Lancashire Life Food and Drink Awards 2010 - The nominations revealed
PUBLISHED: 12:45 30 September 2010 | UPDATED: 17:55 20 February 2013
It's almost time for the region's most prestigious food and drink awards. Ray King unveils the stars who made our shortlist
The presentation of the Lancashire Life and Lake District Life Food & Drink Awards is now firmly established as one of the most glittering dates in the North Wests culinary calendar.
Its the night we reveal and reward the producers of the very highest standards of hospitality and purveyors of the finest quality food and drink in the region.
The coveted awards, sponsored this year by the celebrated family brewer Frederic Robinson of Stockport, names the best hotels, best restaurants, and the most deserving local food heroes, chosen by our panel of independent judges. It will take place during a gala black-tie dinner at the historic and newly renovated Midland Hotel, Manchester, on October 26.
And in addition to the awards shortlisted here, two special presentations will be made on the night to Lancashires food hero and to the North West Chef of the Year.
But whatever the final decision, there are no losers - all the shortlisted entries come very highly commended by the judges who criss-crossed the region during the summer months.
The panel comprised Roger Borrell, editor of Lancashire Life and editor-in-chief of Archants county magazines in the north; Louise Taylor, editor of Cheshire Life; food and drink writer Ray King, Lancashire Life cookery
editor Philippa James, award winning caterer Rosemary Watts and Trevor Stone, Cheshire-based consultant and former executive responsible for catering at all AstraZenecas UK sites.
Lancashire Hotel of the Year
The Ashton, Lancaster
Showered with deserved accolades since opening in the summer of 2008, former set designer James Grays boutique - not to say eccentric - destination B&B in a fine Georgian house boasts meticulous attention to the fine details of hospitality that makes staying there a memorable experience. Individually designed rooms are superbly equipped and decorated.
Gibbon Bridge Hotel, Chipping
Janet Simpsons welcoming domain, located at the very heart of the Forest
of Bowlands most beautiful scenery - and amid 23 glorious acres of its own manicured gardens - aspires to treat guests as if they were being utterly spoiled in their own homes.
Constantly seeking to improve levels of service, focus on attention to detail and adapt to changing demands, the Gibbon Bridge has succeeded beyond measure over the past 30
years, earning numerous awards in the process.
The Spread Eagle, Sawley
Six brand new, individually designed, characterful bedrooms exuding luxury, comfort and charm brings the total
to 17 at this delightful old coaching inn, set on a picturesque bend of the River Ribble.
Dining here has long been renowned for the award winning team of chefs use of the freshest local ingredients in their signature dishes, backed by a generous range of fine hand-pulled ales and an extensive wine list. Ribble Valley hospitality at its best.
Lancashire Restaurant of the Year
Husband and wife team Laurence Tottingham and Mary-Ellen McTague, who both worked for Heston Blumethal at the eulogised Fat Duck in Bray, have brought dining excellence to their cottagey 26-cover neighbourhood restaurant in Church Lane. Their short, constantly changing but inventive menu relies heavily on expertly cooked traditional British fare - herring, grouse, plaice - superbly sauced, rather than Blumenthals outrageous flights of fancy and its all the better for that.
The Hastings, Lytham
Styling itself as an eating and drinking house, the Hastings is celebrating its first year since Warrick Dodds, formerly head chef at Nigel Howarths stellar Northcote Manor, opened for business. Entry in 2011s Good Food Guide is just the start of whats likely to be a string of accolades for some of the most creative cooking on the Fylde coast using the very best of ingredients from local suppliers, most of whom Warrick has known all his career.
Penny Street Bridge, Lancaster
Set inside a century old building in the heart of the historic city, this charming restaurant with rooms boasts a stylish bar and delightful flagged courtyard for al fresco dining. Blessed with an abundance of fantastic produce from the surrounding countryside and nearby Morecambe Bay, the kitchen makes the most of its local bounty on a menu offering excellent home-cooked interpretation of pub classics and a true taste of Lancashire.
Lancashire Dining Pub of the Year
The Black Bull, Rimington
Located on a winding country lane at the foot of Pendle Hill, this hidden gem dating from 1910 - though theres been an inn on the site since the 17th century - casts its own culinary spell in Lancashire witch country. Owners Steve Hodgson and Katherine Lachance, who fell in love with the place as they rode by on a tandem, have cleverly combined cultures - producing wonderful French cuisine from Lancashires unbeatable produce. Now theres magic for you.
Freemasons Country Inn, Wiswell
Blackburn raised chef-patron Steven Smith, who returned home to Lancashire after cooking at several Michelin starred restaurants, has created a stunning rendezvous in one of the most picturesque corners of the Ribble Valley dedicated to making the most of local produce at its seasonal best. The mouth-wateringly appealing menu marries perfectly with the uniquely charming surroundings and relaxed, comfortable atmosphere.
Ye Horns Inn, Goosnargh
Once part of a working farm, this splendid heritage coaching inn has been dispensing renowned hospitality since 1720. A stalwart of the Good Pub Guide and holder of a Taste Lancashire award, head chef and owner Mark Woods champions a traditional northern menu enhanced by modern flair. With his passion for regional flavours, he sources as many ingredients as possible from nearby with duck, game and cheese arriving from neighbouring Goosnargh farms.
Lake District Hotel of the Year
Eltermere Inn, Eltermere, Ambleside
Recently refurbished, this small hotel boasts 15 lovely bedrooms, some remodelled into chic contemporary rooms with elegant bathrooms and all with wonderful views over the sumptuous surrounding countryside of the Langdale Valley. Theres a relaxing spa and the dining room, majors on the finest local produce from which Edward Jones and his brigade create an impressive menu of modern influenced Cumbrian dishes.
Swan Hotel & Spa, Newby Bridge
Though its oldest bit dates from 1623, this polished hostelry located where the River Leven flows from the southern tip of Windermere lacks no conceivable modern convenience, boasting a luxury spa, pool and gym and fully equipped for conferencing, weddings and events. Business and family leisure guests alike enjoy the quality of the Swans varied and comfortable accommodation, the spectacular River Room restaurant offering fresh and seasonal dishes and the ambience of its characterful bar.
The Wild Boar, Crook
Set amid the ancient beauty of the Gilpin Valley, this coaching inn offers the warmest of welcomes and exceptional standards of service, now complemented by a range of new individually designed rooms and a new Grill and Smokehouse where head chef Mark Sanders works his magic with the best locally produced seasonal ingredients in his theatrical open kitchen. The menu offers classic, hearty British dishes amid traditional decor in a relaxed, time-honoured, country inn.
Lake District Dining Pub/ Restaurant of the Year
Jo and Chris Blaydes, Chef-Proprietor and former head chef at Miller Howe for the legendary John Tovey, opened their charming restaurant in 1997 and over a ten year period built up a highly respected culinary reputation justly recognised by entries in all the independent food guides. Now relocated in the Waverley, a magnificent Victorian property, Jerichos has begun a new era, offering accommodation in delightfully relaxing rooms.
The Masons Arms, Cartmel Fell
Beautifully located at Strawberry Bank, overlooking the spectacular Winster Valley, this atmospheric traditional 17th century Lakeland inn, sympathetically refurbished, boasts a delightful 50-seat dining room and attractive terrace enjoying panoramic views. John and Diane Taylors kitchen serves excellent local wholesome food, freshly prepared with top quality ingredients including lamb and beef reared nearby on the Cumbrian fells.
The Wheatsheaf, Brigsteer
Dating from 1762 and an inn for more than 100 years, the Wheatsheafs recent refurbishment has created a much more contemporary restaurant atmosphere for diners to enjoy a highly regarded menu of expertly prepared food. Specialising in traditional British dishes with a modern twist and making the most of the regions finest produce including meat, game and home-grown fruit, vegetables and herbs, the kitchen has won recognition in the Michelin Red Guide and Eating Out In Pubs Guide.
City Restaurant of the Year - Liverpool
Jamies Italian, City Centre
Located in the heart of the huge Liverpool One development, this funky, casual restaurant is every bit as welcoming as youd expect a Jamie Oliver operation to be and it has
proved an instant hit with a growing army of fans. The food is authentic, rustic and simple, prepared with care and skill from the best available ingredients according to season,
sourced locally and from Italy.
Pasta is made daily and the list of blackboard specials offers dishes that are always exciting.
Lunya, City Centre
Styling itself as the UKs first Catalonian fusion deli and restaurant, Peter Kinsellas exciting new venture is quite simply the citys best Spanish eaterie, located in stylishly converted 18th century warehouse. At the heart of the open kitchen is a wood-fired brick oven where traditional bread is baked and the exciting menu offers a range of authentic tapas and Iberian classics made from a combination of top-notch Spanish ingredients and the very best of local produce.
San Carlo, City Centre
The favourite glitzy haunt of the stars and celebrity watchers alike, Carlo Distefanos vibrant ristorante has now established its presence amid glamorous surroundings in Castle Street with its customary pizzazz. The atmosphere positively buzzes as authentic Italian dishes, with a commendable emphasis on fresh fish, is served with passion and brio.
City Restaurant of the Year - Manchester
Obsidian, City Centre
The basement of the Arora Hotel not only boasts one of the most sophisticated cocktail bars in the north of England, but also, alongside, an uber-stylish restaurant whose menu celebrates the best of local produce fashioned into contemporary British dishes. Breast of wood pigeon, Cheshire rib-eye and hake paired with smoked eel point towards commendable pride in seasonality and provenance of excellent ingredients.
Rosso, City Centre
The Edwardian baroque marbled splendour of Manchesters most palatial former banking hall now houses a chic and stylish Italian restaurant co-owned by Manchester United and England star Rio Ferdinand. Despite the celebrity connections, its the food thats the star player here with a menu to delight all lovers of cucina Italiana from well-crafted risotto, pizza and pasta to sophisticated dishes featuring, in particular, a fine array of fish and seafood.
Stock, City Centre
Manchesters former Stock Exchange, with its soaring domed ceiling, provides the elegant backdrop for one of the citys best respected Italian restaurants. Executive chef and founder Enzo Mauro presides over a kitchen where only the finest, freshest ingredients will do, ensuring an abundance of market fresh specials to compliment the authentic, modern Italian dishes on the main menu. The range of Italian wines here is second to none in the city.