Food and Drink Awards 2016 were greeted with enthusiastic applause at a glittering lunchtime ceremony. Following the success of last year’s inaugural event, hundreds of nominations were received online when the awards were announced last spring. The independent panel of judges which included Chrissie Booth, chairman of the Derbyshire Federation of Women’s Institutes; Robert Stordy, a former lecturer in culinary arts at the University of Derby; André Birkett, head of Chatsworth Estate Farm Shop; and Jon Hardy, Derbyshire Life Chef of the Year 2015, had spent the summer deliberating over the nominees. Judges who had been nominated in a particular category did not take part in judging that category.

Guests arrived at Casa to an elegant drinks reception, with classical music played by cellist Lucinda Ebbutt and pianist Jamie Wright, before sitting down to an elegant three-course meal in the beautifully-dressed Barcelona Suite. Casa’s head chef Andy Wilson had prepared Thai scented crab cake with sea trout tartare, followed by roast breast of free range chicken with red wine sauce and a delicious lemon posset with ginger crumb to finish. Wine provided by The Austin’s Group included Chenin Blanc (Still Bay, Western Cape, South Africa) and Cabernet Sauvignon (Las Condes, Central Valley, Chile).

Archant Commercial Director Tim Thurston and Editor Joy Hales welcomed guests, commenting: ‘Derbyshire Life magazine – founded in 1931 – was the first county magazine in the country and we take enormous pride in celebrating all that is great about the area in which we live.’

Radio presenter Andy Potter compèred the occasion in his inimitable style as awards were given out in twelve categories to the delighted recipients. All highly commended businesses were presented with certificates to display in their establishments and winners were presented with plaques and a celebratory bottle of Champagne. George Bloor of The Lighthouse at Boylestone, who was crowned Chef of the Year, was also presented with a handmade chef’s knife by Ben Edmonds of Blok Knives.

Lucy Cassar and Jo Cox Lucy Cassar and Jo Cox

The first award – for local Producer of the Year – went to Hartington Creamery, who the judges said had ‘put Derbyshire back on the cheese-making map’. ‘We were chuffed beyond belief to win,’ said director Claire Millner. ‘The wait was nerve-wracking and it was a bit scary being nominated for the first award of the day, but it was so nice for everyone at Hartington Creamery to be recognised for their hard work and commitment to producing some amazing cheeses.’

Rachel Matthews, owner and head brewer at Dancing Duck Brewery – whose ‘22’ ale was crowned Drink Product of the Year – said: ‘We were absolutely delighted to pick up the award and really weren’t expecting it. ‘22’ was the second beer we ever brewed. It’s really popular. We make about 2,000 pints every week and it’s often the first one to sell out at beer festivals, but it never wins any awards which makes this one so special.’

Paul Harris of Derby Brewing Company, owners of Newcomer of the Year winner Kedleston Country House, greeted their win with delight: ‘Everyone has worked so hard to make the Kedleston Country House a success, so I’m especially thrilled for the new front of house management and kitchen team that we won this award. When we secured the site in 2014, we felt delighted and privileged to be able to bring this very special building back to life from near dereliction. We look forward to building on this momentum and can promise an exciting 2017, with many events and mouth-watering new menus.’

The Restaurant of the Year category was hotly-contested and Nick Gillespie, chef patron of winner La Rock at Sandiacre, said: ‘It was a huge surprise to have been nominated for such a prestigious award and to win was completely unexpected, especially as we were pitched against such a high calibre of amazing restaurants. I would like to take this opportunity to say a special thank you to everyone who nominated us, and to all our existing and prospective customers. It means the world to us.’

Guests from The Lighthouse, Boylestone, celebrate George Bloor's 'Chef of the Year' win Guests from The Lighthouse, Boylestone, celebrate George Bloor's 'Chef of the Year' win

The final category was for Food Hero of the Year – in memory of last year’s winner, the late Mr John Jaquest. There were cheers of appreciation as Pauline Jaquest presented the award to a surprised Richard Taylor. As managing director of the long established and well-respected Owen Taylor and Sons business, Richard is renowned for his commitment to supplying quality local products to restaurants and retail customers. He commented: ‘I was truly shocked but thrilled that people have recognised what I do, although without the help of my family, staff, customers and suppliers it wouldn’t be possible.’

The awards have been designed to highlight and offer a showcase for the great and the good from Derbyshire’s food and drink industry, and the day served as a reminder of the passionate people who work tirelessly to ensure its success. Congratulations to all our worthy winners!

AND THE WINNERS ARE...

LOCAL PRODUCER OF THE YEAR SPONSORED BY NFU MUTUAL

Winner: Hartington Creamery

Highly Commended:

Croots Farm Shop, Duffield

Owen Taylor & Sons

FOOD PRODUCT OF THE YEAR SPONSORED BY THE AUSTIN’S GROUP

Winner: Rapeseed Oil, Brock and Morten

Highly Commended:

Hyderabadi Okra and Brinjal Curry, The Hilltop Curry House, Grindleford

Black Cherry and Amaretto Ice Cream, Bluebells, Spondon

NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR SPONSORED BY ZEST PRODUCE

Winner: Kedleston Country House, Kedleston

Highly Commended:

Bennetts, Long Eaton

The Old Smithy, Beeley

DRINK PRODUCT OF THE YEAR SPONSORED BY MSP GLOBAL

Winner: 22, Dancing Duck Brewery, Derby

Highly Commended:

Lindway White Wine, Amber Valley Wines, Wessington

Chatsworth Gold, Peak Ales, Chatsworth

INDEPENDENT FOOD RETAILER OF THE YEAR SPONSORED BY IMP INTERIORS

Winner: Mettrick’s Butchers, Glossop

Highly Commended:

Bloomers of Bakewell

Fresh Basil, Belper

TEA ROOM OF THE YEAR SPONSORED BY BLOK KNIVES

Winner: The Woodlands, Charlesworth

Highly Commended:

Apple Tree Gift Shop and Teahouse, Ockbrook

Victoria Vintage Tearooms, Draycott

DINING PUB OF THE YEAR SPONSORED BY COSMO RESTAURANT

Winner: The White Lion, Great Longstone

Highly Commended:

The Old Hall Inn, Whitehough

The Devonshire Arms, Beeley

FARM SHOP OF THE YEAR SPONSORED BY CASA HOTELS

Winner: Chatsworth Farm Shop, Pilsley

Highly Commended:

Croots Farm Shop, Duffield

Betty’s Farm Shop, Willington

HOTEL RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR SPONSORED BY THE AUSTIN GROUP

Winner: The Boot Inn, Repton

Highly Commended:

Kedleston Country House, Kedleston

Losehill House Hotel, Hope

RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR SPONSORED BY OWEN TAYLOR & SONS

Winner: La Rock, Sandiacre

Highly Commended:

The Lighthouse, Boylestone

The Bay Tree, Melbourne

CHEF OF THE YEAR SPONSORED BY CREATIVE INTERIORS

Winner: George Bloor, The Lighthouse, Boylestone

Highly Commended:

Matthew Gabbitas, Masa, Derby

Chris Mapp, The Tickled Trout, Barlow

FOOD HERO OF THE YEAR IN MEMORY OF JOHN JAQUEST SPONSORED BY GRANITE TRANSFORMATIONS

Winner: Richard Taylor, Owen Taylor & Sons.

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