Blu Bistro named as Chesterfield’s top restaurant
Chatsworth Road’s Blu Bistro & Coffee House has been named as Chesterfield’s Restaurant of the Year at the town’s 2017 Food and Drink Awards.
Blu has been shortlisted for the prestigious award four years running, however 2017 has seen the family-owned restaurant finally take the top title in the annual competition which is organised by Destination Chesterfield.
Blu was one of 12 bars, restaurants, food producers, cafes and individuals to scoop an accolade across 13 categories in this year’s Chesterfield Food and Drink Awards 2017.
Judges described Blu as a ‘hidden gem’ which far exceeded their expectations. They added: “From the minute we were greeted to the end of the evening the whole experience was a sheer delight. A truly exciting, gastronomic journey. The cooking techniques were outstanding, as were the combinations of flavours.”
One of Chesterfield’s newest bars, Bottle & Thyme, which opened its doors in December last year, celebrated its first year in business with a double award win on the night, scooping the titles of Best Newcomer and Best Customer Service.
Delhi 41, based on Sheffield Road on Whittington Moor, also celebrated multiple success on the night when it retained the International Restaurant of the Year title for a record four consecutive years. Since the category was introduced to the awards line up in 2014, Delhi 41 has won every single year. Matlock-based restaurant Stones, also retained its title of Best Out of Town for the second consecutive year.
Celebrity baker and couture cake maker to royalty and the A List, Mich Turner MBE hosted the awards ceremony, which was held on Wednesday 25 October at Chesterfield College’s Heart Space Building.
More than 250 people attended what has become the biggest night of the year for Chesterfield’s food and drink community. Held in association with The Chesterfield College Group, the awards are designed to also be a hands-on learning experience for the College’s hospitality students who both prepare the two course menu and serve at the sell-out event each year.
Julie Richards, Principal of Chesterfield College said: “Congratulations to everyone who was nominated as a finalist for the Food and Drink Awards this year and well done to all the winners. It is an honour for the college to play such a big part in this celebration of the local food and drink industry. It is a highlight in our calendar, providing a fantastic opportunity to showcase the college’s catering and hospitality department and to develop the skills of the students who take part in the preparation of the food and the hospitality for the evening.”
Organiser of the awards Dominic Stevens, Destination Chesterfield Manager, said: “Once again the Food and Drink Awards were a runaway success with more new names appearing in the winners roll alongside established names. This is a reflection of how the town’s food and drink scene is both growing and evolving, catering for everyone’s tastes, and mirroring the development of Chesterfield as a whole.”
The winners of the 2017 Chesterfield Food and Drink Awards are:
Restaurant of the Year – sponsored by Chesterfield Borough Council
Blu Bistro & Coffee House
Adam Warwick, Head Chef at Blu Bistro & Coffee House: “We’ve been nominated four years running so to finally win is incredible. Teamwork is the key. Everything we do, all 15 of us, we do together. We work as a team and it’s paid off… finally.”
Café and Tea Room of the Year – sponsored by Custom Solar
The Lilypad Café and Restaurant
Emily Chapman, owner of The Lilypad Café and Restaurant, said; “It’s amazing to win. It feels incredible – especially after winning Best Newcomer of the Year in 2016. Never being boring and keeping ahead is the key to success.”
Gastro Pub of the Year – sponsored by arvato
The Market Pub
Demi McLuskey, Manager of The Market Pub, said: “There are seven chefs at the Market Pub who are led by head chef Tracey. We all work closely together which is important in such a small kitchen. We love what we do and we’re all massive foodies; which all helps!”
Pub/Bar of the Year – sponsored by Banner Jones Solicitors
Michael Walker, Owner of Junction Bar, said: “It’s an amazing achievement ahead of our first birthday in November. Chatsworth Road is on the up and we wanted to introduce a premium bar alongside the real ale offering in the area and it is working very well.”
Chesterfield’s Best Newcomer – sponsored by BHP Chartered Accountants
Bottle & Thyme
Gavin Grainger, joint owner of Bottle & Thyme, said: “It’s a small, family run business; even our parents are involved. Our main focus is on creating a positive, happy environment for people to come and have a good time – that’s why we have focused on customer service in our first year of opening. We hope we’ve brought something different to Chesterfield’s nightlife. We want to appeal to to a range of ages with our cocktails and live music.”
Best Customer Service – sponsored by East Midlands Chamber
Bottle & Thyme
Best Out of Town – sponsored by Shorts Chartered Accountants
Stones Restaurant, Matlock
Kevin Stone, Owner of Stones Restaurant said: “We’re striving to do even better and give our guests the best experience. We’re a family run business that is small, approachable and we have amazing food that keeps people coming through the door.”
Chesterfield Food Producer of the Year – presented by The Chesterfield College Group
Teresa Lambarelli, owner of Teresa Lambarelli’s said: “It’s fantastic to have a hat trick of wins. Started by my father more than 40 years ago, we were the first pizzeria in Chesterfield. Now we make and supply pasta sauces throughout the UK and have just opened a pasta and prosecco bar on Chatsworth Road. I enjoy what I do and I have loyal customers that return to me time and time again. I have a great team who are helping me succeed and I wouldn’t be achieving such a level of success without them all.”
Young Chef of the Year – sponsored by The Parish Church of St. Mary and All Saints
“The cook off was really intense! Although it went much better than I thought it would and I think that’s the best I have ever done with the dish. I love getting to know different recipes and learning different methods. That’s how I decided on my menu for the judges. I knew it would be fun to make and I would get to try out new techniques.”
International Restaurant of the Year – sponsored by MSE Hiller
Azmular Rahman, Manager of Delhi 41 said: “Every year we look forward to the competition to make sure we’re doing the right thing. The Chesterfield Food and Drink Awards are the benchmark of our success to ensure we’re continuing to do things well.“
Family Friendly – sponsored by Jumble Creative Design
Chesters Restaurant and Takeaway
Chris Ioannides, owner of Chesters Restaurant and Takeaway, said: “We’re a family based restaurant and are very proud to win the award. We concentrate on making families and kids feel welcome and try to make it a place where adults can enjoy a drink and children can enjoy playing.”
Conference and Banqueting – sponsored by Mitchells Chartered Accountants and
Casa Hotel Business Advisers
Adam Yeomans, Casa Conferencing and Banqueting Supervisor, said: “I am delighted to win the award. Most of the success comes from behind the scenes and being attentive to the guests.”
Food Hero – sponsored by Casa Hotel
Paul Maude, Career Pathway Leader Hospitality and Catering at Chesterfield College Chesterfield College.
On winning his award Paul Maude, whose career has spanned nearly 40 years, said: “It’s a great honour to train the next generation of chefs and see them succeed and qualify. I am emotional and honoured to win the award.”
Other supporters of the awards include the Derbyshire Times, Peak FM, Sheffield City Region Growth Hub, City Taxis, Owen Taylor & Sons, ra Information Systems, Franklin and Sons Ltd, Addooco, Steve Faulkner and Reflections.