Thursday, 03 September 2015

What the judges said: Cumbria Life Food & Drink Awards 2013

The best food and drink in Cumbria was celebrated at the Cumbria Life Food and Drink Awards, and we can now reveal what the judges said about the winners.

A glitzy ceremony hosted by TV and radio personality Stuart Maconie was held at Kendal College, and the best places to eat and drink in Cumbria, as well as the best products, producers and personalities were acknowledged.

Simon Rogan’s ‘world class’ (and world famous) L’Enclume at Cartmel won the coveted Judges’ Special Award Restaurant of the Year, with Cumbria Life Restaurant of the Year going to The Drunken Duck in Ambleside.

See below for the full list of Cumbrian award winners and why they were chosen by the judges.

Best Farm Shop

Kitridding Farm, nr Kirkby Lonsdale

Judges said: “This is an excellent farm shop whose owners offer a consistent product, day in and day out right there on their farm. It’s a popular destination and their café is packed out for Sunday lunch. What they are doing is superb.”

*Runner up – Tebay Services Farm Shops

Best Specialist Retailer

Shill’s of Station Street, Cockermouth

Judges said: “This place may be small but it is perfectly formed with Cumbrian chocolates, an interesting cheese counter, and locally made products which aren’t available elsewhere and has a very good wine section run by the knowledgeable owner.
The shop was packed and the experience was good fun. Altogether it was a real joy to visit.”

Runners up – Tebay Services Farm Shops, The Moody Baker Co-operative, Alston

Best Café/Tea Shop

Canteen Baba Ganoush, Kendal

Judges said: “This place is of a standard that you would expect to find in a trendy part of London with a combination of excellent service and really good food. With the husband and wife owners each specialising in main courses and desserts, they’re a great team. They’ve stuck their necks out and the offer is not just good, it’s extraordinary.”

*Runners up – The Filling Station, Keswick, Sun Cottage Café, Hawkshead, The Coffee Kitchen, Cockermouth

Best Small Producer

Appleby Creamery, Appleby

Judges said: “There is something uniquely Cumbrian and understated about this business – they are at a very basic level of operation, not pushing themselves forward, yet easily commanding a national level of acclaim and recognition. This is not just because of the wonderful product but because the people behind it are knowledgeable, experienced, a very good team with strong integrity and strong connection to their local economy.”

*Runners up – Staff of Life, Kendal, Arête Enterprises, HMP Haverigg

Best Large Producer

Lakes Speciality Foods, Staveley
Hawkshead Brewery, Staveley (Joint winners)

Of Lakes Speciality Foods, judges said: “This is simply one of the best companies in the area. It has kept going and thrived despite everything that has been thrown at Cumbria over the last few years.”

Of Hawkshead Brewery, judges said: “This is an incredible place with incredible produce. It is an amazing business and some of the judges now think they are producing the best beer in Cumbria.”

Judges’ Special Award for outstanding service

Holbeck Ghyll

Judges said: “The team at Holbeck Ghyll really stood out for consistently matching the finest food with the highest standards of country house service.”

*Runners up – Shill’s of Station Street, Cockermouth, The Drunken Duck Inn, Ambleside

Judges’ Special Award for best newcomer

The Coffee Kitchen, Cockermouth

Judges said: Owners Andy and Angela Walsh set up their café and artisan bakery around the twin attractions of great coffee and fantastic real bread. There’s a real sense of community with coffee-tasting events, barista experience days and the chance to purchase beans and equipment to take home. It was a brave move to set up in a town already awash with cafes and places to eat.”

*Runners up – The Filling Station, Keswick, Askham Hall Kitchen Garden Café, nr Penrith

Taste Cumbria Gold Awards Best Cumbrian Product

Lakeland Treacle Bread With Walnut and Raisins, More? Bakery, Staveley

Judges said: “This is simply wonderful! Faultless in its visual appeal, taste, texture, aroma, and degree of skill and creativity.”

*Runners up - Rack of Herdwick Hogget (Heritage Meats); Eden Valley Organic Brie (Appleby Creamery)

Young Chef of the Year

Scott Fairweather- The Punch Bowl Inn & Restaurant, Crosthwaite nr Kendal

Judges said: “Scott is enthusiastic and wholly committed to the business. He is willing to learn from other restaurants and hasn’t sat on his hands. He works in a busy environment and has to think on his feet and be very involved, yet he’s also a very calm individual.”

*Runners up – Andrew Postlethwaite, Castle Green Hotel, Kendal, James Maggiore, Holbeck Ghyll Country House Hotel, Windermere

Chef of the Year

Ryan Blackburn, The Cottage in the Wood, Keswick

Judges said: “Ryan displays enthusiasm and passion for his suppliers and enormous knowledge. He is willing to learn from comments and sends out all the right signals. He’s passionate about what he does and has played a big part in elevating his employer’s hotel and restaurant from a hidden gem to the Cumbrian premier league.”

*Runners up – Craig Sherrington, General Burgoyne, Great Urswick, Ian Swainson, The Samling, Windermere

Dining Pub of the Year

The Punch Bowl Inn & Restaurant, Crosthwaite, nr Kendal
General Burgoyne, Great Urswick nr Ulverston (Joint winners)

Of The Punch Bowl Inn, the judges said: “The Punch Bowl offers superb restaurant-type food in a restaurant-style inn with a small bar area and has a reputation for serving consistently good food. One of the judges said his dessert had been ‘out of this world’.”

Of General Burgoyne, the judges said: This is a pub with a lot of energy, where the chef/patron cares about his customers, the menu suits the local area, and the food is very good.”

The judges added: “Both places are in slightly out-of-the-way locations and diners are rewarded when they make an effort to visit.”

*Runner up – The George and Dragon, Clifton, nr Penrith

Cumbria Life Restaurant of the Year

The Drunken Duck, Ambleside

Chairman of Judges, Steven Doherty, said: “I would compare The Drunken Duck to a boxing champion who every now and again delivers the killer punch. They’ve reinvented themselves yet again, and all of us judges were blown away by the delivery.”

*Runners up – The Samling, Windermere, Porto, Bowness on Windermere, The Jumble Room, Grasmere, The Cottage in the Wood, Keswick

Judges’ Special Award for Restaurant of the Year

L’Enclume, Cartmel

Judges said: “Our three and a half hour lunch cooked under head chef Mark Birchall, not Simon Rogan was simply perfect with service to match. L’Enclume has everything and ticks every box. We’re blessed to have such an outstanding restaurant on our doorstep in Cumbria. It’s truly world class.”

(This award was bestowed by the judges, and was awarded to the Cumbrian restaurant they judged as having delivered the most outstanding dining experience in Cumbria - whether they filled in a form and entered the awards or not.)

*Runners up – The Drunken Duck Inn, Ambleside, The Cottage in the Wood, Keswick, Holbeck Ghyll Country House Hotel, Windermere, The Samling, Windermere

Cumbria Life Special Award for Outstanding Achievement
Dave McLaughlin, Head Chef at Holbeck Ghyll Country House Hotel, Windermere

Judges said: "Dave is one of Cumbria’s most consistently talented chefs and has won and maintained a Michelin star for his restaurant for an incredible 13 consecutive years.

"It takes enormous levels of motivation and dedication and professionalism day-in, day-out, to ensure the Michelin standard is there all the time, and Dave will have built an enviable team to uphold all the virtues necessary. He is also a lovely, modest nice guy, which we’re told by our Chairman of Judges, Steven Doherty, isn’t always the case with chefs!”

Cumbria Life Special Award for Outstanding Achievement

Simon Thomas, Staff of Life Bakery, Kendal

Judges said: "Simon set up the business when artisan bakeries were scarce and says that his bread is more than just a basic dietary staple: good bread made by real artisans is a privilege to eat and an essential part of any fine meal.

"Simon is not just one of the best bakers in Cumbria; he’s one of the best in the country. When you walk into his shop in Kendal, you see a man who is as much in love with his bread as he is with his way of life. He is a true artisan, in touch with everything he does, assisted in this by his lovely and very able wife, Julie.”

The 2013 Judges’ Award for Outstanding Contribution to Cumbrian Food & Drink

The Dunning Family at Tebay Services Farm Shops, Tebay

Chairman of Judges, Steven Doherty, said: “This year’s award goes to one of Cumbria’s greatest success stories. It is a business that has become iconic; a Cumbrian institution; near the top of the list of places people mention if you ask them about Cumbria or the Lakes. Every day of the week people from all over the country can be found on Twitter declaring their absolute love and gratitude for this place.

"This place is a winner for its sustainable farming; it’s a winner for its wonderful local food; it’s a winner for its business ethos, innovation and success; it’s a winner because there is simply nothing like it in the whole of the United Kingdom. And the most amazing thing about it is: it’s a motorway service station.

“I hope now that the staff at Tebay won’t be too disappointed with their runner’s up certificates in the Farm Shop and Specialist Retailer categories, which went in the end to two little gems that are quintessentially Cumbrian. Tebay, which thirty years ago was that little gem, is now truly a phenomenon - and yet it too remains quintessentially Cumbrian thanks not just to its local owners but to its local staff.”


Have your say

Cumbria is one of the best pasty places in the world - some great pies and great produce especially kendal

Posted by foodies on 6 February 2013 at 13:59

Baba Ganoush - can reccomend going here ! Very nice place

Posted by lakesgirl on 5 February 2013 at 13:32

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