Flavours of Hambleton Awards

Food and drink is a key player in the tourism industry – it is well known that having good places to stay, eat and drink leads to more visitors.

Last year tourism brought a massive £121.45 million into Hambleton – with the food and drink industry accounting for £21.29 million of it. And that segment rises year on year.

But it is not all about tourists – it is also important that the district provides top class facilities for our residents. They want good places to eat and drink too – and there is a real hunger for menus offering local dishes.

That’s why in 2004 Hambleton District Council set out to strengthen its links with the food and drink sectors and encourage them to use local produce and develop a distinctive local cuisine.

To celebrate this, the Flavours of Hambleton awards were established – to recognise excellence throughout this district of North Yorkshire.

Every year the number of nominations has also grown -there were almost 2000 this year for 100 businesses. As always that gave the judges a very hard task – mystery shopping each venue was a pleasure for them, but led to some soul searching when it came to choosing the winners!

Breakfast of the Year – Sponsored by the BBC Radio York.
Lovesome Hill Farmhouse at Northallerton – run by Mary and John Pearson
This 165 acre working farm is also a thriving bed and breakfast business – visitors can stay in the farmhouse, in the granary, a cottage or the ‘bunkhouse’ for serious walkers! Mary specialises in good home cooking and her wholesome breakfasts will see those walkers off for a day in the Dales. Home made jam, locally produced honey and sausages from home reared stock are regular features. And there are healthier options on offer if you don’t fancy bacon and eggs. The judges said their visit to Lovesome Hill could not be faulted – a real farmhouse; friendly hosts; excellent quality and home made local produce. And the freshly cooked breakfast was simply described as beautiful!

Food Producer of the Year – sponsored by ‘deliciouslyorkshire’
Sutton Beef and Lamb of Sutton on the Forest – run by Andrew and Janet Stott

Situated on the picturesque Sutton Park estate traditional pedigree Aberdeen angus, dexters and Hampshire down sheep are raised for meat. All stock is suckled naturally, calves are weaned at eight months and then slowly reared to make for good quality meat. The farm also produces its own winter fodder to maintain the high standards it strives for. The finished products are sold direct to the customer and via the annual Huby and Sutton Show although there are plans to sell through a local retailer in the future.
The judges said the standard and quality of the producers who entered this category was second to none but Sutton Beef and Lamb was a business whose supporting customer letters underlined the quality of their product and the service they provide.

Pub Food of the Year sponsored by Northern Select Foods
The Crosby at Thornton le Beans – run by Chris and Moira Robson
After 22 years in the motor trade Chris decided he wanted a change so last year he and Moira took their first foray into the pub business. The pub specialises in good home cooked food – both pub grub and a la carte menus. Chef Malcolm Talbot lists rack of lamb, chicken stuffed with stilton and wrapped with bacon and Sunday roasts as his specialities. And he reputedly does the best Yorkshire puddings in the district – they are so big they struggle to come out of the oven!

The judges selected the Crosby because of the good menu choice, friendly staff, excellent service and value for money and importantly the high standard of food

Outside Caterer of the Year – sponsored by Sugar and Spice Food Profiling and Marketing Specialists.

FIGS of East Harlsey is run by Nicola Calder.
Nicola has been running her small business from her home kitchen for over four years. She is passionate about cooking making sure everyone gets just what they want when she caters for their event – however large or small. Sourcing local products and trying out new suppliers is a big part of the job. And she has had some fierce critics in her time because before this she worked in the music industry cooking for people like – Michael Jackson, Mel C, Paul McCartney and Elizabeth Taylor.

This was another hard call for the judges but it went to the business that has gone from strength to strength in the five years it has been in operation with Weddings,Balls and Family and Corporate Celebrations now forming the backbone of the business. During that time Nicola has tried to ensure that she uses local produce and local suppliers in her menus -using the Deliciously Yorkshire Guide to Food and Drink to source the very best food and ingredients in the County.

Tearoom of the Year – sponsored by ITV Tyne Tees Televison.
Tea Hee of Easingwold run by Sophie Smith.
Opened almost four years ago, this compact café quickly established itself in the market town. Its popularity meant expansion in 2005 – into the shop next door and the garden, doubling its size. Everything is home made – and prepared at the café. Local suppliers are used wherever possible – and the deli means people can take the products they sampled in the shop home!

The judges said Tea Hee just couldn’t be beaten – great food, great atmosphere fruit tea is to die for!

Specialist Retailer of the Year sponsored by Hambleton Ales
Fine Foods of Yorkshire in Easingwold run by Mark and Lucy Taylor
This business has quickly established itself as the place to find quality home products. As many foods as possible are sourced in Yorkshire – and as close to Easingwold as possible. They are already getting set for Xmas with mulled wine bundles and marzipan fruits! Former butcher Mark, has also turned his hand to fishmongery with an impressive selection of fish – all fresh daily.

The judges awarded this category to a business that is described as a ‘real find’ in one of our market towns. From caviar to home made cakes – and beautiful fresh fish

Newcomer of the Year sponsored by Lewis and Cooper from Northallerton
Deli No I in Easingwold – run by Emma and Stephen Coates
Emma and Stephen opened up just over 12 months ago – the previous owners had retired and the residential care home where Emma had been cook had closed. And despite baby Georgina appearing three months ago, who has so far prevented Emma from cooking for the shop, it is going from strength to strength. They believe in providing quality food that is fresh daily using award winning chefs from across North Yorkshire to provide the ready meals, quiches and pastries that are so popular with customers.

The high standard of entrants made judging particularly difficult but Deli No 1 was chosen because of the exceptional quality products and the commitment to local cooking.

Restaurant of the Year sponsored by the Darlington and Stockton Times.
Chapters in Stokesley – owned by Steven and Dawn Bell
Looking for a new challenge Steven bought Chapters in Stokesley High Street and set about revitalising the listed building. And with that in mind he enticed Maltese restauranteur Victor Vassallo and his wife Victoria to come to the UK – Victor as general manager and award winning chef Victoria to look after the gourmet restaurant and bistro. The restaurant seats just 28 diners who prefer a more gourmet meal while the bistro caters for 40 in its relaxed surroundings. And they can try anything from sea bass or plaice to duck, chicken or beef all cooked to Victoria and her teams exacting standards – with ingredients that are all sourced from local suppliers.

The winner was selected because from the moment the judges walked through the door to the point of leaving it felt like a classy establishment. Add to that the high quality food, surroundings and service and we have a worthy winner in Chapters

Village Shop of the Year sponsored by Hambleton District Council.
Tollerton Post Office and Village Stores run by Phillip Lancaster
Philip’s has been in Tollerton for eight years – and this year has also opened Dooleys new store in Easingwold. As a result of that venture the range of stock has increased in Tollerton. He sells a range of locally produced foods – using local bakers, butchers and growers where he can. Bags of liquorice are a customer favourite along with ready made stews and sauces. Hampers, freshly baked breads and a wide range of real ales and wines are also popular. And his neighbour is as busy as ever making Tollerton Stores jams and jellies. And like all local stores a good range of greetings cards is essential!

It was a hard job for the judges and the result was another close call – but they eventually opted for Tollerton Stores – the finalist which stocked a huge range of local produce and always had a helping hand and listening ear for the customer.

Outstanding achievement to the food and drink industry sponsored by Minster Northallerton FM
This award is a little bit special – there was a long list of potential entrants for this category but we had no argument between the judges – they were unanimous in their decision that is should go to a person who has been plying in his trade in the catering world for over 20 years. Not only has he been cooking for us but he has also helped breed new chefs for the industry – James Butterfield!

Everyone in Hambleton will know James as the owner of The Café in Northallerton – a business he opened four years ago but where does he hail from? He has worked as senior chef de partie in a hotel on the Cote D’Azur in France; sous chef at the Cleveland Tontine, senior chef to partie at the five sat Cliveden in Berkshire; and senior sous chef at the Blackwell Grange Moathouse. Add to that five years as chef lecturer at Darlington College of Technology – whe he trained himself – and a year travelling around Australia chefing and he has had a varied life!

At home he likes to cook simple food for his wife and three children! And when time allows he enjoys following football at both Middlesbrough and Newcastle.

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