Bottle and Thyme has been named as Chesterfield’s restaurant of the year in the town’s 2018 Food and Drink Awards.
Based on Knifesmithgate, Bottle and Thyme was one of 13 bars, restaurants, food producers, cafés and individuals to scoop an accolade across 15 categories in the awards, organised by Destination Chesterfield in association with Chesterfield College.
Now in its sixth year, the event recognises the very best in the town’s growing food and drink sector.
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Once again held at Chesterfield College’s Heart Space building, the ceremony was hosted by celebrity chef Lesley Waters.
She said: “I was delighted to host the 2018 Chesterfield Food and Drink Awards.
“There is a real passion among food and drink businesses in the area for using locally-sourced produce.
“As well as supporting local business, it’s about using fresh ingredients and creating great food.
“I firmly believe the best food is made with passion and there is plenty of that in Chesterfield.”
Since opening in December 2016, Bottle and Thyme has made a big impression on the town’s food and drink scene – it took home the titles of best newcomer and best customer service in the 2017 Food and Drink Awards.
Hannah Grainger, owner of Bottle and Thyme, said: “It feels incredible to win Chesterfield’s restaurant of the year.
“We were so happy to win the two awards last year and, this year, we are ecstatic to win this – it means so much.
“We try to use as many local suppliers as we can and always try and make our menu seasonal to change it up, keeping things exciting.”
This year, the awards saw the introduction of two new categories – apprentice of the year and apprentice employer of the year, recognising the contribution that apprenticeships make to the hospitality industry.
Corey Elliott, an apprentice chef at The Lilypad Café and Restaurant on Soresby Street, was named as the apprentice of the year while Stephenson’s Tea and Coffee House on Stephenson Place was named as the apprentice employer of the year.
Claire and Sam Wood, the owners of Stephenson’s, had cause for double celebration on the night after being named as the café/tea room of the year.
Chatsworth Road-based Junction Bar was also a double winner on the night scooping the awards for pub/bar of the year and best customer service.
More than 250 people attended what has become the biggest night of the year for Chesterfield’s food and drink community.
Held in association with Chesterfield College, the awards are also a hands-on learning experience for hospitality students, who prepared and served a two-course menu at the event.
Julie Richards, principal at the college, said: “I am delighted that the role of apprenticeships in the industry was celebrated for the first time this year, alongside the achievements of the young chef of the year finalists.
“We are training the next generation of catering and hospitality experts both in our classrooms and working with employers through apprenticeships, so it is fantastic to be able to inspire them by helping to showcase successful businesses in the sector.
“I am very proud of our catering and hospitality staff and students who have worked hard to prepare and serve an amazing meal for guests, which highlights the quality of their work and their professional approach.”
Peter Swallow, chair of Destination Chesterfield, added: “Once again the awards have been a tremendous success and reflection of a thriving sector in Chesterfield.
“They epitomise everything that is great about the Chesterfield hospitality scene – great food, drink and partnerships between both the business community and education sector.”