<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Cheshire Life today click here

2017 Cheshire Life Food and Drink Awards, Carden Park Hotel

PUBLISHED: 00:00 29 November 2017

Cheshire Life's Chef of the Year is Carden Park's own Executive Head Chef, Graham Tinsley receiving the award from Ranjan Hasan of Foster and Kane

Cheshire Life's Chef of the Year is Carden Park's own Executive Head Chef, Graham Tinsley receiving the award from Ranjan Hasan of Foster and Kane

Archant

We reveal what made the judges’ minds up on the winners at this year’s 2017 Food and Drinks Awards.

Winner of the Tearoom/Cafe of the Year Award was the team at the Gardener's Cottage at Tatton Park. Photographed here with award sponsor, James Green of Tea from the Manor Winner of the Tearoom/Cafe of the Year Award was the team at the Gardener's Cottage at Tatton Park. Photographed here with award sponsor, James Green of Tea from the Manor

Cheshire Life Tearoom/Café of the Year sponsored by Tea from the Manor

The Gardener’s Cottage at Tatton Park

Gardener’s Cottage Tearoom is one reason to visit Tatton Park as it now has a tearoom fit for a Queen, serving breakfast, lunch, sandwiches and of course excellent afternoon teas.

The judges said: This is a tearoom fit for a Queen. It’s in a stunning setting - a place everyone in Cheshire will know well - and it serves breakfast, lunch, sandwiches and that most English of indulgences, afternoon tea. Where else would you be able to enjoy that treat with views of an orchard and an historic walled garden?

Family Dining of the Year was awarded to The Fishpool Inn, Delamere. Photographed here are Dominic Barbet, James Tough, David Boutflour, Paul Prescott and Anthony Jamhour. Family Dining of the Year was awarded to The Fishpool Inn, Delamere. Photographed here are Dominic Barbet, James Tough, David Boutflour, Paul Prescott and Anthony Jamhour.

Cheshire Life Family Dining of the Year sponsored by Total Foodservice

Fishpool Inn, Delamere

The Fishpool Inn in Delamere has a décor that celebrates Cheshire culture and a rustic, homely menu to match.

The judges said: This 18th-century family-owned pub seamlessly blends the traditional with the contemporary. Menus are seasonal and use the best of British ingredients, so expect the likes of Muncaster crab or confit of Gressingham Duck leg. Superior pub grub staples include scampi with chunky chips, a hand-crafted pie of the day and a barbecued pulled pork burger served with apple and celeriac slaw. Children have their own menu, dogs are welcome, and there’s a large garden in which dogs and kids can take the air.

Independent Retailer of the Year was awarded to Grantham's, Alderley Edge. Photographed here is award sponsor David Wells of Joseph Heler with Gordon Burns who accepted the award on behalf of the winners. Independent Retailer of the Year was awarded to Grantham's, Alderley Edge. Photographed here is award sponsor David Wells of Joseph Heler with Gordon Burns who accepted the award on behalf of the winners.

Cheshire Life Independent Retailer sponsored by Joseph Heler Cheese

Grantham’s, Alderley Edge

Grantham’s Fine Food and Wine in Alderley Edge does exactly what its name promises, stocking a wide range of exciting products.

The judges said: This is a firm which does exactly what its name suggests. It is a purveyor of the finer things in life, be they wines, beers, breads from local bakers, the best dry-cured bacon and a surprisingly comprehensive range of Greek delicatessen products. And don’t forget that dazzling array of over 150 British and European cheeses, many from dedicated small artisan producers. This is a shop where you’re spoilt for choice, and if you really can’t choose, they’ll do it for you in the shape of their luxury hampers.

Dining Pub of the Year was awarded to The Church Inn, Mobberley. Photographed here is award sponsor Henry Stephenson of Stephensons with Simon Umpleby and Will Atherton. Dining Pub of the Year was awarded to The Church Inn, Mobberley. Photographed here is award sponsor Henry Stephenson of Stephensons with Simon Umpleby and Will Atherton.

Cheshire Life Dining Pub of the Year sponsored by Stephenson’s catering equipment

The Church Inn, Mobberley

Church Inn in Mobberley is a real country pub that was reopened in 2013 after being bought in a near-derelict state.

The judges said: What are the three ingredients that turn a meal out into a great dining experience? Service, food and ambience of course – all of which our Dining Pub of the Year has in abundance. Menus here don’t start with appetisers but with ‘in season’, listing seasonal ingredients that can all be found in the dishes to follow. Sharing plates, elevated traditional pub food and local ingredients feature in a menu delivering memorable food at prices charged at the more mediocre end of the restaurant business. This is a pub getting everything right.

Food or Drink Product of the Year was awarded to Joseph Heler, Cheshire Cheese. Photographed here is award sponsor Paul Bayliss MBE of Carden Park with Gwyn Jones and David Wells. Food or Drink Product of the Year was awarded to Joseph Heler, Cheshire Cheese. Photographed here is award sponsor Paul Bayliss MBE of Carden Park with Gwyn Jones and David Wells.

Cheshire Life Food or Drink Product of the Year Sponsored by Carden Park Hotel

Joseph Heler – Cheshire Cheese

Joseph Heler’s grandmother started making cheese at Laurel’s farm over a century ago and since the formation of Joseph Heler Cheese in 1957, two more generations have since joined the business.

The judges said: This is a firm which takes a staple product for which Cheshire is most famed, and turns it into another product for which the county is, perhaps, even better known. And they’ve got rather good at it because the skills have been handed down the generations for over a century, though the company as we now know it was formed a mere 60 years ago. Traditional they may be in their craft and techniques, but that has not stopped this company innovating, introducing new ranges. To quote Monty Python’s Life of Brian: ‘Blessed are the cheesemakers...’

North Wales Dining Excellence was awarded to Palé Hall, Bala. Photographed here is Pim Wolfs with award sponsor Marc Gough, Whitehouse Event Crockery North Wales Dining Excellence was awarded to Palé Hall, Bala. Photographed here is Pim Wolfs with award sponsor Marc Gough, Whitehouse Event Crockery

North Wales Dining Excellence sponsored by Whitehouse Event Crockery

Palé Hall, Bala

Pale Hall is a grand country house hotel with real allure for the foodie and a stunning ‘eclectic Jacobean’ style.

The judges said: Imagine a grand house in Jacobean style, surrounded by woodland and rolling lawns, set in a particularly picturesque part of the Dee valley. Now imagine, amid all this grandeur, a dining room using all the best local bounty of land and sea to magic up recipes created in collaboration with one of the nation’s most renowned Michelin-starred chefs Michael Caines. Well, you don’t have to imagine it; we’ve been there...and so should you

Outstanding Customer Service was awarded to Blackberry Grove. Photographed here is Joanna Jones Outstanding Customer Service was awarded to Blackberry Grove. Photographed here is Joanna Jones

Cheshire Life Outstanding Customer Service Award sponsored by Porsche

Blackberry Grove

The judges said: Setting up an independent neighbourhood restaurant is a brave move, but get it right and you will forge a real bond with your local community. Our award -winner tries hard, very hard to produce great fresh food on a small menu that keeps its customers happy. Vegetarians and vegans are catered for with the same care as meat-eaters. Gluten-free? Yes that’s catered for too.

The café style turns into a busy restaurant and bar at night with regular themed evenings. The owners strive to make this business attractive to their community, and the community seem to have taken them to their hearts.

City Restaurant of the Year was awarded to Asha's. Photographed here are Ashwani Rangta, Deepak Yadav and Sudheer Bastian City Restaurant of the Year was awarded to Asha's. Photographed here are Ashwani Rangta, Deepak Yadav and Sudheer Bastian

City Restaurant of the Year sponsored by Taylor Lynn Corporation

Asha’s Peter Street, Manchester city centre

Asha’s in Manchester is one of a string of restaurants worldwide and serves 21st century Indian cuisine to the cities beloved people.

The judges said: Our city restaurants are all in Manchester, and that is a city which has long embraced the cuisine of the Indian sub-continent. It’s even got its own Curry Mile. Our winning restaurant takes all our expectations of the perfect curry house and raises them with fresh takes on traditional dishes, cocktails, funky desserts and a dining room of such glittery opulence that this is where all the beautiful people want to go to dunk their poppadums.

Food Hero of the Year was awarded to Adrian Lawrence Food Hero of the Year was awarded to Adrian Lawrence

Cheshire Life Food Hero of the Year sponsored by Cheshire Bride Magazine

Adrian Lawrence

Adrian has spent decades creating one of the most prestigious events on the food lovers’ calendar. What started out as a local celebration of agriculture and cheese, is now a major event, involving thousands of participants and attracting record crowds every year.

Adrian recently received the MBE in recognition of his services to agriculture, the rural economy and of course the Nantwich community. He has served more than 40 years on the Nantwich Show Committee only stepping down from his 25-year post as the show’s chairman in 2013 but there is no disputing that he has played a major role in making the Nantwich Show an iconic event that just gets better every year.

Newcomer of the Year was awarded to the team at Opera Grill, Chester Newcomer of the Year was awarded to the team at Opera Grill, Chester

Cheshire Life Newcomer of the Year sponsored by Hallgarten Druitt

Opera Grill, Chester

Opera Grill sits in a grand former Methodist chapel in the heart of Chester and boasts an eclectic menu and a stunning modern interior.

The judges said: It’s a sign of the vibrancy of the dining scene of Cheshire that this was such a tough call to make. In the end it was difficult to ignore a restaurant whose gobsmacking scale and ambition was equal to the grandeur of its name. Behind the colonnaded entrance to a former Methodist chapel, a dramatic new restaurant took shape, the result of a £3million investment. Decor is a stunning mix of orange banquettes, marble table tops, exposed brickwork and artfully distressed plaster. The menu is world-shrinkingly eclectic, and many of those ingredients are on show behind shop-style counters. It’s all enough to make the fat lady sing for joy...

Restaurant of the Year was awarded to Brassiere Blanc, Knutsford. Photographed here is award sponsor Tom Warsop of Gourmet Guide with David Sutton and James Billson Restaurant of the Year was awarded to Brassiere Blanc, Knutsford. Photographed here is award sponsor Tom Warsop of Gourmet Guide with David Sutton and James Billson

Cheshire Life Restaurant of the Year sponsored by Gourmet Guide

Brasserie Blanc, Knutsford

Brasserie Blanc is a French brasserie set in a characterful Royal Georgian building in Knutsford and is owned by chef Raymond Blanc.

The judges said: The stated aim of this restaurant was to create a place as warm and welcoming as a family home. Almost immediately, the customers did indeed make themselves at home, enjoying such French classics as moules marinieres, boeuf bourguignon and one of the best cheese soufflés you’ll find. Set menus of £11.95 for two courses merely added to the appeal. We needed no more excuse to make this our winner, but it helped that this was another venture from one of the nation’s most tireless, talented and engaging chefs.

Cheshire Life Chef of the Year was awarded to Graham Tinsley MBE. Cheshire Life Chef of the Year was awarded to Graham Tinsley MBE.

Cheshire Life Chef of the Year sponsored by Foster and Kane

Graham Tinsley MBE, Executive Chef of Carden Park

Graham has worked all over the world. He has inspired other budding chefs to take up the pots and pans of the professional kitchen and he has reaped rewards for his culinary expertise.

This is no ordinary chef. He’s cooked for royalty and heads of state including our very own Queen and the Emperor of Japan no less. He has worked in prestigious venues like the five star Atlantis Sheraton in Zurich and alongside Anton Mosiman in London and he was head chef at the Lord Daresbury Hotel in Warrington before setting up the first four star hotel in North Wales – St David’s Park Hotel in Ewloe. Not only that, but he has steered the Welsh National Cookery team to glory helping them to become the most successful in the nation’s history.

Cheshire Life Chef of the Year was awarded to Graham Tinsley MBE. Photographed here are Paul Bayliss MBE, Wendy Carman, Peter Pattenden, Graham Tinsley MBE, Andrea Green and Dan Gibson. Cheshire Life Chef of the Year was awarded to Graham Tinsley MBE. Photographed here are Paul Bayliss MBE, Wendy Carman, Peter Pattenden, Graham Tinsley MBE, Andrea Green and Dan Gibson.

Winners’ reactions

Nothing could have stopped Carden Park’s executive head chef from running the kitchen at this year’s Cheshire Life Food and Drink Awards. Graham Tinsley MBE had endured painful keyhole surgery two days before the big event but he was undeterred and served up a superb dinner to the county’s culinary elite. But Graham got more of a reward than just job satisfaction. He was surprised and delighted to be called onto the stage and declared Chef of the Year.

‘It’s not what I expected at all. I looked at the category and wondered who it would be, but I never put myself down as a contender. We were just getting ready to go on stage to take a bow and I started to hear my CV, and I said to the team, this is me lads,’ beamed Graham, who has been on quite a journey at the luxurious hotel near Chester since it opened in 1997.

He left in 2000 to open the Castle Hotel in Conwy (where he still remains a director), but rejoined the team at Carden after an absence of ten years in 2011. ‘Carden has always had a very special place in my heart. I was here when it opened 20 years ago, and even when I left and then returned, as soon as I was coming up the driveway and I knew I was back home.’

Graham wasn’t the only winner who was shocked to learn that they had been selected by our judges as the crème de la crème of Cheshire and beyond. The panel, comprising of Cheshire Life editor, Louise Allen-Taylor, hospitality lecturer and event organiser, Jacqueline Hughes-Lundy, Cheshire Life journalist and food writer, Janet Reeder, and Trevor Stone, previous head of catering and hospitality at AstraZeneca, had selected 11 other shining stars who picked up a coveted award over the course of the glamorous evening.

The winner of one of the three new categories this year appeared speechless when she scooped the award for Outstanding Customer Service. Joanna Jones, owner of Blackberry Grove in New Brighton, spoke of how the award meant so much to her and proves that the independent eatery and bar is moving in the right direction.

‘When event host Andy Crane was talking about this award, I said to my table, this is the one we are going to go for next year. Then all of a sudden, he starts to mention vegan, vegetarian and gluten free menus and I thought – this is us! I had to rush to put my heels back on, I had no idea. Awards like this our vital to us, for a small independent business to be recognised by a magazine as established as this. I’m gobsmacked.’

Other winners on the night included Nantwich’s Joseph Heler, who scooped Cheshire Life Food Product of the Year for their Cheshire Cheese; Family Dining of the Year was awarded to The Fishpool Inn in Delamere; Gardener’s Cottage Tearoom at Tatton Park were crowned Cheshire Life Tearoom/Café of the Year; Church Inn in Mobberley was named Dining Pub of the Year and Grantham’s Fine Food and Wine in Alderley Edge took home Independent Retailer of the Year after narrowly missing out in 2016.

The staff from City Restaurant of the Year, Asha’s in Manchester, couldn’t have looked more proud as they accepted their award on stage, and their reaction was rivalled by Newcomer of the Year, Opera Grill, Chester, who erupted in cheers when they were named winners of their prize.

After opening their doors just under a year ago, Brasserie Blanc in Knutsford swooped in and took home the highly desired Cheshire Life Restaurant of the Year, an award which general manager, James Billson, knows in the industry is a big one to win. ‘Raymond Blanc wants to bring more up north, so we’re very proud to have won this. We’re fine dining that’s not stuffy – just great food and ambience to match.’

Another new destination on the dining scene, winner of the North Wales Dining Excellence of the Year is the first award that luxurious five star hotel, Pale Hall, has taken home since opening a few months ago. The stunning Jacobean style house in Bala was given a new lease of life by Alan and Angela Harper, and together with a menu created in association with Michelin-star chef Michael Caines and head chef Gareth Stevenson, it appears to be a winning combination.

‘This will always be a very special award for us, as it’s the first on this amazing journey that we are taking,’ said general manager, Pim Wolfs. ‘We want to not only be the best hotel in North Wales, but the country. Credit goes to Gareth, this is really his award and it’s a shame he couldn’t be here to collect it.’

It was simply a night out for the Cheshire Life Food Hero of the Year, Adrian Lawrence, who was enjoying what he described as a wonderful evening before being surprised with the award. Since 1987, Adrian has played a key role in creating one of the most prestigious events on the food lovers’ calendar, the Nantwich Show and the International Cheese Awards. This local celebration of agriculture and cheese now draws record crowds each year, with many visitors travelling from around the globe.

‘The award is so much appreciated but so unexpected. The family won’t believe it when I tell them; it’s such a tremendous honour and is brilliant for both the show and the cheese awards. They bring attention to south Cheshire and Nantwich, a place where many people who are travelling in to be a part of it will never have seen or even heard of before.’

More from Food & Drink

So why does Raymond Blanc sing ‘God Save The Queen’ at Christmas? On a visit to his Knutsford brasserie - Cheshire Life Restaurant of the Year 2017- the chef tells Janet Reeder all about his family’s festive celebration.

Read more
Yesterday, 12:37

We’ve compiled a guide of top tips from culinary experts to help you with your festive feast.

Read more
Christmas
Mon, 00:00

You may not find a partridge in a pear tree in every local store but you’re almost guaranteed a festive shopping experience with a personal touch, writes Janet Reeder. Here, in no particular order, are 12 of her favourite Cheshire shops,

Read more
Christmas
Friday, December 8, 2017

Enjoy a taste of South India at Marple’s wonderfully colourful Chaat Cart, writes Janet Reeder.

Read more
Asian Food Cheshire Restaurants Marple
Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Enjoy a delicious Sunday Brunch or Roast Beef and take the optional bottomless Prosecco for 2 hours.

Read more
Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Tom Yam is an award winning Thai restaurant in Poynton, Cheshire, that’s unlike any other in the UK - we offer premium-quality food created by highly-trained Thai chefs.

Read more
Sunday, December 3, 2017

Digest this mini-review in 60 seconds

Read more
Cheshire Restaurants Bollington Spanish Food
Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Allium by Mark Ellis in Tattenhall took ‘seasonal’ to a new level at our latest Cheshire Life lunch

Read more
Cheshire Life Luncheon
Wednesday, November 29, 2017

We reveal what made the judges’ minds up on the winners at this year’s 2017 Food and Drinks Awards.

Read more
Monday, November 20, 2017

Take a look at some of the finest hampers available in the county.

Read more
Christmas
Friday, November 17, 2017

PROUD WINNERS OF THE CHESHIRE LIFE ‘RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR 2017’ AWARD

Read more
Thursday, November 16, 2017

The stage is set for a memorable dining experience at La Boheme in Lymm as Janet Reeder discovers

Read more
Cheshire Restaurants Lymm
Thursday, November 16, 2017

Digest this mini review in 60 seconds

Read more
Wirral Restaurants Heswall Asian Food
 
Great British Holidays advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today

Cheshire Life Application Link

Local Business Directory

Cheshire's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area



Property Search