One year on with the winners of the 2015 Surrey Life Food & Drink Awards

PUBLISHED: 11:52 07 June 2016 | UPDATED: 14:48 09 September 2016

Surrey Life Food & Drink Awards 2016

Surrey Life Food & Drink Awards 2016

Celebrating the very best of our county’s fabulous food and drink offering, the Surrey Life Food & Drink Awards are back for another year. With the votes flooding in, we meet up with a selection of last year’s winners

With thanks to:

Main event sponsor: Partridge Muir & Warren


 Venue partner: Foxhills


 Associate partner: Local Food Surrey


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NEED TO KNOW


 Nominate your foodie favourites online at foodawards.surreylife.co.uk


 Closing date for nominations: Thursday June 30



 Awards night at Foxhills: Thursday September 8



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Butcher of the Year


Surrey Hills Butchers, Oxshott

Simon Taylor, owner

What have you been up to since our 2015 awards?


 Since 2015’s awards, it has been a busy few months for us at Surrey Hills Butchers. We have seen an increase in customers, as well as high interest from local chefs and caterers. At the end of last year, we were also a finalist in the National Butchers’ Awards for the South of England.


Are there any changes on the horizon that you are particularly excited about?


 We’ve just had a little makeover in the shop, purchasing a double glass-fronted fridge for our dry-age beef. We will be using Himalayan rock salt to dry-age our beef for five weeks or more. Also, we have invested in state-of-the-art scales, had a general freshen-up in the shop and I continue to develop our staff by conducting on-site training. Finally, we are always looking to promote our business through social media; this has proved successful through the increase in our butchery workshops, which we can’t seem to catch up with!


Away from work, what’s your own favourite local foodie treat?


 When my wife and I are able to find some free time without our lovely children, we like to sample quality local restaurants. Next on our wish list is to visit Nick Sinclair at the Emlyn Restaurant (at the foot of Box Hill) who we work with closely.


 
Services to the Community

The Clink Charity, Sutton and Send

Chris Moore, chief executive

What have you been up to since our 2015 awards?


 We are still extremely proud to have won the Services to the Community award last year and this recognition has certainly raised The Clink Charity’s profile in Surrey. Since winning this award, we launched The Clink Canapé Cookbook in November and held our first Clink Charity Ball in January, which raised almost £50,000. In addition to this, we announced in February that BBC historian Dan Snow was joining the charity as group communications ambassador.


Are there any changes on the horizon that you are particularly excited about?


 We are looking for future sites within prisons across the UK, so we can build more training restaurants and reach our goal of 20 prisoner- training schemes in operation by the end of 2020. Currently, we can train up to 160 prisoners a day in food service, food preparation, food hygiene and horticulture, and we hope to continue increasing this so we are releasing 500 Clink graduates per year into employment.


Away from work, what’s your own favourite local foodie treat?


 I enjoy cycling out to the Stephan Langton pub in Friday Street, near Dorking, for a relaxed lunch. It’s in the middle of the Surrey countryside, the local views are beautiful and the food is fantastic.



  



Food & Drink Innovation


Silent Pool Distillers, near Albury

Ian McCulloch, founder

What have you been up to since our 2015 awards?


 Since last year’s awards, our business has gone from strength to strength. We had our very first Christmas with Silent Pool Gin and the local take-up was absolutely amazing. We even had people queuing up to buy the product, which was a huge thumbs-up for the work put in by the team. We’ve won an IWSR Gold and a World Spirits Award Gold and are waiting on results for other competitions.


Are there any changes on the horizon that you are particularly excited about?


 Since the New Year, we have added Norway, Sweden, Benelux, Malta, Cyprus and Portugal to the countries we already export to and have recently visited the US and have agreed terms with a local distributor to export there. We have also created a new Navy Strength Gin (57%) called Admiral Collingwood, which we supply mainly to Sweden at the moment, although we do have it at the distillery. In addition, we’ve launched an Albury Limited Release Vodka, which is filtered over charcoal from the nearby Sheepleas woodland, and we produced four Eau de Vies (Schnapps) using fruit from Kent (apricot, pear, plum and quince), which are delicious drunk like a brandy in a balloon glass.


Away from work, what’s your own favourite local foodie treat?


 We have great food locally, whether it’s lunchtime sandwiches in the Dabbling Duck at Shere or dinner in The Drummond at Albury, The Onslow Arms at West Clandon or the Queen’s Head at East Clandon – and the good news is that all of those pubs stock our Silent Pool Gin, too! We’re in good company.



  



Pub of the Year


The Onslow Arms, West Clandon

Barry Haynes, general manager

What have you been up to since our 2015 awards?


 Last year’s Pub of the Year award had a great impact on The Onslow Arms. We were all very proud to receive it. We have gone from strength to strength, enjoying our most successful Christmas ever. Since then, we have been working on our menu innovation.


Are there any changes on the horizon that you are particularly excited about?


 We have recently introduced an online booking system, which means our customers can now book with us via our website, and we are hoping to launch our own mobile app soon, which means booking with us will be even easier. This is a great way of being accessible to people and the early signs show it is being well received. We’re also very excited about the new menus.


Away from work, what’s your own favourite local foodie treat?


 I am lucky to have a great local farm shop close to us and it is an excellent place to pick up local, fresh produce. It is important to me and The Onslow Arms that we support local businesses.



  



Restaurant of the Year

The French Table, Surbiton

Eric and Sarah Guignard, owners

What have you been up to since our 2015 awards?


 Since winning Surrey Life’s Restaurant of the Year, we have seen a definite increase in our lunchtime trade – and guests are also travelling to visit us from greater distances than ever before, so we really feel that winning the award has helped us to reach a new audience. In our day-to-day life, we have also introduced a daily tasting menu for our lunchtime guests, which has been very well received.


Are there any changes on the horizon that you are particularly excited about?


 In June, we celebrate our 15th year in Surbiton – a milestone we’re planning to mark with an anniversary tasting menu inspired by looking back at our signature dishes so far.


Away from work, what’s your own favourite local foodie treat?


 We love the Surbiton Farmers’ Market. Held on the third Saturday of each month, Maple Road welcomes 26 farmers and producers selling wonderfully-fresh produce. Perfect for our Saturday specials! But we love it for more than its excellent food – Surbiton Farmers’ Market and its small team of volunteers have created an extra-special atmosphere down an already special road, with its community vibe and commitment to raising money for local good causes. Also, being closed on a Sunday means we get to pop to The Wheatsheaf in Esher for a Sunday lunch get-together and precious family time.



  



Best Local Foodie Event

Woking Food and Drink Festival

Sam Marshall, team manager

What have you been up to since our 2015 awards?


 It took us some time to get over our win! We were over the moon and it’s just amazing how the festival has grown over the years. We’re now busy planning this year’s event and regrouping all the amazing people that make the event happen.


Are there any changes on the horizon that you are particularly excited about?


 Every year, we try very hard to bring something new and exciting to the event. We like to keep it as fresh as possible and we have some brilliant things planned for 2016. I’m afraid I’m tight-lipped about what we’re doing, but keep an eye on @WokingFoodFest and you’ll find out more soon enough!


Away from work, what’s your own favourite local foodie treat?


 Can I pick three? I’m going to anyway... My top spots at the moment are The Restaurant at Tante Marie, as it’s a brilliant dining experience; Cellar Magneval wine bar in Woking; and I’m particularly enjoying Horsell-based Thurstons Brewery beer. If you haven’t tried these, you should, immediately...



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NEED TO KNOW


 Nominate your foodie favourites online at foodawards.surreylife.co.uk


 Closing date for nominations: Thursday June 30



 Awards night at Foxhills: Thursday September 8



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Chef of the Year

Drake’s, Ripley

Steve Drake, owner

What have you been up to since our 2015 awards?


 Since winning Surrey Life’s Chef of the Year award for the second year running, business at Drake’s has gone through the roof. The real surprise, however, is the effect it has had on our pub, The Anchor, just across the road in Ripley’s High Street. Head chef Mike and I have been working together now for seven years and, although Mike is very much his own man, the creative DNA is quite obvious after us working together for so long.


Are there any changes on the horizon that you are particularly excited about?


 Mike and members of his kitchen team still come and do a shift or two at Drake’s, where we continue to inspire each other with cooking, flavours and creativity. What I have learnt about hospitality over the years is that, as well as looking after our customers, we have to look after each other and inspire each other, keeping our minds fresh, ready for new ideas. My love and passion is to work with my chefs on our monthly changing menus and the exciting thing is that we have a bigger audience with The Anchor now. Today, for example, we are working on raspberry and walnut toast with pickled rose petals and whipped blue cheese! Flavours that I’m sure will be new to some...


Away from work, what’s your own favourite local foodie treat?


 My favourite foodie haunt is the new Cellar Magneval wine boutique in Ripley, which is very individual and very special. I also really like The Refectory in Milford for a nice pub that does a great Sunday roast.

  



Best Family Dining

The Rose and Crown, Thorpe

Clive Price, Managing Director of the Barons Pub Company

What have you been up to since our 2015 awards?


 We believe winning the award has had a very positive effect on business. We have continued to build trade levels over the past year and our TripAdvisor rating has climbed dramatically. At the time of writing, we are fourth out of 46 places to eat in Egham and are the highest-ranked pub in the area. Winning such a prestigious award has certainly helped to raise our profile.


Are there any changes on the horizon that you are particularly excited about?


 We are very excited to be rolling out a two-phase refurbishment at the pub. April/May will see work to improve our outside areas and car park, while September/October will bring a major facelift to the inside. We are planning a total project spend of £400k and can’t wait to show off the results!


Away from work, what’s your own favourite local foodie treat?


 Apart from eating out in many of the great pubs this part of Surrey has to offer, our cheeky top snack of choice at the moment is the samosas from Atif’s Superstore in Walton Road, Woking. Seriously, absolutely delicious – a real treat and highly recommended!



  



Tea/Coffee Shop of the Year

The Green Rooms of Godstone

Jeremy Appleby and Sylvia Crimi, owners

What have you been up to since our 2015 awards?


 It was a pretty mind-blowing year for all of us! Winning this award was definitely the cherry on top, and myself and Jeremy still ‘high-five’ each other almost daily because of it! It has made us want to keep on giving it 100%, even on the days when we are dog-tired and don’t think we can.


Are there any changes on the horizon that you are particularly excited about?


 We are always looking at new ideas and trends. We have started stocking beverages that are produced from small independent-run businesses and keeping our selection less ‘run-of-the-mill’. However much we love what we have created, expansion isn’t on the horizon. Running this place is more than enough, thank you!


Away from work, what’s your own favourite local foodie treat?


 We have recently discovered Blacks Burgers (Epsom, Horley and Purley). Their burgers are ones you need to roll your sleeves up for! They also have ‘dirty fries’ (jalapeño with shredded cheese). They’re so good, we now do our own BangBang fries (homemade nacho cheese sauce poured over fries with jalapeño chillies!).



  



Best Entertainment Venue


G Live, Guildford

Glenn Prested, general manager

What have you been up to since our 2015 awards?


 Since winning the award last year, we have continued to improve the food and service in the Mezzanine Restaurant. We haven’t changed anything significantly, but then again why would we when we were recognised as providing the best food and drink offering in local entertainment venues?!


Are there any changes on the horizon that you are particularly excited about?


 We are delighted to be introducing Albury Estate classic cuvée, an organic sparkling wine produced locally in the Surrey Hills. This will be a great local addition to our current selection, and will complement other local products available at G Live, including a range of local ales provided by Hog’s Back Brewery.


Away from work, what’s your own favourite local foodie treat?


 I love street food and short of going to Borough Market, a great local foodie treat is the Moo Ping served at a Guildford Thai restaurant.



  



Newcomer of the Year


The Art of Curry, Godalming

Sameena Thompson, owner

What have you been up to since our 2015 awards?


 The awards really helped raise our profile further, and since then we have been busy establishing successful relationships with more shops and new customers at farmers’ markets. It gave us a great boost and we have been planning for growth as a direct result of the wonderful support we have had since winning the award.


Are there any changes on the horizon that you are particularly excited about?


 We are very excited as by the time readers see this, we will have moved into our new premises in Godalming! We have taken over a former restaurant and it is a fantastic space to hold our very popular dining clubs, cookery classes and tasting events, and provides The Art of Curry with a stylish home. Look out for some big announcements here in Surrey Life! We are also introducing new, smaller pack sizes of our cooking sauces, following some great feedback. So, in addition to our signature family pouches, there will be packs for two and a very special little pouch for single servings! All will be hand-cooked in the same way and with the same great taste. We will also be appearing at a wider range of farmers’ markets across the county, and so look forward to meeting even more readers this year!


Away from work, what’s your own favourite local foodie treat?


 We adore the Godalming Food Company for its quality products and the lovely way it is laid out with treats in every corner. The Elm Nursery in Sutton Green is also amazing for being a real farm shop, where you can see lots of farm animals on your way in. And we cannot wait to dine at Drake’s restaurant in Ripley very soon, as we just know the food will be outstanding!



  



Independent Retailer of the Year & Farm Shop of the Year

Garsons, Esher

Nigel Chandler, farm shop manager

What have you been up to since our 2015 awards?


 We’ve been working hard to make Garsons an even better place to visit – at the time of the awards in 2015, we were part-way through our big refurbishment. The new Garsons Restaurant opened at the end of 2015, with great success, and we’ve been helping the chefs to source produce from our farm shop suppliers, including our butcher, Bevan’s. It will also serve fruit and veg from our pick-your-own-fields soon.


Are there any changes on the horizon that you are particularly excited about?


 We’ve just launched our new website, which gives visitors a real flavour of what we do here at Garsons. We’re especially looking forward to our Food Fair – always a highlight of the summer – and we’re just beginning to make plans for improving the deli and fresh produce areas of the farm shop in 2017.


Away from work, what’s your own favourite local foodie treat?


 As we saw on the night of the 2015 awards, Surrey is home to so many fantastic food and drink producers. Some of our favourites include Crosbies’ cakes, Bevan’s home-made pork pies, wines from Denbies and Abinger Hammer watercress, to name but a few. We’re always on the lookout for more!

  


Food and Drink Producer

Dylan’s Ice Cream, Haslemere

Ben Govier, founder

What have you been up to since our 2015 awards?


 Winning the best producer award definitely made us more visible – especially in the van, out at events. People would often come up to talk about it (and then buy an ice cream) instead of just walking past.


Are there any changes on the horizon that you are particularly excited about?


 The parlour has found its stride, with clear favourites among our customers flavour-wise – although we are always experimenting with new ideas! The most recent being Seville Orange Sorbet. The most exciting expansion is the investment in a larger 20-foot freezer at the farm. This will allow us to develop our wholesale business, enabling us to supply those restaurants and farms shops we have previously had to turn down.


Away from work, what’s your own favourite local foodie treat?


 We have just returned from our staff outing to The Crown Inn over at Chiddingfold. Their moules frites were amazing.



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NEED TO KNOW


 Nominate your foodie favourites online at foodawards.surreylife.co.uk


 Closing date for nominations: Thursday June 30



 Awards night at Foxhills: Thursday September 8

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