Christchurch food and drink professionals honoured at awards evening

Businesses, chefs and barmen from Christchurch were honoured at the Christchurch Food & Wine Festival’s Awards for Excellence ceremony held at the Pavilion at the King’s Arms Hotel.

Special guest Simon Calder, senior travel editor at The Independent, joined the Food Festival’s Chairman, Vicki Hallam, to present the awards to recipients reflecting the diversity of the borough’s food producers, suppliers and providers.

Awards went to The King’s Arms Hotel, recognising their Michelin Bib Gourmand status, to Highcliffe’s Chris Watkins Family Butchers and to local fisherman and Mudeford Lifeboat volunteer, Pete Dadds.

Two local farms in Sopley also received awards – Owls Barn Farm and Dan Tanner’s Sopley Farm – while local business Jimmy’s Iced Coffee was honoured for its successful growth.

Food Festival founder and President Mary Reader presented the night’s special award to Ian Gibbs for his contribution to the industry and in recognition of his work for the Food Festival Education Trust over the years.

During the Food Festival secret shoppers from the United Kingdom Bartenders Guild visited establishments in the borough looking for the very best bar experience. The winner was judged to be The Captains Club Hotel. Meanwhile the Hotel’s barman, Tommo Quy landed the award of Best Bartender following a competition to produce a cocktail using Conker Gin. Rupert Holloway from Conker Spirit was present to announce the award.

The final award of the evening was for the Professional Chef of the Year. Following the heats at the Bournemouth & Poole College when ten local chefs took part, three chefs went on to the final held at Purewell Electrical’s Neff Cookery Theatre.

The three finalists were Adam Hart and Luke Phillips from Chewton Glen and Craig McColm from The Jetty, with Luke Phillips taking the title. Luke graduated from Bournemouth & Poole College’s Specialised Chef Course after completing his apprenticeship at The Chewton Glen and then went back to work full-time at the hotel.

Following the awards ceremony, Simon Calder entertained the audience with an amusing presentation about his travels abroad.

To conclude the event, Vicki Hallam said: “We are very grateful for the contributions of all of the sponsors of the Food Festival and I would especially like to thank the sponsors of the Awards, Harbour Hotels Group, for helping to make this evening such a success. I also congratulate all the winners and thank them for their contribution to the food and drink scene in Christchurch.”