2009 Cheshire Life Food and Wine Awards, Abode hotel, Manchester

PUBLISHED: 21:44 28 December 2009 | UPDATED: 16:23 20 February 2013

Life Magazines' City Restaurant of the Year is the French Restaurant at the Midland Hotel, Manchester and here collecting their award are Anibal Cabral and Paul Beckley

Life Magazines' City Restaurant of the Year is the French Restaurant at the Midland Hotel, Manchester and here collecting their award are Anibal Cabral and Paul Beckley

The region's culinary elite joined the celebrations at the 2009 Cheshire Life Food and Wine Awards at Abode hotel, Manchester<br/>WORDS BY EMMA MAYOH<br/>PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOHN COCKS

Some may have buckled under the pressure of creating a meal for the regions culinary kings. But Ian Matfin, executive chef at Michael Caines@Abode in Manchester did not flinch at the Cheshire Life Food and Wine Awards. The skills he learned under the tutelage of chefs like Raymond Blanc and Michael Caines and also recently showed off with flair on the Great British Menu, served him well.

This was not a gig he would want to miss a beat on. At the event - hosted by last years city award-winners - were the North-Wests culinary elite eager to celebrate the regions best restaurants, chefs and local producers with Cheshire Life and its sister magazine Lancashire Life.

The chairman of a family firm that has dedicated its life to supporting local produce took the top prize. Edwin Booth is the fifth generation member of the family to take the helm of Booths supermarkets, Britains oldest family owned and run grocery business first established in 1847.

Edwin, who joined the company straight from school, has supported many local producers through the business. He was awarded the Life Magazines Outstanding Achievement Award for 2009 in recognition of its focus on local sourcing, innovation and excellent customer service.

The Cheshire Life Food and Wine Awards has become a staple of the culinary calendar in the North-West. This years winners were decided by our panel of judges including Trevor Stone, the former executive responsible for catering at Astra Zenecas headquarters near Alderley Edge; highly regarded independent consultant caterer Rosemary Watts; food and wine writer Ray King; Cheshire Life editor Louise Taylor and Lancashire Life editor Roger Borrell.

After more than 70 years tending his beautiful farm and orchards at Kelsall it seemed fitting that Colin Haworth, who runs Eddisbury Fruit Farm along with wife Monica, and stepson Michael Dykes, was awarded Cheshire Lifes Food Hero award. The family have tended the land for decades. When Michael joined the company they began producing fresh apple juice from the more than 20 varieties of apples they grow as well as their award-winning Cheshire Cider.
Colin said: This has come completely out of the blue and we wont be able to stop telling everyone. Its just brilliant. Its recognition for over 70 years hard graft and we feel really proud. It was a really nice surprise.
Another of the winners is just a short distance from Michael Caines@Abode.

The historic French Restaurant at the Midland Hotel, Manchester, is a restaurant that leaves diners awestruck. Its iconic dining room is the perfect backdrop for its menu of modern classics. It was awarded the Life Magazines City Restaurant of the Year. For head chef Paul Beckley and restaurant manager, Anibal Cabral, who has worked at the Midland for 23 years, it was recognition for all of their teams hard work.

Anibal said: We have never won this before and through the past year we have started to become really recognised for what we are doing. We never expected to win an award like this and we are so happy. Its fantastic.

No strangers to success are The Alderley Edge Hotel. They have been rewarded by the AA with two Rosettes and they have previously won at the Cheshire Life Food and Wine Awards. This year the Alderley Restaurant at Alderley Edge Hotel was the winner of the Cheshire Life Restaurant of the Year accolade.

Ahmet Kurcer, general manager, said: Its fantastic to win an award. Its also very important for our hardworking and talented staff that they get this kind of recognition. To win an award from Cheshire Life and be in the magazine is a fantastic achievement and it encourages the team even more. We are all very pleased.

Closer to Chester there was a hotel commended for its warm welcome, delightful setting and exceptional facilities for golfers, business clients and weekenders. Hamish Ferguson and Karen Proctor from Carden Park collected the award for Cheshire Lifes Hotel of the Year.
Hamish said: Were delighted to have won. We won a similar award before in 2003 and to know that we are keeping that standard of service is fantastic

It wasnt just established restaurants which took home the big prizes. Just over the border in the popular North Wales seaside resort of Abersoch, there is a restaurant that combines wonderful ingredients, especially fish with Italian flair. Venetia, which has been open just over a year, is owned by Jayne Edge and Marco Filippo. It was awarded Cheshire Lifes North Wales Award for it excellent quality of food and service.
Marco said: We cant believe it. To win an award like this when weve not even been open that long is just brilliant.

Ian Matfin deserved an award for the meal he prepared that evening. His melt-in-the-mouth lobster tortellini, complimented by toasty-vanilla hues of a Sauvignon-Blanc Semillion from Matthew Clark, who supplied all the wine for the evening and sponsors of the awards, set the pace. A saddle of Lythe Valley venison with braised red cabbage, crisp belly pork, braised fennel and a jasmine raisin sauce won particular praise from the diners as did the taste of Veramonte Primus from Chiles Casablanca Valley. A superb dessert rounded off the meal delightfully: a trio of apple and rosemary mousse, apple tart clotted cream and green apple sorbet which were all were heartily enjoyed by diners.

All the winners received a commemorative Villeroy and Boch plate, a commemorative wall plaque and a magnum of champagne.

Meet the winners

Life Magazines Outstanding Achievement Award for 2009: Edwin Booth, chairman of Booths supermarkets
Cheshire Life Hotel of the Year: Carden Park, near Chester
Cheshire Life Restaurant of the Year: The Alderley Restaurant at Alderley Edge Hotel
Cheshire Life North Wales Award: Venetia, Abersoch
Cheshire Lifes Food Hero: Eddisbury Fruit Farm
Life Magazines City Restaurant of the Year: French Restaurant at the Midland Hotel, Manchester.

With thanks to:
Executive chef Ian Matfin and the team at Michael Caines@Abode for hosting the event.
Matthew Clark, our Food and Wine Awards sponsors for the fourth consecutive year.
Villeroy & Boch and Digital Ceramics for their work creating commemorative plates for the winners

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