Trencherman’s Awards winners

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Looe-based chef Ben Palmer won the top accolade at the Trencherman’s Awards this week.

Palmer, head chef at The Sardine Factory, was named Best Trencherman’s Chef at the ceremony held at Bovey Castle.

Other winners on the night included legendary hoteliers the Polizzi family, Nicholas Balfe’s uber-popular Somerset restaurant with rooms Holm, eco-chic Scarlet Hotel in Cornwall and newcomer Queen of Cups in Glastonbury, among others.

Trencherman’s Guide editor Abi Manning and Salt Media’s editorial director Jo Rees hosted the ceremony which is considered the region’s hottest ticket in the culinary calendar, comprising a multi-course feast cooked by previous award winners with the nine prizes given throughout the evening.

The event was attended by leading south west chefs, restaurateurs, hoteliers, and food and drinks businesses.

Manning said: “It’s always a delight to gather the very best of the south west’s hospitality scene in one room. Their hard work, dedication and passion is the reason the south west enjoys such a stellar reputation for dining, and the awards showcase that.

“Trencherman’s restaurants represent the best of the best in the region, so competition is tough and being a finalist in itself is a huge achievement. Yet one of the joys of the awards is that there is such a sense of camaraderie and community – everyone is there to celebrate each other, and the south west hospitality industry as a whole.”

In traditional Trencherman’s style, three of last year’s award winners plus the host chef crafted the ceremony’s four-course feast: Andrew Swann of The Castle at Taunton (starter), Rick Toogood of Prawn on the Lawn (fish), host chef Mark Budd of Bovey Castle (main) and Scott Paton of Acleaf (dessert). The quality cooking was paired with fine wines from Hallgarten and Novum, and Cornish beers from Sharp’s. Canapés were served with Classic Cuvée Multi Vintage from Nyetimber, Trevethan Original Dry Gin and Navas Garden Tonic, as well as non-alcoholic alternative Drinks Kitchen Orange Cinchona and tonic.

Best Trencherman’s Chef

Winner: Ben Palmer, The Sardine Factory

Finalists: Dave Jenkins, Salumi Bar & Eatery; Harriet Mansell, Lilac Restaurant & Wine Bar; Nicholas Balfe, Holm; Rick Toogood, Prawn on the Lawn

Best Trencherman’s Restaurant

Winner: Holm, South Petherton

Finalists: Edie’s, Carlyon Bay; Kota Restaurant, Porthleven; The Clockspire Restaurant and Bar, Sherborne; The Sardine Factory, West Looe

Award for Special Contribution

Winner: The Polizzi Family

Best Trencherman’s Hotel

Winner: Scarlet Hotel, Mawgan Porth

Finalists: The Godolphin Hotel & Restaurant, Marazion; The Manor House, Castle Combe; The Seaside Boarding House, Burton Bradstock; The Slaughters Manor House, Lower Slaughter

Best Trencherman’s Pub

Winner: The Dartmoor Inn, Lydford

Finalists: The Langford Inn, Langford; The Old Coastguard, Mousehole; The Sheppey Inn, Wells; Three Horseshoes Pub & Kitchen, Burton Bradstock

Award for Creativity and Innovation

Winner: Lilac Restaurant & Wine Bar, Lyme Regis

Finalists: Circa, Sandridge Barton; Holm, South Petherton; Queen of Cups, Glastonbury; The Queen’s Arms, Corton Denham

Best Front of House Team

Winner: Tom’s Lyme Regis, Lyme Regis

Finalists: Fletcher’s Restaurant, Plymouth; The Bath Arms at Longleat, Horningsham; The Bell Inn, Selsley; The Bunch of Grapes, Bradford-on-Avon

Best Trencherman’s Newcomer

Winner: Queen of Cups, Glastonbury

Finalists: Bar & Bistro at Tintagel Brewery, Tintagel; Bedruthan Hotel & Spa, Mawgan Porth; Catch at the Old Fish Market, Weymouth; Source Kitchen, St Ives

Best Bar List

Winner: The Old Coastguard, Mousehole

Finalists: Beckford Bottle Shop, Bath; Fistral Beach Hotel and Spa, Newquay; The Club House, West Bexington; Winslade Manor Bar & Restaurant, Exeter

L-R: Andrew Swann, Scott Paton, Rick Toogood, Mark Budd. Photo: Guy Harrop/Salt Media