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2017 Derbyshire Life Food and Drinks Awards, Cathedral Quarter Hotel, Derby

PUBLISHED: 11:00 02 January 2018 | UPDATED: 11:46 02 January 2018

Cathedral Quarter Hotels head chef Joe Wood

Cathedral Quarter Hotels head chef Joe Wood


Winners, guests and sponsors joined Derbyshire Life in celebrating its annual Food and Drink Awards at the Cathedral Quarter Hotel, Derby

The county's culinary elite descended on the Cathedral Quarter Hotel in Derby for a glittering drinks reception and presentation ceremony to celebrate the 2017 Derbyshire Life Food and Drink Awards. Chefs, restaurateurs and food producers were amongst those honoured at the prestigious event which championed the great and good from the area's food and drink industry.

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 Denise Tollyfield, a professional home economist, food stylist and cookery demonstrator, 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 the Cathedral Quarter Hotel to a Champagne reception in the grand foyer before sitting down to spectacular canapés in the beautifully-dressed Opulence Restaurant. Head chef Joe Wood had prepared an exciting menu of delights including goat’s cheese mousse wrapped in pineapple jelly, squid ink rice crackers with taramasalata and fennel, hickory pork bonbons, Lincolnshire Poacher gougères with caramelised onion purée, and tapioca beer crisps with hummus, green olive and lemon.

Awards were made in 12 categories to the delighted recipients. Prior to the ceremony, Derbyshire Life Editor Joy Hales welcomed guests, commenting: ‘Derbyshire Life was the first county magazine in the country and we take enormous pride in celebrating our excellent eating establishments, outstanding hotels, perfect inns and the men and women who produce and cook such brilliant food.’

The first award – for local Producer of the Year – went to Wye Bakehouse at Bakewell, who impressed the judges with their ‘mouth-watering, traditionally-made bread’. ‘The Wye Bakehouse has been baking artisan breads since April 2017 and is the result of our love of baking and eating great bread,’ said owner Jon Rolfe. ‘We are delighted to have won Local Producer of the Year – it was a totally unexpected accolade.’

Winners and judges gather on the grand staircaseWinners and judges gather on the grand staircase

Tim Sidaway of Newcomer of the Year winner Terroir Bistro in Derby welcomed their win with delight: ‘Our first year has been an amazing journey. My concept for bringing lovingly-prepared rustic food into the city has been a great success. Our passion is using local seasonal ingredients and produce and supporting other local businesses. Winning Newcomer of the Year is an amazing achievement and I’m very proud. It’s very much a team effort so I’d like to thank everyone who works for me and our wonderful customers who keep coming back to enjoy our food.’

A similar commitment to providing fantastic food was echoed by Robin Hunter of the Saracen’s Head at Shirley, which was crowned Dining Pub of the Year. ‘We are absolutely thrilled to have won this prestigious Derbyshire Life award,’ said Robin. ‘We have been working hard at the Saracen’s Head for the last 11 years and to be crowned the best dining pub in Derbyshire is such a huge reward. To know we have been nominated by Derbyshire Life readers, in a very tough category, makes it even more special. We really are very happy and proud to have won.’

The Restaurant of the Year category, sponsored by Owen Taylor and Sons, was hotly-contested and Jon Hardy of winner The Lighthouse at Boylestone commented: ‘I’m incredibly proud to have won the Restaurant of the Year award and also very proud of my team who work incredibly hard to make it all happen.’

It was a particularly special night for Rupert Rowley, the head chef behind Derbyshire’s only Michelin-starred restaurant, Fischer’s at Baslow Hall. Awarded Chef of the Year, sponsored by Zest, the judges praised his commitment to ‘inspirational food that is truly seasonal, interesting and delicious.’ Rupert said: ‘I’m honoured to have received the award. Derbyshire has a wealth of fantastic restaurants, local suppliers and products and I’m proud to be part of the industry.’

Congratulations to all our worthy winners!

Food or Drink Product of the Year, Chatsworth Gold Golden Beer Peak AlesFood or Drink Product of the Year, Chatsworth Gold Golden Beer Peak Ales

Food or Drink Product of the Year

Winner: Chatsworth Gold Golden Beer, Peak Ales

‘Made with honey from the Chatsworth Estate, this delicious golden beer offers the perfect balance of bitter and sweet. From humble beginnings, Peak Ales has used drive and determination to make its product one of the most sought-after in the area and the team should be very proud of their achievements.’

Highly Commended: Homemade Pork Sausages, Croots Farm Shop, Duffield; Grumpy Farmer Goats’ Cheese, Shottle Farm


Local Producer of the Year, Wye Bakehouse, BakewellLocal Producer of the Year, Wye Bakehouse, Bakewell

Local Producer of the Year

Winner: Wye Bakehouse, Bakewell

‘With a focus on premium quality and traditional baking techniques, combined with creativity and experimentation, this fantastic artisan bakehouse produces mouth-watering breads and pastries – with an ever-evolving choice of delicious homemade items.’

Highly Commended: Ginger Butchers, New Close Farm, Bakewell; Derby Brewing Company


Pub of the Year, The Saracen’s Head, ShirleyPub of the Year, The Saracen’s Head, Shirley

Pub of the Year

Winner: The Saracen’s Head, Shirley

‘The perfect pub should combine a warm welcome with cosy surroundings, delicious home-cooked food and an excellent selection of local ales – and The Saracen’s Head offers a winning mix of all four. From generously portioned pub food to restaurant-style classics, food is cooked with passion and flair using the finest, freshest ingredients’.

Highly Commended: The Cock Inn, Mugginton; The George, Alstonefield


Newcomer of the Year, Terroir Bistro, DerbyNewcomer of the Year, Terroir Bistro, Derby

Newcomer of the Year

Winner: Terroir Bistro, Derby

‘This intimate newly-opened restaurant serves simple, lovingly-prepared rustic food grown and raised by the team or their local suppliers. Every city should have something like this – and now Derby has.’

Highly Commended: The Loft Restaurant, Belper; The Potting Shed Café, Markeaton


International Cuisine of the Year, The Balti Matlock BathInternational Cuisine of the Year, The Balti Matlock Bath

International Cuisine of the Year

Winner: The Balti, Matlock Bath

‘From the excellent welcome on arrival, to the authentic ambience and the wholesome food, we were thoroughly impressed by this smart venue. Meals arrived in a timely fashion and offered superb value for money, especially considering the very high quality of the dishes’.

Highly Commended: Ayubowan, Glossop; Anoki, Derby


Tearoom/café of the Year, The Apple Tree, OckbrookTearoom/café of the Year, The Apple Tree, Ockbrook

Tearoom/Café of the Year

Winner: The Apple Tree, Ockbrook

‘This bustling, friendly tea room caters to all requirements - whether you’re seeking a simple cup of tea or coffee - with many types to choose from - or a delicious lunch or afternoon tea, with or without Prosecco! Everything is homemade and there is a delightful gift shop to browse as well, selling gifts, cards and locally-sourced foodie items. It is simply a little gem’.

Highly Commended: Herbert’s Tearooms, Tissington; Panaderia by Dowds, Glossop; Cool River Café, Matlock


Chef of the Year winner Rupert Rowley of Fischer’s Baslow Hall, left, accepts his award from XXXXChef of the Year winner Rupert Rowley of Fischer’s Baslow Hall, left, accepts his award from XXXX

Chef of the Year sponsored by Zest

Winner: Rupert Rowley, Fischer’s Baslow Hall

‘Widely regarded for his exceptional use of home grown, foraged vegetables and locally-sourced cheeses and meat, Rupert has never rested on his laurels and, nearly 15 years after his arrival at Fischer’s, continues to produce inspirational food that is truly seasonal, interesting and delicious.’

Highly Commended: Nick Gillespie, La Rock; Lee Emerson, Harpur’s of Melbourne


Independent Retailer of the Year, Bloomers Craft Bakery, BakewellIndependent Retailer of the Year, Bloomers Craft Bakery, Bakewell

Independent Retailer of the Year

Winner: Bloomers Craft Bakery, Bakewell

‘This lovely little market town shop is packed with homemade produce. Amongst its many charms, it has a lovely atmosphere and knowledgeable staff who are always pleased to help’.

Highly Commended: Geoff Mycock & Son, Buxton; The Cheddar Gorge, Ashbourne


Customer Service of the Year, Chatsworth Estate Farm ShopCustomer Service of the Year, Chatsworth Estate Farm Shop

Customer Service of the Year

Winner: Chatsworth Estate Farm Shop

‘Nothing is too much trouble” has to be the mantra of every single member of staff at Chatsworth Farm Shop. The atmosphere is relaxed and helpful, without being intrusive and staff are extremely knowledgeable about their individual areas.’

Highly Commended: The Loft Restaurant, Belper; R J Matkin, Swanwick


Family Dining of the Year, Roosters Bar and Restaurant, Morley HayesFamily Dining of the Year, Roosters Bar and Restaurant, Morley Hayes

Family Dining of the Year

Winner: Roosters Bar & Restaurant, Morley Hayes

‘The judges said ‘we were looking for a venue that appealed to all ages and tastes and in Roosters Bar and Restaurant found an attractive, spacious venue that offered charm in abundance and an extensive, reasonably priced menu. The expertly-cooked food is tasty and well-presented, and we were particularly impressed by the separate children’s menu and the gluten-free menu’.

Highly Commended: Bluebells Tea Rooms, Spondon; Mainsail Restaurant, Carsington Water


Restaurant of the Year, The Lighthouse Restaurant, BoylestoneRestaurant of the Year, The Lighthouse Restaurant, Boylestone

Restaurant of the Year sponsored by Owen Taylor & Sons

Winner: The Lighthouse, Boylestone

‘Now in its seventh year, The Lighthouse has made a great impact on the local dining scene. The talented kitchen team’s skills are brilliantly displayed in a modern British menu that champions local, seasonal ingredients. They use innovative, modern – and often highly technical - cooking techniques to create new and exciting flavour combinations. Service is knowledgeable and attentive and presentation is faultless’.

Highly Commended: Dovecote Restaurant, Morley Hayes; Stones Restaurant, Matlock


A delighted Andre Birkett was named Food Hero of the YearA delighted Andre Birkett was named Food Hero of the Year

Food Hero of the Year

Winner: André Birkett

'During 35 dedicated years of service, Andre has made a tremendous contribution to the area’s food and drink industry – championing local producers, showcasing the finest products, giving new businesses the boost they need, putting Derbyshire-made products on the map, and continually striving to bring producers and consumers together'.



A selection of mouth watering treats were prepared for the special eventA selection of mouth watering treats were prepared for the special event

Archant, our parent company, is launching a new initiative to support the very best of food and drink through all 22 of our magazines, the group’s newspapers, social media and websites across the country. The campaign called EAT will connect our many thousands of readers with all that is great in hospitality through the finest content, events and advertising. EAT will be a brand trusted by readers to discover the best places to eat, drink and stay and where to find the best in regional produce to cook well at home.

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