County caterers set to battle it out

The Royal Oak at Hurdlow will be hoping to hold on to the title of traditional pub of the year.
The Royal Oak at Hurdlow will be hoping to hold on to the title of traditional pub of the year.

Businesses from across the High Peak and Hope Valley are hoping for the sweet taste of success in the Derbyshire Food and Drink Awards, which take place tonight (Thursday).

Organised by Derbyshire County Council, the awards celebrate the county’s best catering businesses serving locally sourced food on their menus.

Celebrity chef Valentine Warner will crown the winners at the ceremony, which is taking place at Chesterfield Football Club’s Proact Stadium.

Buxton’s Simply Thai restaurant has been shortlisted in the best international restaurant category, while the Royal Oak in Hurdlow, and the Packhorse Inn in Little Longstone are among those battling it out in the traditional pub of the year category.

The Three Roofs Cafe in Castleton, 6 The Square Tearooms in Buxton and Woodlands Tea Room in Charlesworth are among the finalists in the tea room/coffee house of the year category.

Bakewell’s Naughty and Nice, and Village Green in Eyam have both been shortlisted in the cafe of the year category while the Samuel Fox Country Inn in Bradwell will compete for the title of best newcomer.

Councillor Joan Dixon, Derbyshire County Council Cabinet Member for Jobs, Economy and Transport, said: “Derbyshire is lucky to have some outstanding food and drink outlets and our awards give them the recognition they deserve.”

Entries are judged on a number of criteria including quality of food and drink served, customer service, use of county produce and acknowledgement of it on menus.

They are assessed by an independent panel of food specialists and each short-listed venue has a mystery shopper visit before final decisions are made.

Shortlisted entries in four categories – Restaurant of the Year, Gastro Pub of the Year, Best International Restaurant, and Best Newcomer – have been visited by experts from the Taste Derbyshire scheme in association with Quality in Tourism which is backed by VisitEngland and will be awarded bronze, silver or gold status.