Pride of the Peaks

Rachel Morten and Charlotte Higgins of the Royal Oak, Hurdlow.
Rachel Morten and Charlotte Higgins of the Royal Oak, Hurdlow.

A PEAK District pub is celebrating being crowned Derbyshire’s traditional pub of the year - for the second time in three years.

The Royal Oak at Hurdlow scooped the accolade at the prestigious Derbyshire Food and Drink Awards, held last week. The Three Roofs Cafe in Castleton was named best newcomer in the awards.

TV chef Simon Rimmer presented winners in 12 categories of the Derbyshire County Council-run awards with their certificates during a glitzy Chatsworth House dinner.

It was the latest honour for the thriving village pub, which was named winner in the same category in 2010 and highly commended in 2011.

The Food and Drink Awards recognise the county’s best catering businesses which serve locally-sourced food on their menu.

Entries are judged on a number of criteria including the quality of food and drink served, customer service, use of county produce and acknowledgement of it on menus.

They are then judged by an independent panel of food specialists and each short-listed venue has a mystery shopper visit.

Justin Heslop, who runs the Royal Oak with business partner Paul White, said: “We were just really pleased because this is something we enjoy entering.

“It is very motivational for our staff, particularly when the secret shopper comes so it is a good feeling to win because it is a huge team effort here.

“Our staff love to keep doing well in this competition and it shows that all their hard work over the last 12 months has been recognised.

“The big thing with these awards is that businesses use Derbyshire suppliers and we are very strong on that, everything we have is from local suppliers.

“Everything is made here on the premises which we’re really proud of. We can do 1,500 meals a week and everything is cooked freshly to order.”

Councillor Kevin Parkinson, Derbyshire County Council Cabinet Member for Regeneration, said: “Yet again the standard of entries for our annual Derbyshire Food and Drink Awards was of a very high quality and Chatsworth was a fantastic venue to host our celebration.

“We’re blessed with some fantastic restaurants, bistros, pubs and cafes which make the most of excellent food produced locally to serve delicious food and drink.

“The food and drink sector plays an important role in the Derbyshire economy and our awards give much deserved recognition to some very talented people.”

For the third year the Derbyshire Food and Drink Awards were sponsored by HSKS Greenhalgh Chartered Accountants and Business Advisors.