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Behind the scenes at the Trencherman’s Awards 2024

Everything you need to know about the South West's most prestigious dining awards, including who took home the coveted plates and what was on the multi-course menu
Trencherman's Awards 2024
Winner of Best Chef Ben Palmer of The Sardine Factory, and James Hearn of Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Discover the winners of the Trencherman’s Awards 2024 and get all the behind-the-scenes gossip and photo gallery from the ceremony and glitzy country house party which took place at Bovey Castle on Dartmoor

On April 29, the crème de la crème of the hospitality industry gathered at historic Bovey Castle for the South West’s most prestigious dining awards at a glamorous vintage-themed awards ceremony.

Tens of thousands of individual reader votes were cast in the Trencherman’s Awards 2024, with the region’s foodies choosing to crown Ben Palmer of The Sardine Factory in Looe, legendary hoteliers the Polizzi family, Holm restaurant in South Petherton and Scarlet Hotel in Cornwall (full list of winners below).

Trencherman’s Guide editor Abi Manning and Salt Media’s editorial director Jo Rees hosted the ceremony which is considered the region’s hottest ticket in the culinary calendar, comprising a multi-course feast cooked by previous award winners with the nine prizes given throughout the evening. The event was attended by leading South West chefs, restaurateurs, hoteliers, and food and drinks businesses. This year’s event had a dress code of ‘vintage glamour’ – inspired by the grand setting of Bovey Castle – and the fabulous outfits with sequins, feathers and velvet ensured guests felt transported to a golden era for the evening.

Trencherman’s Guide editor Abi Manning said: ‘It’s always a delight to gather the very best of the South West’s hospitality scene in one room. Their hard work, dedication and passion is the reason the South West enjoys such a stellar reputation for dining, and the awards showcase that.

‘Trencherman’s restaurants represent the best of the best in the region, so competition is tough and being a finalist in itself is a huge achievement. Yet one of the joys of the awards is that there is such a sense of camaraderie and community – everyone is there to celebrate each other, and the South West hospitality industry as a whole.’

Trencherman's Awards 2024 chefs
Andrew Swann of The Castle at Taunton, Scott Paton of Àclèaf, Rick Toogood of Prawn on the Lawn and Mark Budd of Bovey Castle

In traditional Trencherman’s style, three of last year’s award winners plus the host chef crafted the ceremony’s four-course feast: Andrew Swann of The Castle at Taunton (starter), Rick Toogood of Prawn on the Lawn in Padstow (fish), host chef Mark Budd of Bovey Castle (main) and Scott Paton of Acleaf near Plymouth (dessert).

The quality cooking was paired with fine wines from Hallgarten and Novum, and Cornish beers from Sharp’s Brewery. Canapés were served with Classic Cuvée Multi Vintage from Nyetimber, Trevethan Original Dry Gin and Navas Garden Tonic, as well as non-alcoholic alternative Drinks Kitchen Orange Cinchona and tonic.

Winners and finalists

Best Trencherman’s Chef – sponsored by Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Winner: Ben Palmer, The Sardine Factory

Finalists: Dave Jenkins, Salumi Bar & Eatery; Harriet Mansell, Lilac Restaurant & Wine Bar; Nicholas Balfe, Holm; Rick Toogood, Prawn on the Lawn

Best Trencherman’s Restaurant – sponsored by Dole

Winner: Holm, South Petherton

FinalistsEdie’s, Carlyon Bay; Kota Restaurant, Porthleven; The Clockspire Restaurant and Bar, Sherborne; The Sardine Factory, West Looe

Award for Special Contribution – sponsored by Trevethan Distillery

Winner: The Polizzi Family

Best Trencherman’s Hotel – sponsored by Classic Fine Foods

Winner: Scarlet Hotel, Mawgan Porth

FinalistsThe Godolphin Hotel & Restaurant, Marazion; The Manor House, Castle Combe; The Seaside Boarding House, Burton Bradstock; The Slaughters Manor House, Lower Slaughter

Best Trencherman’s Pub – sponsored by Sharp’s Brewery

Winner: The Dartmoor Inn, Lydford

FinalistsThe Langford Inn, Langford; The Old Coastguard, Mousehole; The Sheppey Inn, Wells; Three Horseshoes Pub & Kitchen, Burton Bradstock

Award for Creativity and Innovation – sponsored by St. Ewe

Winner: Lilac Restaurant & Wine Bar, Lyme Regis

FinalistsCirca, Sandridge Barton; Holm, South Petherton; Queen of Cups, Glastonbury; The Queen’s Arms, Corton Denham

Best Front of House Team – sponsored by Navas

Winner: Tom’s Lyme Regis, Lyme Regis

Finalists: Fletcher’s Restaurant, Plymouth; The Bath Arms at Longleat, Horningsham; The Bell Inn, Selsley; The Bunch of Grapes, Bradford-on-Avon

Best Trencherman’s Newcomer – sponsored by Harvey & Brockless

Winner: Queen of Cups, Glastonbury

FinalistsBar & Bistro at Tintagel Brewery, Tintagel; Bedruthan Hotel & Spa, Mawgan Porth; Catch at the Old Fish Market, Weymouth; Source Kitchen, St Ives

Best Bar List – sponsored by South West 660

Winner: The Old Coastguard, Mousehole

FinalistsBeckford Bottle Shop, Bath; Fistral Beach Hotel and Spa, Newquay; The Club House, West Bexington; Winslade Manor Bar & Restaurant, Exeter

Photography by Guy Harrop.

The Trencherman’s Awards 2024 were supported by Classic Fine FoodsChurchill ChinaDoleHallgarten & Novum WinesHarvey & BrocklessNavasSharp’s BrewerySt. EweSW660Trevethan Distillery and Salt Media.

Get the Trencherman’s Guide and discover the best feasting across the South West – from Cornwall to the Cotswolds. It’s your passport to a world of exquisite dining.

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