The Old Post Restaurant on Holywell Street, has been crowned Chesterfield’s best restaurant of 2014 at the town’s Food and Drink Awards, which returned for the second year running.
The restaurant prides itself on showcasing some of the best food in the region, prompting one judge to say: “The quality of food, both in presentation and inventiveness, was impressive – a wide range to select from and the cooking was of a high standard.”
Chef and Proprietor Martin Clayton said: “It was a huge surprise to win. It’s a brilliant accolade for the restaurant.”
Twelve other food and drink establishments and producers were also named as Chesterfield’s finest at the sell-out awards ceremony hosted by celebrity chef and TV presenter Ainsley Harriott.
As well as new names and faces, on the night three Chesterfield establishments retained their 2013 titles for a second year running, including Calabria, Stephenson’s Coffee and Tea House and Tramway Tavern.
The 2014 awards were hailed as being bigger and better than ever before, with more than 1,000 nominations from the public and the introduction of two new categories - International Restaurant of the Year and Family Friendly Award, and a sell-out awards ceremony.
Awards host Ainsley Harriott said: “Last year there was an electric atmosphere in the room and it felt like Chesterfield was on the cusp of something special. And it was! This year’s awards are testament to that – more guests, awards, nominations and winners. What a night.”
Organised by Destination Chesterfield in association with Chesterfield College, the glittering awards ceremony was also hosted at the College’s Heart Space Building. The awards are considered such a valuable learning experience for the students that the College has committed to sponsoring them until 2015.
As well as being held at the college, the awards ceremony was also catered by 30 of the ollege’s best students studying NVQ and BTECs in atering and hospitality and also trained up three of the finalists in the Young Chef of the Year category, including the winner Natasha Hart.
Natasha Hart, from Chesterfield, works part time at catering services agency, Compass Group Ltd alongside her studies at Chesterfield College.
She said: “I’ve really enjoyed developing more this year at Level 3. The dishes we are learning and getting to create are much more complex and challenging. Being named the winner is a big boost to my confidence, and makes me definitely want to stay within the industry.”
Ainsley added: “Chesterfield’s food a drink sector has a wealth of home grown talent and it is fantastic to see so many of them being recognised at the awards – from the winners to the college students who have catered the event so professionally. It really excites me to see the town getting behind its young people and giving them the opportunity to showcase themselves and build their career in this dynamic industry.”
Destination Chesterfield Manager Dominic Stevens said: “The 2014 Chesterfield Food and Drink Awards were a resounding success. These events aren’t possible without the support of our sponsors, in particular Chesterfield College. Its two year sponsorship agreement of the Food and Drink Awards has not only ensured that the event will continue into the future but also that it will continue as a real learning experience for students at the college who are the future of our thriving local food and drink industry.”
Keep checking back for a picture slideshow from the event.
The winners of the 2014 Chesterfield Food and Drink Awards are:
Café or Tea Room of the Year
Stephenson’s Coffee and Tea House
“It’s great to carry on the legacy of last year’s win and we will continue to develop the business.” (Claire, owner)
Best out of Town - sponsored by Northern Tea Merchants
Family Friendly Award - sponsored by Jumble Design
The Manor at Brampton
“We have lovely customers with a fantastic play area that really keeps their kids happy.” (Lisa Smith)
International Restaurant of the Year - sponsored by BRM Solicitors
“We offer so much choice at the restaurant, more than 60 dishes, so there is something for everyone. We try to concentrate on Bangladesh dishes which are served in authentic style.” (Azmalur Rahman, owner)
Gastro Pub of the Year
Coco Bar Bistro
Young Chef of the Year
“I’ve really enjoyed developing more this year at Level 3. The dishes we are learning and getting to create are much more complex and challenging. Being named the winner is a big boost to my confidence, and makes me definitely want to stay within the industry.” (Natasha Hart)
Pub of the Year - Sponsored by Redbrik Estate Agents
“We wouldn’t be anywhere without our staff. We’ve worked together for four years and have a really strong bond.” (Emma Clarke, Landlady)
Best Newcomer - sponsored by Barber Harrison and Platt
The Galleon Steakhouse
“We think it’s really important to source our products locally. Good ingredients are key and it helps with our appeal to both young and old customers.” (Nikki Parker, owner)
Best Customer Service Award - sponsored by Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire
Calabria Chamber of Commerce
“The team very much enjoy working together. As a team we’re passionate about providing a great customer experience.” (Jess Palmer-Coole, Manager)
Food Producer of the Year – sponsored by Natwest
Liza Bakes Ltd
“We have an amazingly dedicated team of bakers. I started in my kitchen 10 years ago and can’t believe where I am now. I am so proud of the team. I couldn’t do it without them.” (Louise Milroy)
Chef of the Year - sponsored by Banner Jones
Adam Warwick, Blu Bistro and Coffee House
“I didn’t expect to win. It’s unbelievable. The competition was very strong this year so to be the top chef in Chesterfield feels very, very good.” (Adam Warwick)
Chesterfield Food Hero -
Trevor Jackson, Jacksons the Bakers
“The smell of our bread is the best; it draws people into the shop. It’s great having a presence in Chesterfield but we also recognised that we needed to work with supermarkets. It works for the business.’ (Trevor Jackson)
Restaurant of the Year – sponsored by Chesterfield Borough Council
The Old Post Restaurant
“It was a huge surprise to win. It’s a brilliant accolade for the restaurant.” (Martin Clayton, Chef and Proprietor)
For details of how to get involved with the 2015 Chesterfield Food and Drink Awards contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.chesterfielduk.co.uk