The winners of the Food Reader Awards 2015 were announced last night (January 26) in a fabulous foodie awards ceremony at Yeo Valley HQ in Blagdon, Somerset
Photography by Guy Harrop.
Foodies from across the South West gathered to find out who had picked up accolades at a funky awards ceremony held at Fodder @ YVHQ restaurant at the headquarters of lead sponsor Yeo Valley.
Among the winners were Michelin-starred chef Hywel Jones of Lucknam Park Hotel and Spa, who faced tough competition in the Best Chef category from Paul Ainsworth of Michelin-starred Paul Ainsworth at No 6 in Padstow, and Liam Finnegan of The Castle at Taunton in Somerset.
Best Restaurant was awarded to Combe House near Honiton in Devon: a hotly contested category which included Paul Ainsworth, The Arundell Arms in Lifton and The Ethicurean in Bristol.
Vanesther Rees, winner of the Best Blogger category, said: ‘I’m seriously chuffed to win this award, with the calibre of people here tonight, I feel unworthy! Thank you to everyone who voted for me.’
Best Farm Shop winner James Dart of Darts Farm, commented: ‘A big thank you to the public who voted for us, the team who work so hard and the producers who supply us with fantastic seasonal and local produce.’
‘We were up against such strong competition, we feel honoured to win,’ said Simon Buckingham of Best Cafe winner Boston Tea Party, which has cafes across the South West.
The guests were treated to a fantastic seasonal menu prepared by Yeo Valley’s chefs, matched with beers from Sharp’s Brewery and ciders from Thatchers. There were refreshing beverages from Luscombe Drinks on offer and champagne drinks were provided by Bibendum.
Food Magazine and Food Insider’s Guide readers voted in their thousands to whittle down the region’s best restaurants, hotels, cafes, pubs, products chefs and more. Nine thousand readers cast 40,000 votes for 150 businesses – a phenomenal response to this year’s awards and the best yet.
Food Magazine editor Jo Rees, who hosted the Big Night said: ‘It was a star studded VIP event which celebrated the best in food, drink and hospitality across the South West.
‘We’re thrilled that our readers feel so strongly about these magnificent businesses that they’ve voted for them in their thousands, and a huge congratulations must go out to all of the finalists, regardless of whether they won award on the night – to get to the top three in a category is a serious achievement.
‘As with last year’s event, Yeo Valley did us proud, putting on a terrific evening, and our sponsors brought wonderful products and a lot of fun to the evening.’
To get involved in next year’s awards, please contact Nick Cooper at Salt Media: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Food Reader Awards 2015 winners
Best Chef – sponsored by Sharp’s Brewery
Hywel Jones, Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa, Bath
Paul Ainsworth, Paul Ainsworth @ No 6, Padstow
Liam Finnegan, The Castle at Taunton
Local Food Hero – sponsored by Yeo Valley
Nathan Outlaw, Restaurant Nathan Outlaw
Michael Caines MBE, Gidleigh Park
Mitch Tonks, The Seahorse
Best Restaurant – sponsored by Total Produce
Combe House, Honiton
Paul Ainsworth at No6, Padstow
The Arundell Arms, Lifton
The Ethicurean, Wrington
Best Hotel – sponsored by Jelf Insurance
The Queensberry, Bath
The Two Bridges, Dartmoor
Merchants Manor, Falmouth
Best Cafe – sponsored by Havana Coffee Co
Boston Tea Party, across the South West
Strangers with Coffee, Wells
Strong Adolfo’s, Wadebridge
Best Foodie Pub – sponsored by Thatchers
The Ship Inn, Wadebridge
The Treby Arms, Plympton
The Cornish Arms, Tavistock
Best Drink – sponsored by Impact
Best Foodie Product – sponsored by Michelmores
Best Independent Retailer
Chandos Deli, across the South West
Baker Tom, Pool
The Fine Cheese Co, Bath
Best Blogger – sponsored by Rodda’s
Best Farm Shop – sponsored by Salt Media
Darts Farm, Topsham
Padstow Farm Shop, Cornwall
Bartlett’s Farm Shop, Honiton
Best Cookery School – sponsored by Helpful Holidays
Rick Stein’s Seafood School, Padstow
Ashburton Cookery School, Ashburton
Demuths Cookery School, Bath
Best Wine List
Gidleigh Park, Chagford
Combe House, Honiton
The Seafood Restaurant, Padstow
The Scarlet, Mawgan Porth
On the menu
Pickled vegetable arancini
Crostini of Holt Farm’s steak tartare
Selection of Castellano’s charcuterie and cornichons
Exmoor Blue cheese biscuits
Crispy deep fried poached quail eggs
Sharp’s Cornish Pilsner | Thatchers Gold
Yeo Valley sourdough with its own salted butter
Hot smoked Blagdon Trout
Community Farm leeks, horseradish cream, Severn Project salad
Sharp’s Chalky’s Bite | Thatchers Katy
Roast Fillet of Holt Farms Beef
Shallot confit, red wine sauce, cavolo nero and salsify
Sharp’s Wolf Rock | Thatchers Vintage
Dark chocolate tart
Yeo Valley Madagascan vanilla ice cream, salted caramel sauce, Rodda’s clotted cream
Sharp’s Dubbel Coffee Stout | Thatchers Rosé
Selection of local artisan cheeses
Sharp’s 6 vintage blend | Thatchers Old Rascal