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Dining excellence celebrated in Daventry

The Saracen's Head pub, Little Brington, has won pub of the year, with chef William Mountain winning young chef of the year.
Pictured is chef William Mountain with owners Sarah Evans & Duncan Evans

The Saracen's Head pub, Little Brington, has won pub of the year, with chef William Mountain winning young chef of the year. Pictured is chef William Mountain with owners Sarah Evans & Duncan Evans

Daventry businesses scooped almost half of the top accolades in this years prestigious Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards.

Restaurateurs, chefs and brewers from across the county arrived at the Wing in Silverstone on Wednesday November 14 where people from Daventry won in five out of 12 categories.

Returning for a fourth year the awards, devised by the Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership, celebrate local food, drink and produce and recognise excellence in some of the county’s best venues.

The Saracen’s Head in Little Brington scooped two prizes winning both Pub or Bar Restaurant of the Year and Young Chef of the Year awards.

Restaurant manager Sarah Evans said: “We are absolutely thrilled to win the awards, we have been finalists for the past four years so we were hopeful we would win this time, but you can never be sure until it’s announced.

“I think what may have done it this year is that we offer the whole package, the food is outstanding and we are a lovely country pub with friendly staff.”

Young Chef of the Year William Mountain, 25, added: “I’m over the moon to get the award, I think they were impressed with my main course which the judges saw as quite innovative.

“A big thank you to all of my friends, family and girlfriend for their support.”

Scooping the prize for Booker Chef of the Year was 31-year-old James Ingram, chef at Mercedes Benz AMG in Brixworth.

Mr Ingram has been at Mercedes for 12 years after training at Rugby College 15 years ago.

He said: “Although I was confident, I was surprised to win. I didn’t win when I entered in 2004 and there were a lot of impressive chefs and restaurants in the competition so it was great to win.

“I think my dish of poached pork with five spices, carrot and coriander puree and hot and sour vegetables was what did it for me because the ingredients were really different.”

Restaurants were not the only proud winners though as Sauls of Spratton took home a trophy for their home cured bacon in the Artisan Local Product/Drink of the Year category.

Sauls co-director Martyn Boshnell said: “I am rather chuffed that we won - we started home curing the bacon a few years ago and resurrected the process this year.

“It takes one week to 10 days to cure so it is labour-intensive and that bit more expensive but you get what you pay for because it’s very different and very nice.”

Daventry businesses had all bases covered as the prize for New Local Drink of the Year went to The Village Orchard in Flore for its golden russet apple juice.

Orchard owner Jonathan Chaplin was thrilled his juice picked up a first prize and the Orchard’s apple and plum chutney came runner up in the New Local Product of the Year category.

Mr Chaplin said: “I am really excited about the win and pleased to be a runner up too.

“All of our apples are hand picked so our juice is really fresh. We have picked up some accolades recently and it is showing everyone the quality of our juice.”

The Royal Oak @ Eydon was a runner-up in the Pub or Bar of the Year category.

 

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