Cocina crowned Restaurant of the Year at Chesterfield’s Food and Drink Awards

Chesterfield Food and Drink Awards 2015 with Theo Randall.
Chesterfield Food and Drink Awards 2015 with Theo Randall.

Cocina at Casa Hotel has been crowned Chesterfield’s best restaurant in the town’s prestigious Food and Drink Awards.

Judges described Cocina’s menu as ‘imaginative’ and the quality of food as ‘excellent’ - highlighting the ‘provenance of locally-sourced food.’

Chesterfield Food and Drink Awards 2015 with Theo Randall.

Chesterfield Food and Drink Awards 2015 with Theo Randall.

They also praised the overall ‘quality dining experience.’

The prestigious Restaurant of the Year award is another to add to the trophy cabinet of Chesterfield’s four star hotel, owned by entrepreneur Steve Perez.

Earlier this year it was announced as one of the top five hotels in the UK in the Trip Advisor 2015 Travellers’ Choice Awards.

Mr Perez said: “It’s always wonderful to receive awards, especially when you are in the company of other great shortlisted restaurants. Here at Casa we always try and put our customers first so it feels extra special when they make their voices heard in such a brilliant way. Cocina focuses on both the food product and the customer – using the best quality locally sourced ingredients in the kitchen, and friendly, professional service in the dining room.”

Chef Theo Randall chats to students.

Chef Theo Randall chats to students.

As well as Cocina, 11 other food and drink establishments, producers and individuals were also named as Chesterfield’s finest at the sell-out awards ceremony hosted by celebrity chef Theo Randall.

Said Mr Randall: “Chesterfield’s food and drink scene is thriving; the strong field in the Best Newcomer category is testament to that. I commend all the finalists in this category knowing only too well myself, when I opened my first restaurant, Theo Randall at the InterContinental in 2006, the courage, commitment and belief in yourself it takes to set out and do it on your own.

“Good food is one of life’s simple pleasures. The support shown for the awards in both the nomination phase and the awards shows that good food is a passion of many people in Chesterfield.

“The awards are a great demonstration of how the food and drink scene in Chesterfield has evolved in recent years. It is now catering for many tastes, from authentic Japanese and Jamaican to Italian and Great British. The town has everything and is continuing to develop its thriving and increasingly successful hospitality scene.”

Chesterfield mayor Barry Bingham with his wife June.

Chesterfield mayor Barry Bingham with his wife June.

Organised by Destination Chesterfield, in association with Chesterfield College, the 2015 awards were the biggest yet and tickets sold out weeks in advance.

More nominations than ever were received from the public resulting in 10 businesses being first-time finalists in the awards.

As well as sponsoring the awards, Chesterfield College also hosted them with 50 students, studying NVQ and BTECs in catering and hospitality, catering and silver serving a two-course meal to more than 250 people attending the event. The college also trained the winner of the Young Chef of the Year, James Greatorex.

Stuart Cutforth, college principal, said: “The Food and Drink Awards are the go to event in Chesterfield. There is a wealth of outstanding food and drink establishments in the town and Chesterfield College is delighted to be training the future stars of the industry. Our mission statement is ‘inspiring futures, changing lives’ and the Food and Drink Awards enable us to do just that, giving the many apprentices we train real hands-on experiences at the ceremony each year.”

Destination Chesterfield manager Dominic Stevens hailed this year’s awards as a huge success.

He said: “Each year we have seen an increase in the number of people nominating businesses for the awards and this year was no exception. The support across Chesterfield has been phenomenal, with people keen to see the town, and the businesses and people working within its hospitality sector succeed and grow.”