Devon’s food and drink scene has never been more vibrant and at Monday night’s annual Food & Drink Devon Awards the pinnacle of the county’s food and drink producers, hospitality and catering businesses and speciality retailers were celebrated. The ceremony, which took place on Monday 10th October at Deer Park Country House Hotel, was hosted by food and drink broadcaster and BBC Radio 2's Nigel Barden.
This year’s highly prestigious ‘Best Fine Dining Restaurant’ was awarded to Torquay’s Old Vienna, with judges noting them as a shining example for sourcing locally and praising their clear pride in the service they offer.
Celebrating the best of fine dining other ‘Formal Dining’ Awards went to the striking Broomhill Art Hotel near Barnstaple who won the highly sought after ‘Best Restaurant’ Award, the elaborate Glazebrook House Hotel, South Brent triumphed in the ‘Best Hotel Restaurant’ and The Church House Inn, Rattery, was victorious in the ‘Best Pub Restaurant’ category.
In the ‘Casual Dining’ Awards The Lamb Inn, Sandford was the proud winner of the ‘Best Pub’ Award, the ‘Best Bistro’ Award went to The Cove Café Bar, Hope Cove and Me & Mrs Jones in Torquay won the ‘Best Café’ category. Goierri Foods in Chudleigh concluded the winners of the 44 hospitality award entries, taking home the ‘Best Street Food / Takeaway’.
Commenting on the Awards, Nigel Barden, who specialises in promoting British ingredients and artisan producers, says: “I’m a great fan of Devon and therefore being involved with the Food & Drink Devon Awards for a second year is a delight and an honour. The county is chock full of talented, enthusiastic and passionate food and drink producers, gifted chefs and focused retailers. The Awards provide the perfect opportunity to acknowledge those who excel at providing the finest of culinary experiences and those who conjure up the wonderful produce. Devon is blessed with great talent and there is increasingly much to celebrate."
Barbara King, chair of Food & Drink Devon, comments on the Awards: “I’m extremely proud to be involved with Food & Drink Devon and its Awards’ programme. For the Awards to receive over 160 product entries, 14 entries in the ‘Retail’ Awards and 44 entries in the ‘Hospitality’ Awards it really shows the strength and depth of food and drink in our fabulous county.” Barbara continues: “I would like to congratulate all those who won and were shortlisted for awards, it’s a fantastic achievement. It’s through Devon’s outstanding producers and establishments that we’ll continue to put Devon on the map as a serious food destination.”
Food & Drink Devon’s ‘Outstanding Contribution Award’ is chosen by the board of directors and is awarded to someone who has demonstrated excellence in their field. This year, Michael Smith, owner of The Venus Company, won the coveted award for his eight years of voluntary service as chair of Food & Drink Devon.
In the ‘Taste of Devon Producer Awards’ there was fierce competition for the esteemed ‘Best Producer’ Award. The winner of this Award must achieve a ‘Gold’ Award for at least one of their products combined with high marks in the packaging and website judging. Buckfastleigh’s, The Well Hung Meat Company was announced the winner with judges commenting on their professional and practical packaging, easy to use website and a product which was amongst the best they had tasted.
Tom’s Pies fought of stiff competition from previous winner Bell & Loxton and grape-mark spirit, DAPPA to claim the ‘Best Packaging’ Award for their contemporary, fun and informative packaging.
The ‘Best Retailer’ Award went to the magnificent The Shops at Dartington, whilst the ‘Best Online Retailer’ was awarded to Devon Hampers in Lifton.
During the judging of the 43 producers in the ‘Taste of Devon’ Awards there were two products which really stood out amongst the crowd and were recipients of a ‘Platinum’ Award. Both Chunk of Devon for their Pork & Scrumpy Pasty and Eversfield Organic for their Organic Dry Aged Rib Eye Steak received the flawless 100% score and won an outstanding ‘Platinum’ Award.
Kind sponsors of this year’s Awards include M.C Kelly, NatWest, Stephens Scown Solicitors, Peplows, The Venus Company, Luscombe Drinks and exclusive media sponsor Taste Buds.
For more information on Food & Drink Devon please visit www.foodanddrinkdevon.co.uk and follow @lovetheflavour on Twitter. Food & Drink Devon is flying the flag for Devon and its impressive offering of food and drink with their new Flying the Flag campaign, get involved on social media using #flyingtheflag.