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2015 Cheshire Life Food and Drink Awards, Midland Hotel, Manchester

PUBLISHED: 00:00 04 December 2015

The team at The Fox and Hounds in Sproston celebrated the win of Cheshire Life Dining Pub of the Year

The team at The Fox and Hounds in Sproston celebrated the win of Cheshire Life Dining Pub of the Year


The county’s culinary elite descended on Manchester’s Midland Hotel for the prestigious Cheshire Life Food and Drink Awards. Emma Mayoh reports

Award sponsor Debbie McAllister, Brynteg Holiday Home Park celebrates with Ray Booker and Jaime McCormack from Simon Radley at the Chester Grosvenor who won Cheshire Life Hotel Restaurant of the Year Award sponsor Debbie McAllister, Brynteg Holiday Home Park celebrates with Ray Booker and Jaime McCormack from Simon Radley at the Chester Grosvenor who won Cheshire Life Hotel Restaurant of the Year

Emotions run high at any awards ceremony. But for the team at the Fox and Hounds at Sproston, it was even more of a rollercoaster. When the country pub was announced the winner of the Cheshire Life Dining Pub of the Year at the prestigious Cheshire Life Food and Drink Awards, the cheers could be heard around The Midland Hotel. The win was not only recognition for their hard work and dedication but for this talented team, it was also a fitting tribute to a special family member.

The Fox and Hounds was a place of solace and good times for Ivy Igoe’s father when he was battling cancer. Family and friends often gathered there to meet him and it is a place filled with happy memories. Tragically, he lost his fight and when daughter, Ivy, saw the pub had closed down, she had to act.

‘It has always been such a special place for us all,’ explained Ivy, who owns the pub. ‘My father really liked it there. When I saw that is was closed, I just couldn’t let it happen and stay that way.

‘It has been incredible having the Fox and Hounds. It has been the perfect way to remember some of our happy times with my father. I really hope he would have liked what we have done. He would be very proud of us getting this award. It is just amazing. I’m lost for words.’

Ever since the venue has been attracting discerning diners from around the north west. The kitchen is lead by chefs Mukesh Siyani and Joe Liptrot. The award is recognition for their hard work.

‘To win an award like this, which means so much in the Cheshire area and where our customers have nominated us is just fantastic,’ said Mukesh. ‘It is a reward for all of the hard work we all put in at the Fox and Hounds.’

There were also big cheers for the team from Simon Radley at The Chester Grosvenor which was named the Cheshire Life Hotel Restaurant of the Year. This iconic restaurant, which has retained its Michelin star since 1990 and has four AA rosettes, is an industry heavyweight. The award was collected by restaurant manager, Jaime McCormack and head chef, Ray Booker.

Tomas Maunier celebrated the win for Fazenda, Spinningfields for Manchester Restaurant of the Year Tomas Maunier celebrated the win for Fazenda, Spinningfields for Manchester Restaurant of the Year

Jaime, who joined the Simon Radley team at the start of 2015 and has worked around the world, said: ‘It is an absolute honour. We feel very privileged to be recognised in this way.

‘We do this every day of the week and take great pride in it. To have that noticed is a good feeling. Simon will be over the moon. He will be delighted that his team have done this. We’re overjoyed. ’

There was a big surprise for John and Juliette-Anne Bourne, of HS Bourne cheeses, whose family has been making Cheshire Cheese in the county since 1930. Their Mrs Bourne’s Mature Cheese, a flagship of the Malpas-based food producer, was named as the North West Food Product of the Year – a new category at this year’s ceremony.

John said: ‘I am utterly speechless. When friends invited us to this wonderful occasion, we had no clue we would win an award. It is an incredible surprise.

‘We are very proud and shocked to have received this. We love what we do and don’t expect awards. We are very pleased but we will also continue to hide our tiny light under a very large bushel.’

There was also another surprise for Tim Bacon, restaurateur and founder of successful company, Living Ventures, who was named Cheshire Life Food Hero of the Year. Tim, who had just left hospital where he had been having treatment for cancer, has transformed dining in areas including Manchester, Cheshire and further afield with the opening of fabulous venues including Manchester House. His former colleague, Dave Hinds, who has now retired from the business, collected the award.

‘He will be very pleased with this,’ said Dave. ‘Tim loves awards. He will be thrilled and he really deserves it. He has a great passion for what he does.

‘I’m very pleased to collect this award for him. He has not only been a business partner but a great friend and I’m so happy to see his efforts recognised.’

The Lancashire Life and Cheshire Life Chef of the Year, Paul Askew, of The Art School, Liverpool, receiving his award from Paul Robinson of sponsors, Robinson's Brewery, with host, Melissa Porter The Lancashire Life and Cheshire Life Chef of the Year, Paul Askew, of The Art School, Liverpool, receiving his award from Paul Robinson of sponsors, Robinson's Brewery, with host, Melissa Porter

The Cheshire Life Food & Drink Awards is an evening that reveals the county’s shining stars and celebrates the finest hotels, dining pubs, restaurants, food producers and chefs. The celebrations could be heard around Manchester’s Midland Hotel at the prestigious annual event, a staple of the north west’s culinary calendar. More than 300 of the region’s culinary elite filled the Deansgate Suite for the gala evening.

Venues were nominated by our readers. The shortlist and winners were chosen by a panel of independent judges comprising Cheshire Life editor Louise Taylor, highly regarded food consultant Rosemary Watts, Trevor Stone, who headed the AstraZeneca catering operation, Lancashire Life editor Roger Borrell, Nick Hatch, chef and lecturer with 35 years in the hospitality and catering industry and food and drink writer, Ray King.

Other winners included Fazenda that was named Manchester Restaurant of the Year, Chester’s Sticky Walnut that won the Cheshire Life Restaurant of the Year, Bodysgallen Hall and Spa who received the North Wales Dining Excellence of the Year accolade and Booths who were named North West Independent Retailer of the Year.

It was a particularly special night for Paul Askew and his team at The Art School Restaurant. Paul had so much faith in his new venture that he mortgaged his house to help pay for the restaurant, which is located in what was Liverpool University’s sculpture and life drawing room in Sugnall Street. Not only did he want a new challenge but he also wanted to showcase and celebrate the changing tastes and fantastic food in Liverpool and the North. Not only did the fine dining venue receive a Restaurant of the Year award but the renowned chef, who has over 35 years in the industry including being a former director and chef of Hope Street Hotel and The London Carriage Works Restaurant, was awarded the prestigious North West Chef of the Year title.

He said: ‘I am absolutely overwhelmed. I have been around for a long time but these kinds of things don’t get any less surprising. I don’t do my job for these things but it is incredibly nice and amazing to be appreciated. Wow, I can’t believe it. I’m in shock.

‘To get the Restaurant of the Year award is not only great for me, but more importantly for the guys who make up our incredible team. To see their faces when we were announced the winner was just magical. They will be celebrating for some time.’

All of the winners were presented with the coveted Cheshire Life Food and Drink Awards plaques to display as well as celebratory prosecco. But no one left empty handed as all those shortlisted also took home commemorative plates. There was also £1,905 raised for Jump Children’s Charity who deliver unique services to families with children with life limiting illnesses.


All the winners of the 2015 Cheshire Life Food and Drink Awards 




To start

Kiln roast salmon from Patchwork Pate, pickled beetroot, smoked salmon, cold and hot and dill fluid gel

Served with Frederico Collezione Pinot Grigio or Dizzy Blonde ale


To continue

Braised Grassroots beef, pearl barley, boudin blanc, confit carrot, wild mushrooms and cavolo nero

Served with Casarena Malbec Roble or Unicorn bitter


To finish

Destiny Foods dark chocolate tart, Mrs Dowson’s pear drop ice cream and poached pear William

Served with Ginger Tom dark ale


A taste of Orson handmade cheeses and Butlers Farmhouse cheeses


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