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2014 Lancashire Life Food and Drink Awards, Hilton Deansgate, Manchester

PUBLISHED: 15:17 14 December 2014 | UPDATED: 16:13 24 December 2014

Lancashire Life Food and Drink Hero was Joycelyn Neve. Photographed here with Award Sponsor Chris Swallow from Creamline Dairies

Lancashire Life Food and Drink Hero was Joycelyn Neve. Photographed here with Award Sponsor Chris Swallow from Creamline Dairies

Archant

The county's culinary champions descended on Manchester's Hilton Hotel for the prestigious Lancashire Life Food and Drink Awards. Emma Mayoh reports

Joycelen Neve is the first to admit she is rarely lost for words. But when the 29-year-old founder of the fast-expanding Seafood Pub Company heard her name being announced as the Food and Drink Hero at the prestigious Lancashire Life Food and Drink Awards, she was completely overwhelmed.

She said: ‘This is the award the people I look up to win. This is not for me; there is no way this is for me. I am so shocked. This doesn’t make sense. It’s just amazing, absolutely amazing.

Lancashire Life Traditional Dining Pub Eagle and Child at Ramsbottom.  Claire Montgomery is here with Glen Duckett and Eve Townson and event organiser, Kate WilsonLancashire Life Traditional Dining Pub Eagle and Child at Ramsbottom. Claire Montgomery is here with Glen Duckett and Eve Townson and event organiser, Kate Wilson

‘I’m really humbled to even be considered in the same company as people here tonight.’

But the award is unsurprising when considering the entrepreneur’s achievements. Joycelyn, along with partner and executive chef Antony Shirley and company chairman Andrew McLean, have just opened the Derby Arms in Thornley. It is the fifth venture since 2011 and the sixth, the Barley Mow in the Pendle village of Barley, is about to open its doors. Further expansion is also on the cards.

And the awards, sponsored by Robinsons, the Cheshire brewers, didn’t end there for Joycelyn. The Oyster and Otter in Blackburn, the first venture she and Antony first launched for their Seafood Pub Company, was awarded the prestigious Lancashire Life Restaurant of the Year prize. For the 29-year-old, a member of the famous Fleetwood fishing family, this was the award she has been waiting for. She accepted the award with Antony as well as Ben Seekings and Jonathan Parkinson, the four people who first set up the Blackburn restaurant.

Lancashire Life Hotel of the Year; The team from The Spa Hotel at Ribby Hall Village celebrate on stage with Claire Montgomery (left) and Teresa White of sponsors Total Foodservice (right)Lancashire Life Hotel of the Year; The team from The Spa Hotel at Ribby Hall Village celebrate on stage with Claire Montgomery (left) and Teresa White of sponsors Total Foodservice (right)

She said: ‘This is the award The Oyster and Otter deserves. This was our first place and it is doing really well. For so long it has been overlooked because of its location, for all of the wrong reasons. Finally it is getting recognition, the recognition it should already have been getting.

‘This means the absolute world to us and it’s fantastic the four of us are here together to mark this fantastic occasion. I’m so so proud of everyone. What an amazing night.’

There were loud cheers and surprised faces from the team at the Sharrow Bay Hotel which was named Lakeland Hotel of the Year. This Lake District institution has a raft of accolades including two AA Rosettes and four AA Red Stars. But the team are not fatigued with their success.

Liverpool Restaurant  Spire:     Adam Locke and Matt Locke from Spire. Photographed here with Claire Montgomery and Award Sponsor, Katy Hanigan from Butlers Farmhouse CheesesLiverpool Restaurant Spire: Adam Locke and Matt Locke from Spire. Photographed here with Claire Montgomery and Award Sponsor, Katy Hanigan from Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses

Mark Teasdale, who is joint head chef with Colin Akrigg and has been at Sharrow Bay for 18 years, said: ‘This is not an award, it is the award. It’s the one everyone wants. I can’t believe we’ve done it. I can’t wait to tell everyone.

‘It is so exciting. We are all in a state of shock. We’re really grateful to have been recognised. I’ve worked at Sharrow Bay for a long time now and it is something I love so much. I’m so pleased we’ve won.’

The Lancashire Life Food & Drink Awards is an evening that reveals the county’s shining stars and celebrates the finest hotels, dining pubs, restaurants, food producers and chefs. The celebrations could be heard around Manchester’s Hilton Hotel at the prestigious annual event, a staple of the north west’s culinary calendar. More than 300 of the region’s culinary elite filled the Deansgate Suite for the gala evening.

Lakeland Dining Excellence Rothay Garden Hotel;   Adrian Kneenshaw and Hannah Fearnhead collect their award from sponsor, Stephen Williamson of sponsors, Lune Valley Smokehouse (right) with Claire Montgomery (left)Lakeland Dining Excellence Rothay Garden Hotel; Adrian Kneenshaw and Hannah Fearnhead collect their award from sponsor, Stephen Williamson of sponsors, Lune Valley Smokehouse (right) with Claire Montgomery (left)

The shortlist were chosen by a panel of independent judges comprising Lancashire Life editor Roger Borrell, Cheshire Life editor Louise Taylor, highly regarded food consultant Rosemary Watts, Trevor Stone, who headed the AstraZeneca catering operation, Lancashire Life’s cookery editor Philippa James, who also runs a successful cookery school and food and drink writer, Ray King.

Other winners included Ramsbottom’s Eagle and Child pub. The award-winning venue, run by Glen Duckett and operates a scheme to help young people into employment through catering training schemes, was named the Lancashire Life Traditional Dining Pub. The accolade comes soon after it was named Food Pub of the Year at the Manchester Food and Drink Awards. Mr Cooper’s at the Midland Hotel was named Manchester Restaurant of the Year and Grasmere’s Rothay Garden Hotel received the Lakeland Dining Excellence accolade – a fitting reward as owner Chris Carss is currently celebrating 25 years since taking over the hotel. The Spa Hotel at Ribby Hall Village took home the prize for Lancashire Life Hotel of the Year and Spire, a fantastic restaurant near Liverpool’s Penny Lane run by brothers Adam and Matt Locke was awarded Liverpool Restaurant of the Year.

It was a particularly special night for Mary-Ellen McTague, chef owner of popular Prestwich restaurant, Aumbry. The talented 36-year-old started her career at the Sharrow Bay Hotel and has worked in America as well as at Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck in Bray and Ramsons in Ramsbottom. She then launched Aumbry in two cottages that had been knocked through and will soon be announcing plans for a second restaurant in Manchester city centre. Despite being no stranger to awards and accolades – she was named Chef of the Year at last year’s Manchester Food and Drink Awards - Bury-born Mary-Ellen was rendered almost speechless when her name was read out

Lakeland Hotel of the Year Sharrow Bay: Claire Montgomery (left) with  Mark Teasdale, Eunice Whittaker and Oliver Smith from Sharrow Bay, Penrith. Photographed here with Christopher Greaves from H.Greaves and SonLakeland Hotel of the Year Sharrow Bay: Claire Montgomery (left) with Mark Teasdale, Eunice Whittaker and Oliver Smith from Sharrow Bay, Penrith. Photographed here with Christopher Greaves from H.Greaves and Son

She said: ‘Listening to what was being said it all sounded really familiar but I didn’t realise for a long time that it was me they were talking about. I’d been congratulating all of my friends who had won throughout the night but then I get this surprise award.

‘Over the years so many compromises have had to be made with my two kids and with the restaurant and it has been very hard work. But things like this make a difference. It’s just absolutely incredible. I am so shocked. This is a really big deal. This is such a big part of who I am and to get recognition, I am so honoured.’ All of the winners were presented with the coveted Lancashire Life Food and Drink Awards plaques to display as well as celebratory champagne from Robinsons Wines. But no one left empty handed as all those shortlisted also took home commemorative plates.

A raffle, with prizes including a holiday, a luxury trip in a hot air balloon and a tour for ten people around Robinsons Brewery, also raised £3,500 for Jump Children’s Charity who deliver unique services to families with children with life limiting illnesses.

Manchester Restaurant  Mr Coopers, Midland Hotel:  Claire Montgomery with Fernando Marques, Gareth Jones and Chris Eigelaar from Mr Cooper's The Midland Hotel. Photographed here with Award Sponsor Marc Gough from Whitehouse CrockeryManchester Restaurant Mr Coopers, Midland Hotel: Claire Montgomery with Fernando Marques, Gareth Jones and Chris Eigelaar from Mr Cooper's The Midland Hotel. Photographed here with Award Sponsor Marc Gough from Whitehouse Crockery

 

 

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North West Chef of the Year Mary-Ellen McTague, Aumbry, with Claire Montgomery and  Oliver Robinson of Robinson's BreweryNorth West Chef of the Year Mary-Ellen McTague, Aumbry, with Claire Montgomery and Oliver Robinson of Robinson's Brewery

To start

Smoked haddock bon bon, chilli, coriander and garlic smoked salmon, smoked mackerel, horseradish and crème fraiche

 

To continue

Chicken saltimbocca with parmentier, roast aubergine puree, courgette, confit tomato and marsala jus

 

To finish

Black Forest and kirsch cherry torte served with Mrs Dowson’s ice cream

 

A taste of cheese

A selection of Kidderton Ash, Traditional Lancashire, Blacksticks Blue, Winston, Woodrew and Grace. Supplied by Butler’s Farmhouse Cheeses and Joseph Heler Cheese.

 

Meet the winners

 

Lancashire Life Traditional Dining Pub

Eagle and Child, Ramsbottom

Sponsored by Lancashire Crisps

 

Lakeland Dining Excellence

Rothay Garden Hotel, Grasmere

Sponsored by Lune Valley Smoke House

 

Lancashire Life Hotel of the Year

The Spa Hotel at Ribby Hall Village, Wrea Green

Sponsored by Total Food Service

 

Liverpool Restaurant of the Year

Spire

Sponsored by Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses

 

Lakeland Hotel of the Year

Sharrow Bay, Penrith

Sponsored by H Greaves and Son

 

Lancashire Life Food and Drink Hero

Joycelyn Neve, Seafood Pub Company

Sponsored by Creamline Dairies

 

Manchester Restaurant of the Year

Mr Cooper’s, The Midland Hotel

Sponsored by Whitehouse Crockery

 

Lancashire Life Restaurant of the Year

The Oyster and Otter, Blackburn

Sponsored by Gleaming Fresh Clean

 

Chef of the Year

Mary Ellen Mc-Tague

Aumbry, Prestwich

Sponsored by Robinsons Brewery

 

Lancashire Life Food and Drink Awards website

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