County’s finest celebrate success16 Nov

After much anticipation and a great deal of excitement, the winners of the twelve categories in the Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards 2012/13 are finally celebrating being named the best of the county’s best!

The results were announced at a glittering Awards Dinner (Weds 14th Nov) sponsored by Electrolux and staged at The Wing, Silverstone courtesy of Silverstone Circuits Ltd. Those were (in order of presentation):

Northamptonshire Jubilee Breakfast: (results announced in June)
Winner: The Church Restaurant, Northampton
Runner-up: Oundle Mill, Oundle

Artisan Local Product/Drink of the Year:
Winner: Home Cured Bacon – Sauls of Spratton, Spratton
Runner-up: Fire Bellied Toad – Frog Island Brewery, Northampton 

New Local Product of the Year:
Winner: The Hot Runner – The Pickled Village, Bulwick
Runner-up: Fruity Apple and Plum Chutney – The Village Orchard, Flore

New Local Drink of the Year:
Winner: Golden Russet Apple Juice – The Village Orchard, Flore
Runners-up: Hart No. 1 (4.1%) – Hart Family Brewers, Wellingborough and Hop Trotter – Potbelly Brewery, Kettering

Local Food Hero of the Year:
Winner: Gerald Bailey of Newlands Farm, Hannington
Runners-up: Pudding Pie Cookery School, Middleton Cheney and Seven Wells Butchers, Oundle

Spice Chef of the Year:
Winner: Bodrul Islam – Saffron, Northampton
Runner-up: Hao Dang – Dang’s, Northampton

Young Chef of the Year:
Winner: William Mountain – The Saracen’s Head, Little Brington
Runner-up: Viktorija Bernataviciute – The Wig and Pen, Northampton

Booker Chef of the Year:
Winner: James Ingram – Mercedes Benz AMG, Brixworth
Runner-up: Liam Goodwill – Rushton Hall, Rushton

Restaurant of the Year:
Winner: The Exeter Arms, Easton on the Hill
Runners-up: Oundle Mill, Oundle and The Seafood Café, Northampton

Pub or Bar Restaurant of the Year:
Winner: The Saracen’s Head, Little Brington
Runner-up: The Royal Oak @ Eydon, Eydon

Community Pub of the Year – Town:
Winner: The Swan and Helmet, Northampton
Runner-up: The Lamplighter, Northampton

Community Pub of the Year – Rural:
Winner: The George, Tiffield
Runner-up: The Stag’s Head, Great Doddington

In addition, three chefs were also ‘Commended’ in their category – those being:
Ondine Hartgroves of Dîner Privé Par Ondine, Northampton in the Spice Chef category
Ollie Jaycock of The Red Lion, Culworth in the Young Chef category
Oli Butel of Frank’s Steakhouse, Northampton in the Booker Chef category.

So the night brought double celebrations for Duncan and Sarah Evans of The Saracen’s Head in Little Brington who not only watched their head chef, William Mountain, pick up the ‘Young Chef of the Year’ award but also took the ‘Pub or Bar Restaurant of the Year’ title. “We were already so delighted that Will had won earlier in the evening, but then to hear the venue’s name called out as well was just the icing on the cake,” explained Sarah after the results were announced by Jeff Whitaker of category sponsors Whitco, the specialist catering equipment firm based in Thrapston. “The whole team put their heart and soul into everything that they do and this is real recognition of their wonderful efforts. We are all just chuffed to bits!”

Meanwhile Jonathan Chaplin of The Village Orchard in Flore also came away with two accolades after his Fruity Apple and Plum Chutney was named runner-up in the ‘New Local Product of the Year’ category, only for his Golden Russet Apple Juice to go one better in the ‘New Local Drink of the Year’ category. “We are always so wonderfully surprised and of course thrilled to pick up any award so to come away with a second and a first is fantastic!” enthused Jonathan after hearing the results from David Brown of Beckworth Emporium, the category sponsor. “It’s all the more pleasing that these are two of our newer products and we’ll be displaying our certificates and our winner’s trophy with great pride!”

Those trophies – beautifully handcrafted in polished stainless steel by Sandwell UK, the shot peening and metal coating specialists based in Towcester – were presented by a selection of this year’s Award judges, including editor and food writer William Sitwell, TV chef Sophie Grigson  and the co-founder of ‘Ready Steady Cook’, Steven Saunders from Aspire Hospitality.

It was his Executive Chef, Lee Scott, who prepared a wonderful three course menu for the 350 guests including entrants, judges, sponsors, media partners and supporters. They were treated to a starter of potted Pitsford trout, a trio of pork from Spinney Barns in Irchester served with apples from New Creation Farm in Nether Heyford which had been caramelized in honey provided by the Northamptonshire Beekeepers’ Association, followed by treacle tart using bread from the Northampton bakery FF Tee and served with dairy vanilla ice cream from Rossi’s Ice Cream in Kettering.

Guests were welcomed to the event by the competition’s co-ordinator, Rachel Mallows of The Mallows Company and later in the evening, NEP’s Chairman Paul Southworth thanked them for their support. “As the organisation behind these awards we are delighted that this competition is playing such a valuable role in this increasingly successful sector for the county.

“Last year, that was worth £1.5 billion to our local economy and Northamptonshire should quite rightly feel mightily proud of its many nationally-recognised producers, venues and chefs being celebrated tonight,” he added.

For more details about the Awards and to see photographs from the event, please visit


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