2018 Derbyshire Life Food and Drink Awards - the winners revealed

2018 Derbyshire Life Food and Drink Awards

2018 Derbyshire Life Food and Drink Awards - Credit: Archant

Celebrating your choice of the county’s best

Max and Claire Vaughan

Max and Claire Vaughan - Credit: Archant

In a departure from the events of previous years, it was with a feeling of great excitement that the editor of Derbyshire Life set off on a Rick Stein TV travels-type tour of the county to deliver this year’s awards. Armed with a photographer to record the process and a lot of bubble wrap to keep the awards safe, it proved an inspiring day.

The journey involved travelling from Belper to Dronfield via Ashbourne then over to Alstonefield and back to Belper on a circuitous route devised by the satnav that involved hitherto undiscovered lanes and a wonderful drive over Beeley Moor.

Hundreds of votes had been cast online since the awards were announced last spring and the cross-county spread showed that quality produce and producers are to be found the length and breadth of Derbyshire. The resulting list of nominees included several new businesses that are obviously hitting the right note from the start and mixing talent, expertise and flair with enthusiasm and commitment.

Combining a chance to drive around the county on a particularly lovely autumn day and meet the delighted award winners on their home turf was a great privilege. They were all equally thrilled to have been voted for by Derbyshire Life’s readers. Congratulations to all our worthy winners!

Robert Evans and team at Peak Ales

Robert Evans and team at Peak Ales - Credit: Archant


Winner: Shining Cliff Gin from White Peak Distillery, Ambergate.

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Winner’s comment, Max Vaughan: ‘In our inaugral year and as the first commercial-scale craft whisky and spirits distillery in Derbyshire and the Peak District, we’re absolutely delighted to receive this award. We’re proud to have established our business in Derbyshire and to have revived some of our industrial heritage along the way. The support we’ve had locally and more recently from our tour visitors has been amazing and we’d like to thank everyone who enjoys our gin and who voted for it to be the Product of the Year!’

Highly commended: Amaretto & Black Cherry Ice Cream, Bluebell Dairy, Derby; Sourdough loaf, Ashbourne Bakehouse

The team at The Cock, Mugginton

The team at The Cock, Mugginton - Credit: Archant


Winner: Peak Ales, Bakewell

Winner’s comment, Robert Evans: ‘Winning the award is a real shot in arm for everyone at Peak Ales. We strive hard to produce the best beers we can and winning this award means that our hard work is being recognised. It is great to be part of the quality food and drink scene in Derbyshire. Thank you to everyone who voted and to Derbyshire Life for running the awards. What a wonderful start to Christmas and the new year. Compliments of the season to all!’

Highly commended: The Quirky Cook, Borrowash; Cow Close Farm, Hathersage

Leo Hill and Amelia at, Arthur's Restaurant

Leo Hill and Amelia at, Arthur's Restaurant - Credit: Archant


Winner: The Cock Inn, Mugginton

Winner’s comment, Howard Thacker: ‘We’re absolutely delighted to receive the award. It means so much to our dedicated and hardworking team who work tirelessly every day to provide a quality dining experience for our visitors and their families. Our people put their heart and soul into providing a relaxed and comfortable environment for all who visit us here. Since re-opening in 2016, we have endeavoured to transform this well-known old building into a classic country pub with a modern twist. Alongside the traditional pub offer we specialise on high-end casual dining which represents excellent value for money whilst not compromising on quality. Our grateful appreciation goes to all our loyal customers for voting for us.’

Highly commended: The Peacock, Barlow; Mercia, Wirksworth

Siobhan Penrose-Johnson with team, The George

Siobhan Penrose-Johnson with team, The George - Credit: Archant


Winner: Arthur’s Restaurant, Belper

Winner’s comment, Leo Hill: ‘Winning the award means so much to us as since we opened the restaurant things haven’t always been easy, but to know that our customers feel we are deserving of this award and have gone to the trouble of voting for us means the world to us.’

Highly commended: The Cow, Dalbury Lees; The Collyfobble Brewery, Barlow; Sauced Here, Bakewell

Chris Gregory and team

Chris Gregory and team - Credit: Archant


Winner: The George, Alstonefield

Winner’s comment, Graham and Siobhan Penrose-Johnson: ‘We are overwhelmed to have been recognised as Pub of the Year, and are really pleased that our reputation for award-winning food is as treasured by our customers as it is by us! Our team works really hard and this is testament to their tireless pursuit of excellence.’

Highly commended: The Pack Horse, Hayfield; The Tickled Trout, Barlow; The Old Hall, Whitehough

Lisa Wallace and Lucy, Ashbourne Bakehouse

Lisa Wallace and Lucy, Ashbourne Bakehouse - Credit: Archant


Winner: Beaurepaire Patisserie, Belper

Winner’s comment, Chris Gregory: ‘It makes us feel very proud to be bringing this award to Belper, with its bustling café culture, particularly when there are so many wonderful tea rooms and cafés all across the county.’

Highly commended: The Woodlands, Glossop; Jack Rabbits, Ashbourne

Steve Croot

Steve Croot - Credit: Archant


Winner: Ashbourne Bakehouse

Winner’s comment, Lisa Wallace: ‘One of the great things about being awarded Independent Retailer of the Year, is that not only does it recognize the quality of our products, such as our sourdough bread, English muffins and focaccia, but it also recognizes the quality and range of the other items we stock. I look for things that go well with bread, are made by small batch producers, and as local as possible. I like to work with people who are as passionate about their products as we are about ours, and I try to find things that aren’t in every other shop.’

Highly commended: Welbeck Farmshop, Worksop; Bettys Farm Shop, Willington; Highfield House Farm Shop, Ashover

Chris Mapp and team at the Tickled Trout

Chris Mapp and team at the Tickled Trout - Credit: Archant


Winner: Steve Croot

Steve said: ‘I feel really proud to have been voted Derbyshire Life Food Hero, it is a great honour. I consider the award is as much for my family and staff as myself, without their help I wouldn’t have accomplished what I have.’

Chris Mapp and team at the Tickled Trout

Chris Mapp and team at the Tickled Trout - Credit: Archant


Winner: The Tickled Trout, Barlow

Winner’s comment, Chris Mapp: ‘I am extremely humbled to be awarded the Chef of the Year in Derbyshire Life, it was a great surprise to me but I am really pleased. However, winning the restaurant of the year also confirms that I have a fabulous team that helps me and each other achieve excellence in what we do. We are forever learning and evolving but this group I have are just amazing, these awards represent their hard work and they absolutely deserve the recognition.’

Highly commended: Mercia, Wirksworth; Santo’s Higham Farm, Alfreton; The George, Alstonefield


Winner: Chris Mapp, The Tickled Trout

Highly commended: Ray Moody, Santo’s Higham Farm; Luke Payne, The Pack Horse


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