Cornwall-based chef Nathan Outlaw received the Award for Special Contribution at this year’s Trencherman’s Awards, presented at the Salcombe Harbour Hotel.

Broadcaster and food critic William Sitwell and Dorset’s TV chef and restaurateur Mark Hix of The Oyster and Fish House joined Trencherman’s Guide editorial director Jo Rees to present the awards – the most prestigious dining accolades in the south west. The event was attended by the region’s leading chefs, restaurateurs and hoteliers, among other influential foodies.

Over 30,000 individual votes were cast in the second round of voting, with some of the closest final scores seen in the awards’ ten-year history.

Outlaw pipped Paul Ainsworth for the Special Contribution accolade, while other Cornish winners included Padstow’s Prawn on the Lawn (Best Trencherman’s Restaurant) and Carbis Bay eatery Ugly Butterfly by Adam Handling (Award for Creativity and Innovation).

Commenting on his win, Outlaw said: “I’ve been in the south west for well over 25 years and the Trencherman’s Guide has always been at the forefront of the scene. It’s one of the guides you want to get into as a chef – and it’s also a guide that a lot of customers follow and then come to your restaurant as a result. To receive this award is incredible and a great honour.

“I don’t think there are many guides in the UK, let alone the world, that have got 30 years under their belt, and it shows how amazing the south west is – from the hotels to the guest houses, bars and restaurants – and it’s only getting better and better. Long may it continue!”

In traditional Trencherman’s style, a number of last year’s award winners made up the team of top chefs who crafted the ceremony’s four-course feast: Mark Dodson of The Masons Arms (starter), Michael Smith of Porthminster Beach Cafe (fish), host chef Jamie Gulliford of Salcombe Harbour Hotel (main) and Dorian Janmaat of The Idle Rocks (dessert). The quality cooking was paired with fine wines from Hallgarten and Novum, Cornish beers from Sharp’s Brewery and soft drinks from Frobishers. Canapés were served with local spirits Trevethan Cornish Gin, Atlantic Spirit No.7 Sea Buckthorn Gin, and Sea Arch Coastal Juniper.

Trencherman’s Awards 2023 winners and grand finalists

Award for Special Contribution 

Winner: Nathan Outlaw – Outlaw’s
Grand finalists: Paul Ainsworth – Paul Ainsworth at No 6; Kit Chapman – The Castle at Taunton; Geetie Singh-Watson – The Bull Inn

Best Trencherman’s Chef

Winner: Andrew Swann – The Castle at Taunton
Grand finalists: Harriet Mansell – Robin Wylde; James Harris – The Beckford Bottle Shop; Joshua Jones – Number Eight

Best Trencherman’s Restaurant

WinnerPrawn on the Lawn, Padstow
Grand finalists: Robin Wylde, Lyme Regis; Ronnie’s of Thornbury, near Bristol; The Angel – Taste of Devon, Dartmouth

Best Trencherman’s Hotel

WinnerBoringdon Hall Hotel, Plymouth
Grand finalists: Lewtrenchard Manor, Okehampton; Talland Bay Hotel, Porthallow; The Castle at Taunton

Best Trencherman’s Pub

WinnerThe Castle Inn, Castle Combe
Grand finalists: The Barrington Boar, Ilminster; The Cotley Inn, Wambrook; The Lord Poulett Arms, Hinton St George;

Award for Creativity & Innovation

WinnerUgly Butterfly by Adam Handling, Carbis Bay
Grand finalists: Appleton’s Bar and Restaurant, Fowey; Brassica Restaurant, Beaminster; The Angel – Taste of Devon, Dartmouth

Best Front of House Team

WinnerCrab House Cafe, Wyke Regis
Grand finalists: Hooked on the Rocks, Falmouth; Millside, Lyme Regis; The Dartmoor Inn, Lydford

Best Newcomer

WinnerAndria, Dartmouth
Grand finalists: New Coast Kitchen, Croyde; The Rocket Store, Boscastle; Thornbury Castle, near Bristol

Best Bar List

Winner: The Farmers Arms, Woolsery
Grand finalists: New Coast Kitchen, Croyde; Robun, Bath; The Idle Rocks, St Mawes

Photo credit: Guy Harrop/Salt Media