Lombardi's scoops top award at Chesterfield Food and Drink Awards - full list of winners
One of the town's oldest Italian restaurants has scooped the top honour in the 2019 Chesterfield Food and Drink Awards.
Lombardi's was named Restaurant of the Year at the glittering event, which took place at the Winding Wheel on Wednesday night.
Established in 2002 and based on Sheffield Road, Lombardi's succeeded in scooping the converted title after being shortlisted for the top award in 2017.
Since then the family-owned Italian restaurant has continued to impress diners with its 'authentic rustic Italian dishes bursting with flavour, cooked with passion'.
Accepting the award on the night, Christina and Daniel Power, owners of Lombardi's, said: "It feels incredible to win this award after being in this business for 18 years.
"It's amazing to be acknowledged for what we do - bringing the real taste of Italy to Chesterfield since 2002.
"We are regarded as an institution in the town, but we're not standing still.
"We have just expanded the business to create more seating and will create an outdoor seating area next year to meet demand from our customers."
In addition to Lombardi's, 14 bars, restaurants, food producers, cafés and individuals scooped an accolade across 15 categories at the ceremony, which was organised by Destination Chesterfield in association with the Chesterfield College Group.
The event was hosted by celebrity chef Brian Turner, who said: "Congratulations to everyone involved in the Chesterfield Food and Drink Awards.
"Whether a winner or runner-up, everyone should be proud of themselves."
Other headline winners on the night included Casa Hotel, which scooped two awards - International Restaurant of the Year and Conference Venue of the Year.
Town centre-based Sorbo Lounge was also named as Chesterfield's Best Newcomer.
Young and upcoming talent in the sector was also put under the spotlight at the awards with Chesterfield College student Jake Parkin being named as the Young Chef of the Year.
Mr Turner added: "The hospitality industry is demanding but hugely enjoyable and for all young people on the brink of a career within it, work experience is critical.
"It is great to see Chesterfield College and its students involved with the awards.
"Involvement in the Young Chef competition and the practical involvement of the hospitality students serving the canapés on the night deliver invaluable work experience to young people, which will benefit them in their future careers in the industry."
David Malone, chief operations officer from Chesterfield College Group, said: "It was fantastic to be part of the Chesterfield Food and Drink Awards again this year.
"I would like to congratulate all the winners and nominees.
"It is inspiring to see so many people from the local industry gather to celebrate the success of established businesses and those who are just starting out.
"It's wonderful to see the next generation of catering and hospitality experts being recognised too.
"I hope we will see the finalists and winners of the Apprentice and Young Chef of the Year play a part in this thriving sector in the future."
Peter Swallow, chair of Destination Chesterfield, added: "Once again the Chesterfield Food and Drink Awards ceremony has been a huge success with more people nominating and more businesses and individuals being shortlisted than previous years.
"The year-on-year growth of the awards is a direct reflection of how the town's food and drink sector is continuing to grow.
"There is a great sense of community in the sector with businesses and individuals committed to its success, and this was reflected at the awards ceremony.
"It was a wonderful celebration.
"Congratulations to everyone."
Full list of winners at the 2019 Chesterfield Food and Drink Awards
Restaurant of the Year - Lombardi's
Cafe/Tea Room of the Year - The Lilypad Café and Restaurant
Ryan Purrington, head chef and manager at the Lilypad Café and Restaurant, said: "It feels incredible to win. We have worked hard all year for this. We are innovative and make a point of doing our own thing to stand out from the crowd. At the minute we are undergoing a huge refurb and re-opening on November 3 with some exciting things to come."
Gastro Pub of the Year - The Rectory
Rebecca Walker, general Manager of the Rectory, said: "This is the third time we've been nominated for the award but the first year we have won, and it feels absolutely amazing. Over the last year we have really pushed the boundaries with our menu and worked hard to find out what Chesterfield wants and it's paid off."
Pub/Bar of the Year - Pump + Grind
Oliver Perez, operations director of Pump + Grind, said: "It feels fantastic to win the award. We've put a lot of hard work in over the last two years and it's great to be recognised for this. People like Pump + Grind because we try to do things differently. We take our inspiration from the big towns and cities and bring it to Chesterfield. It's a great town to go out in and has a brilliant food and drink scene, which we love being part of and are looking to do more as we develop our food menu further."
Chesterfield's Best Newcomer - Sorbo Lounge
Caleb Wilkes, assistant manager at Sorbo Lounge, said: "A massive thank you to everyone in Chesterfield who helped us win this award. We've worked hard to make Sorbo Lounge a place where everyone feels welcome and this award tells us that we have achieved that. And we want to do even more. Next year we have lots of things planned to fundraise for the charity we're supporting - the Tom Henson Charity and Defib Map. It's going to be very exciting for all the team and our customers."
Excellence in Customer Service - Bottle and Thyme
Hannah and Gavin Grainger, owners of Bottle and Thyme, said: "It feels brilliant to win an award for customer service as we work so hard with the team to get it right. We have lovely customers so it's a real pleasure; delivering great service feels really instinctive as it's a pleasure to have a chat and catch up with them. Moving forward, as a business we're going to continue to push to be more environmentally friendly. That has been a big focus for us in 2019 and will be in 2020."
Best Out of Town - Southgate Brasserie at Van Dyk by Wildes, Clowne
Nick Wilson, executive chef at Southgate Brasserie, said: "It's amazing to win and the culmination of a year's hard work - it's the cherry on the cake. People like us because we're accessible and cater for all tastes from a simple roast dinner through to Rosette-winning cuisine."
Chesterfield Food Producer of the Year - Derbyshire Distillery
David Hemstock, co-founder and head distiller of Derbyshire Distillery, said: "This award means everything to us. It's far beyond what we thought we could achieve when we established the business only 14 months ago. We've now got purpose-built premises at Markham Vale, which has given the business space to grow and develop even further. Despite the growth in production, our focus will remain on quality; from the ingredients in our products to the fact that the entire gin making process is all done under one roof and by us - that's what really sets us apart."
Young Chef of the Year - Jake Parkin
Jake Parkin said: "When I heard my name called out, I was absolutely thrilled. I was confident I'd done well in the cooking element of the competition, but to actually win the award means the world to me. The Young Chef of the Year award is the start of my career to eventually become a head chef. The whole experience has been exciting but nerve-wracking."
International Restaurant of the Year - Cocina at Casa Hotel
Luke Gregory, resident manager at Casa Hotel, said: "It feels absolutely amazing to win the award. We're overjoyed. We pride ourselves on our service and locally-sourced food to deliver an excellent experience for customers and this comes through in our customer feedback - they tell us they love Cocina's relaxed atmosphere and quality food."
Family Friendly Award - Chesters
Chris Ioannides, owner of Chesters said: "To win this award for the fourth time in a row feels brilliant. The whole team is so proud as we all work hard to ensure we have the best environment for families who dine with us as we know that keeping the kids entertained is the key to the whole family enjoying their meal. We're hoping to give even more families a taste of Chesters soon as we're expanding the business into Markham Vale next year with the opening of a new restaurant and drive through. Exciting times are ahead."
Apprentice of the Year - Donna McMahon, Van Dyk by Wildes
Donna McMahon said: "I am astonished to have won Apprentice of the Year as I am an older apprentice and people just assume that apprenticeships are for younger people. I decided to do a business administration apprenticeship because my employer wanted to invest in me and it was an opportunity to develop myself. Everything I have learned in the apprenticeship so far is really helping me in my job role. I would definitely recommend an apprenticeship to anyone, regardless of their age, who wants to develop themselves and build their knowledge."
Apprentice Employer of the Year - Ringwood Hall Hotel and Spa
Michael Nash, operations director at Ringwood Hall Hotel and Spa, said: "The apprentices work really hard in the business and this award also recognises their contribution. Apprenticeships bring immeasurable value to the business and are a double-edged sword for both us and the apprentices. Everyone benefits."
Conference Venue of the Year - Casa Hotel
Maroslava Hanatova, conference manager at Casa Hotel, said: "We're delighted to win the award. It is well deserved by all the team - from sales to operations. We offer the whole package - from food, passionate staff and accommodation - and I believe it is this which really sets us apart from other venues in the area."
Chesterfield Food Hero - Chris Mapp, head chef at the Tickled Trout
Chris Mapp, head chef and owner of the Tickled Trout, said: "I am over the moon, surprised and humbled to receive this recognition. I am passionate about the industry and Chesterfield because it's home, also because we have such fantastic produce on the doorstep in the Peak District and South Yorkshire. Youngsters beginning their career need to understand how food works - taste over presentation using locally-sourced food is an excellent starting point. It's an amazing industry to work in."