Former Northcote chef Michael Ward has been crowned Pub Chef of the Year at this year’s PubChef Food Excellence Awards.
Ward, who works as head chef at The Highwayman in Lancashire, one of the Ribble Valley Inn pubs set up by Northcote’s owners Nigel Haworth and Craig Bancroft, picked up his award at the ceremony at Plaisterers` Hall in London last night.
This year 18 awards were given out to chefs, pub companies and individuals by the competition’s organiser, BigHospitality’s sister publication Pub Chef.
Winners in the chef’s competition included Ben Abercrombie of the Helyar Arms in Somerset who won the Young Pub Chef category and the team at the Bell Inn in Horndon on the Hill, Essex.
Five pub companies and three individuals were also rewarded at the event. Mike Bramley, managing director of the Pubs & Bars division of Mitchells &†Butlers was given the Special Achievement award, while Alex Tipping of The Royal Oak in Poynings, West Sussex, was named Food Pub Manager of the Year.
Whitbread, Innventure and Admiral Taverns were among the companies awarded in the Pubco categories.
The chefs’ competition involves a five-month search for the UK’s top pub chefs, from chefs entering recipes and background information on their food businesses to a paper judging and cook-off finals. Competition judges include Alastair Sawday’s Pubs & Inns Guide editor David Hancock, Which? Good Food Guide editor Elizabeth Cater, Craft Guild of Chefs chief executive Martin Bates and Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge.
The winners are:
Young Pub Chef
Sponsored by: Budvar
Winner: Ben Abercrombi, Helyar Arms, East Coker, near Yeovil, Somerset
Dish: Roast guinea fowl breast with confit leg with parsnip and vanilla puree and morel and truffle jus
Finalists: Yarsley Bradley from the Horse and Groom, Charlton, Wiltshire; Christopher Carter from the Bell Inn, Horndon on the Hill, Essex
Winner:Simon Goodman, Duke of Cumberland Arms, Fernhurst, West Sussex
Dish: Organic salmon, selsey crab thai potato cake, mange tout, sweet chilli butter and baby samphire
Finalists: Arpad Hubai from the Ring O’Bells, Thornton, West Yorkshire; Ian Smith from the Fountain Inn, Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire
Sponsored by: Game to Eat
Winner: Michael Ward, Highwayman Inn, Kirkby Lonsdale, Lancashire
Dish: Partridge with black pudding croquet, creamed mash, Forages bacon and juniper sauce
Finalists: Simon Winson from the Orange Tree, Thornham, Norfolk; Tim Payne from the Paradise by way of Kensal Green, London
Chef: Mathieu Eke, Helyar Arms, Yeovil, Somerset
Dish: Probably the best steak sandwich in the world
Finalists: Calum Wilcock from the Three Fishes, Mitton, Lancashire; James Rogers from the Dog, Grundisburgh, Suffolk
Sponsored by: Royal Greenland
Winner: Michael McBride, Shoulder of Mutton Inn, Kirkby Overblow, North Yorkshire
Dish: Pan fried fillets of black bream, saffron potatoes and cabbage
Highly commended: Charlotte Barr from the Old Mill, Berkhamstead, Hertfordshire
Finalist: Ross Williams from the Wellington in Wellington, Herefordshire
Sponsored by: AAK
Winner: Philip Milner, Orange Tree, Thornham, King’s Lynn, Norfolk
Dish: Chargrilled cornfed chicken and mushroom pie, smoked bacon mash, Norfolk glazed carrots
Finalists: Richard Upton from the Three Fishes, Mitton, Lancashire; Anthony Williams from The Williams Arms, Braunton, Devon
Sponsored by: Tilda Foodservice
Winner: Stuart Fay and Stephen Treadwell, The Bell Inn, Horndon on the Hill, Essex
Menu: Starter: Cornish crab tortellini with red wine poached scallop, crab bisque and salmon tuile
Main: Wild rabbit saddle in herb mousse with fondant potato, rabbit leg ballottine and chestnut mushrooms
Dessert: Dark chocolate fondant with hazelnut ice cream and praline.
Finalists: David Deacon and Michael McBride from the Shoulder of Mutton Inn, Kirkby Overblow, North Yorkshire; Tom Lowe from the Railway Gastro Pub, Euxton, Lancashire; Ross Williams and Rupert Davis from the Wellington in Wellington, Herefordshire
Winner: Thomas Pickering, Three Fishes, Mitton, nr Whalley, Lancashire
Dish: Devilled breast of cornfed Goosnargh chicken, devil sauce, chunky chips, onion rings, watercress and field mushrooms.
Highly-commended: Philip Milner from the Orange Tree, Thornham, Norfolk
Finalist: Ashley McCarthy from Ye Old Sun Inn, Colton, North Yorkshire
Winner: James Angus Rogers, Dog Inn, Grundisburgh, Suffolk
Dish: Bone marrow bread and bitter pudding with quince and lemon ice cream.
Highly-commended: Tamara Cookson from the Three Fishes, Mitton, Lancashire
Finalist: Annette Brassey from Ye Olde Punch Bowl Inn, Marton cum Grafton, Yorkshire
Sponsor: Essential Cuisine
Winner: Justin Brown, Carnarvon Arms, Bughclere, Newbury, Berkshire
Dish: Double cooked shoulder of Highclere estate lamb, roast garlic mash, kurly kale and a rosemary sauce
Finalists: Tim Payne from the Paradise by Way of Kensal Green, London; Simon Goodman from the Duke of Cumberland Arms, Fernhurst, West Sussex
Pub Chef of the Year 2009
Winner: Michael Ward, Highwayman Inn, Nether Burrow, Lancashire
Highly-commended: Tom Lowe of the Railway Inn, at Euxton, Lancashire
Food Pub Manager of the Year 2009
Winner: Alex Tipping, Royal Oak, Poynings, West Sussex
Highly commended: Leanne Langman from the Swan, Milton Keynes
Finalist: Andrea Solinas from the Avalon Public House and Garden, London
Mike Bramley, managing director Pubs & Bars division of Mitchells & Butlers.
Green Initiative of the Year (Food)
Winner: Mill Race, Walford, Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire
Highly-commended: The Earth & Stars, Brighton, East Sussex
Finalist: Battlesteads Country Inn & Restaurant in Hexham, Northumberland.
Pub Company Food Awards
PubChef’s pub company food awards recognise development and innovation within pubco’s food offers with the last year.
Food Concept of the Year
Winner: Whitbread’s Taybarns
Finalists: Grand Union Group’s – burger and cocktail bars; Greene King’s Hungry Horse
Food Operator of the Year (unbranded)
Finalists: Youngs; ETM Group
Food Operator of the Year (branded)
Finalists: Marstons Inns & Taverns; Greene King
Catering development professional
Sponsor: TSC Foods
Winner: Sam Pedder, Admiral Taverns
Highly-commended: Janine Wills from Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants
Finalist: Scott Ferguson from Wadworth