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Food Reader Awards 2015 winners revealed

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The winners of the Food Reader Awards 2015 were announced last night (January 26) in a fabulous foodie awards ceremony at Yeo Valley HQ in Blagdon, Somerset

Photography by Guy Harrop.

Foodies from across the South West gathered to find out who had picked up accolades at a funky awards ceremony held at Fodder @ YVHQ restaurant at the headquarters of lead sponsor Yeo Valley.

Among the winners were Michelin-starred chef Hywel Jones of Lucknam Park Hotel and Spa, who faced tough competition in the Best Chef category from Paul Ainsworth of Michelin-starred Paul Ainsworth at No 6 in Padstow, and Liam Finnegan of The Castle at Taunton in Somerset.

Best Restaurant was awarded to Combe House near Honiton in Devon: a hotly contested category which included Paul Ainsworth, The Arundell Arms in Lifton and The Ethicurean in Bristol.

Vanesther Rees, winner of the Best Blogger category, said: ‘I’m seriously chuffed to win this award, with the calibre of people here tonight, I feel unworthy! Thank you to everyone who voted for me.’

Best Farm Shop winner James Dart of Darts Farm, commented: ‘A big thank you to the public who voted for us, the team who work so hard and the producers who supply us with fantastic seasonal and local produce.’

‘We were up against such strong competition, we feel honoured to win,’ said Simon Buckingham of Best Cafe winner Boston Tea Party, which has cafes across the South West.

The guests were treated to a fantastic seasonal menu prepared by Yeo Valley’s chefs, matched with beers from Sharp’s Brewery and ciders from Thatchers. There were refreshing beverages from Luscombe Drinks on offer and champagne drinks were provided by Bibendum.

Food Magazine and Food Insider’s Guide readers voted in their thousands to whittle down the region’s best restaurants, hotels, cafes, pubs, products chefs and more. Nine thousand readers cast 40,000 votes for 150 businesses – a phenomenal response to this year’s awards and the best yet.

Food Magazine editor Jo Rees, who hosted the Big Night said: ‘It was a star studded VIP event which celebrated the best in food, drink and hospitality across the South West.

‘We’re thrilled that our readers feel so strongly about these magnificent businesses that they’ve voted for them in their thousands, and a huge congratulations must go out to all of the finalists, regardless of whether they won award on the night – to get to the top three in a category is a serious achievement.

‘As with last year’s event, Yeo Valley did us proud, putting on a terrific evening, and our sponsors brought wonderful products and a lot of fun to the evening.’

To get involved in next year’s awards, please contact Nick Cooper at Salt Media: nick@saltmedia.co.uk.

The Food Reader Awards 2015 winners

Best Chef – sponsored by Sharp’s Brewery


Hywel Jones, Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa, Bath


Paul Ainsworth, Paul Ainsworth @ No 6, Padstow

Liam Finnegan, The Castle at Taunton

Local Food Hero – sponsored by Yeo Valley


Nathan Outlaw, Restaurant Nathan Outlaw


Michael Caines MBE, Gidleigh Park

Mitch Tonks, The Seahorse

Best Restaurant – sponsored by Total Produce


Combe House, Honiton


Paul Ainsworth at No6, Padstow

The Arundell Arms, Lifton

The Ethicurean, Wrington

Best Hotel – sponsored by Jelf Insurance


The Queensberry, Bath


The Two Bridges, Dartmoor

Merchants Manor, Falmouth

Best Cafe – sponsored by Havana Coffee Co


Boston Tea Party, across the South West


Strangers with Coffee, Wells

Strong Adolfo’s, Wadebridge

Best Foodie Pub – sponsored by Thatchers


The Ship Inn, Wadebridge


The Treby Arms, Plympton

The Cornish Arms, Tavistock

Best Drink – sponsored by Impact


Sharp’s Doom Bar


Thatchers Cider

Tribute Ale

Best Foodie Product – sponsored by Michelmores


Rodda’s Clotted Cream


LittlePod Vanilla

Cornish Sea Salt

Best Independent Retailer


Chandos Deli, across the South West


Baker Tom, Pool

The Fine Cheese Co, Bath

Best Blogger – sponsored by Rodda’s


Bangers & Mash


Hells Belles’ Bites

Wuthering Bites

Best Farm Shop – sponsored by Salt Media


Darts Farm, Topsham


Padstow Farm Shop, Cornwall

Bartlett’s Farm Shop, Honiton

Best Cookery School – sponsored by Helpful Holidays


Rick Stein’s Seafood School, Padstow


Ashburton Cookery School, Ashburton

Demuths Cookery School, Bath

Best Wine List


Gidleigh Park, Chagford


Combe House, Honiton

The Seafood Restaurant, Padstow

The Scarlet, Mawgan Porth

Starter at the Food Reader Awards

On the menu

Pickled vegetable arancini
Crostini of Holt Farm’s steak tartare
Selection of Castellano’s charcuterie and cornichons
Exmoor Blue cheese biscuits
Crispy deep fried poached quail eggs

Sharp’s Cornish Pilsner | Thatchers Gold

Yeo Valley sourdough with its own salted butter

Hot smoked Blagdon Trout
Community Farm leeks, horseradish cream, Severn Project salad

Sharp’s Chalky’s Bite | Thatchers Katy

Roast Fillet of Holt Farms Beef
Shallot confit, red wine sauce, cavolo nero and salsify

Sharp’s Wolf Rock | Thatchers Vintage

Dark chocolate tart
Yeo Valley Madagascan vanilla ice cream, salted caramel sauce, Rodda’s clotted cream

Sharp’s Dubbel Coffee Stout | Thatchers Rosé

Selection of local artisan cheeses

Sharp’s 6 vintage blend | Thatchers Old Rascal