Devon’s culinary talent honoured at the twelfth Food Drink Devon Awards on October 2
Over 400 individuals from the county’s finest food and drink producers, hospitality and catering businesses, and speciality retailers celebrated the annual awards in style at Sandy Park – home to the Exeter Chiefs rugby team.
The coveted title of Chef of the Year went to Mike Palmer, executive chef of Two Bridges Hotel on Dartmoor. Judges described him as ‘a truly exceptional talent’ creating ‘attractive and cleverly presented food, cooked to perfection and above all tasting absolutely delicious’.
The highly prestigious Best Fine Dining Restaurant award was presented for the second year running to Restaurant Twenty Seven by Jamie Rogers in Kingsbridge. The Best Hotel Restaurant award went to Honiton’s exceptional THE PIG-at Combe, hailed ‘a brilliant example of hospitality and dining at its very best’.
The Best Restaurant award went to Harry’s Restaurant in Exeter, praised as ‘a great example of how independent restaurants can lead the way’. The Dartmoor Inn at Lydford won the Best Pub category with its ‘beautiful presentation and exceptional service’.
Outside in Bantham’s ‘delicious food and incredible location’ bagged it the Best Cafe award, barbecue cookery school High Grange Devon near Axminster was named Best Training School, and The Tors at Okehampton won Best Takeaway.
On the sustainability front, THE PIG-at Combe was named Hospitality Sustainability Pioneer in recognition of its environmentally friendly initiatives, while B Corp certified Two Drifters Distillery claimed the Producer Sustainability Pioneer title thanks to its carbon-negative rum. The inaugural Sustainability Pioneer Recognition Award was given to The Venus Company for its dedication to green practice over two decades.
Competition was fierce in the Taste of Devon Product Awards, which saw a staggering 300 entries, all blind-tasted by independent judges.
Springwater Farm’s Free Range Mangalitza Pork Mince was named Food Product of the Year, with Andrew King Chocolates’ Signature Nine Nut Selection taking the New Food Product of the Year award. Luscombe fought off stiff competition to claim Drink Product of the Year for its Passionate Ginger Beer, while Rull Orchard’s Perryote was hailed New Drink Product of the Year.
In the Retail Awards, Ben’s Farm Shop in Staverton triumphed in the Best Retailer category, impressing judges with an ‘extensive range of produce’, while Best Online Retailer went to Torquay’s Devon Farm Kitchen.
The evening’s canapés and three-course dinner were created by Sandy Park head chef Craig Beecham, Winslade Manor chef director Matt Mason and Jamie Rogers of Restaurant Twenty Seven. The menu featured fabulous local produce from members and sponsors including Bar Buoy, Calancombe Estate, Crab Shed Salcombe, Dartmouth Foods, Bays Brewery, Ebb Tides, Sandford Orchards, Devon Eel Co, Huxbear Vineyard, Luscombe, No. 1 Coffee, Quicke’s Cheese, Salcombe Dairy Chocolate, Sandridge Barton Wines, Sharpham Cheese, Veyseys Butchers and Westcountry Fruit Sales.
Food Drink Devon’s green heart logo is carried by over 350 producers and businesses across Devon. The organisation’s chairman, Greg Parsons, said: ‘Devon has a fantastic food and drink scene, one of the best to be found anywhere in this country. Once again, we have enjoyed a record number of entries for the Food Drink Devon Awards. Our aim is not to measure one against the other, but to identify products and destinations that we are proud to present as Devon’s finest.‘
A full list of all the winners can be found at fooddrinkdevon.co.uk/awards