“Best Restaurant” at Suffolk Food & Drink Awards 2010

September 1, 2010

It has been a great week for The Bildeston Crown in Suffolk.  On Monday evening (27th September) at the AA Hospitality Awards, it was confirmed that the Suffolk inn’s restaurant had retained for the third year running, its AA 3 rosette status.  It is the only restaurant in Suffolk to have three rosettes; there is no establishment in the county with more. The hotel side of the business also retained its three red stars.
Three days later (30th September) , management couple, Chris and Hayley Lee, were at the Suffolk Food & Drink Awards 2010 ceremony held at the West Wing, Ickworth.  Together with owner James Buckle, they picked up the award for “Best Restaurant”.
The annual event, launched five years ago to recognise and celebrate the county’s champions of local food and drink, had eleven award categories this year.  The “Best Restaurant” category is sponsored by Promotion Wine.
To select “Best Restaurant”, the public vote to create a shortlist of three nominees which are then visited by a team of judges who look for amongst other factors: inventive use of locally sourced produce; range of menu; presentation; evidence of specialist skills; strategies to show how customers are attracted and retained and evidence of national recognition. This is what the judges had to say about The Bildeston Crown:
“A focus on local sourcing including from the owner’s farm, coupled with the sheer inventiveness of the dishes create a fine dining experience in this beautiful Tudor building. Creative matching from the excellent wine list enhances the food and delights the palate.”
Owner, farmer and businessman, James Buckle is thrilled with this success: “The Bildeston Crown is all about great tasting food and I give full credit to the talent, inspiration and hard work of Chris Lee and his team for putting us quite literally in a different league to our competition.  As a Suffolk farmer, I am particularly pleased to see The Bildeston Crown recognized as a key player in the movement to highlight just how fantastic Suffolk’s food and drink really is and I am so proud that The Bildeston Crown has been acknowledged this year as the county’s “Best Restaurant”
Chef Chris Lee is equally delighted:
“It has been an amazing year.  I don’t know which pleases me more – the national recognition through the AA and the Taste of England Award last April or just simply enjoying the strong local support of customers and suppliers which drove the Suffolk competition.  All I know is that I love my job and it is fantastic that what we are doing at The Bildeston Crown, in terms of the food we are producing, is being enjoyed and recognised.”