Four winners of the Lancashire Life Food & Drink Award s reveal what Christmas looks like in their kitchen.

Great British Life: Katie Wilson of Bowland and BayKatie Wilson of Bowland and Bay

Katie Wilson
Katie founded Bowland and Bay in 2021 to develop sustainable micro-tourism to bring visitors closer to a network of more than 200 food and drink producers and hospitality businesses in the Forest of Bowland and Morecambe Bay areas.

Great British Life: Stosie Madie of the Parker's Arms, Newton In BowlandStosie Madie of the Parker's Arms, Newton In Bowland

Stosie Madi
This year has seen an avalanche of accolades awarded to chef-owner Stosie Madi and her team at the Parkers Arms in Newton-in-Bowland. Seasonal, foraged and fresh-as-it-comes produce is put in the spotlight to create feasts diners travel far and wide to enjoy.

Great British Life: Steven Smith at Freemasons at WiswellSteven Smith at Freemasons at Wiswell

Steve Smith
With five stars and three Rosettes from the AA, and the Restaurant with Rooms title at the Lancashire Life Food & Drink Awards, Steve Smith has made Freemasons at Wiswell a winning venue. He’s no stranger to success, having worked in a series of top restaurants before taking on this Ribble Valley inn four years ago.

Great British Life: Tim Allen in the kitchen at Solo in AughtonTim Allen in the kitchen at Solo in Aughton

Tim Allen
Yorkshire-born Tim opened his first solo venture, called Sōlō, at Aughton in November 2021 and it was an instant hit. He quickly developed a loyal following and the awards have followed – first a Michelin star in March this year and then the Lancashire Life Restaurant of the Year Award.

Where will you be on Christmas Day?

Steve Smith: I’ll be working, I always am. I’ve got used to it over the years. We’re always fully booked – we're fully booked for next Christmas too – and we get a lot of the same people coming every year. There is a different atmosphere in the kitchen on Christmas Day. We’ll get the team together for breakfast and have a glass of champagne before we start work.

Stosie Madi: I’ll be at home. We’re open on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day, and New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, but we close on the 25th.

Katie Wilson: You’ll find me in a barn near Garstang, with a case of D. Byrne’s wine expertly picked by Joe Byrne and a larder packed with Lancashire’s finest food. There’ll be a Melt candle flickering in the window on Christmas Eve (either Dance or Verbena Clary Sage) to sooth me into the feasting to come.

Tim Allen: I’ll be in my kitchen cooking for my guests. We are very lucky at Solo – it will feel like a family day as we will be cooking for some of our most regular guests.

If you’re working, when will you celebrate with family?

Tim Allen: When we finish service, we will have our family dinner and celebrate upstairs, and then we’ll go for a nice walk together.

Steve Smith: I’ll get home at about 5pm and then I’ll see my daughter – she's four and she’s only ever known me to be working on Christmas Day.

Great British Life: The Cartford Inn is the ideal place for a twixmas party, says KatieThe Cartford Inn is the ideal place for a twixmas party, says Katie

You can have a Christmas meal anywhere – where do you go, and why?

Stosie Madi: I’d go back to my childhood home for my mother’s Christmas spread. I have simply never eaten a better meal or been hosted better.

Tim Allen: I'd choose Lapland with Mag, the kids and all my family as we haven’t spent a Christmas together since I was a child.

Katie Wilson: My favourite foodie event of the year is the Untamed Supper Clubs at the Rewilding. The guys don’t do Christmas dinner, but it feels like Christmas in a Viking long house in Michelle’s barn. Watch out for new dates from spring 2024. I love December and New Year at the Cartford Inn; those guys throw a disco ball party all twixmas.

Great British Life: Buche de noel will be Stosie's table on December 24. PHOTO: Getty ImagesBuche de noel will be Stosie's table on December 24. PHOTO: Getty Images

What’s your family Christmas dinner – and who cooks it?

Katie Wilson: It’s a tag team effort by the chap and me (fortunately he was a chef in a previous life). Everyone else, please back out of the kitchen and enjoy putting your feet up. It’s a traditional Honeywells Farm Shop turkey (and a rib of beef for New Year) loads of local veg, and crémant du loire fizz keeps the chefs happy.

Tim Allen: It will be the left overs from So-lo and it definitely won’t be me cooking!

Stosie Madi: We celebrate Christmas on December 24. We eat oysters and fois gras to start, roast duck and trimmings for main and a Buche de noel for pudding. December 25 is usually a cold meats and cold fish plates day, it’s our Boxing Day if you will, but living here we celebrate with an English Christmas lunch too. Boned stuffed and roast game birds, whole hams and all the usual trimmings. We all muck in and cook.

Steve Smith: I tend to have an Indian take-away in the evening, from the Kyber in Clitheroe, and a nice glass of red wine. I’m fed up of seeing turkey and all the traditional stuff by then.

Great British Life: Tim recommends a microplaner for the keen home chef in your life. PHOTO: Getty ImagesTim recommends a microplaner for the keen home chef in your life. PHOTO: Getty Images

What kitchen tool should every home cook be given?

Steve Smith: A temperature probe. It’s the one time of year when most households will be cooking meat so you want it to be the best it can be.

Stosie Madi: I think a good pan is an essential.

Katie Wilson: Last Christmas many of my folks received an Opinel Bread Knife and this year (spoiler alert family) stockings will be heavier with a Stockel size 20 Ice Cream Scoop. Both gifts are around £30.

The knife is as recommended and sold by bread legends, Aiden & Catherine at Lovingly Artisan of Kendal and the scoop is oerfect for local ices such as Rosy Goat low lactose choices, fabulous Farm on Fell gelato or Wallings Christmas Pud flavour.

Tim Allen: A microplane grater.

What one tip does every home cook need to know at Christmas?

Steve Smith: Be as organised as is humanly possible. Whatever meal you’re cooking it’s all about the preparation.

Stosie Madi: I agree, preparation is everything.

Tim Allen: Make sure you brine your turkey the day before it keeps it wonderfully moist and develop the flavours.

Katie Wilson: It will soon be over, so if you’ve been in full blown host mode, treat yourself in January. Go to or follow the Obsession Food Festival at Northcote, learn a new skill with Dale House Barn bread making classes, make marmalade with new season Seville oranges.