UPDATED: Awards dished out to our finest foodies

Jason Atherton (left) with Walnut Tree Inn manager Christianne Heise, headchef Ryan Dunn and Booker's regional director Simon King
Jason Atherton (left) with Walnut Tree Inn manager Christianne Heise, headchef Ryan Dunn and Booker's regional director Simon King
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The county’s finest food and drink specialists were celebrated at a glitzy award ceremony as pubs and restaurants were crowned the best in their business.

The Walnut Tree Inn in Blisworth won Booker Food Pub of the Year and staff received its award from Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton.

Head chef at Murray's Harvey Lockwood was runner-up chef of the year

Head chef at Murray's Harvey Lockwood was runner-up chef of the year

Donald Turnbull and his wife Bernie have been running the hotel and restaurant since 2004 when they revamped and renamed The Blisworth Hotel.

Mr Turnbull said the award has given the place a lift and provided staff with the acclaiam they deserve.

He said: “They all work very hard and, of course, some of them don’t get to see the customers.

“So it’s very important for them to get this recognition.

The Walnut Tree Inn in Blisworth. ENGNNL00120110617151401

The Walnut Tree Inn in Blisworth. ENGNNL00120110617151401

“A lot of the produce we sell, we make ourselves, like the breads and the ice cream.

“It’s about delivering the complete service of cooking.”

My Turnbull thinks locally sourced produce is the secret to the restaurant’s success.

He said: “We have developed a good relationship with producers over the years and we try to offer quality produce throughout.

“The food, but also the beers. Ales are brewed locally and we do organic juices for kids without any added sugar.

“There’s something for everybody from pub classics to more fine dining.”

Head chef of Murray’s at Whittlebury Hall, Harvey Lockwood (pictured left), was runner-up Chef of the Year at the same awards.

All 17 Northants Food and Drink Award winners were announced over dinner at Derngate in Northampton on October 16.

The awards, devised by Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership, is now in its sixth year and recognises the county’s best dining venues.

Special guest for the night was Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton who presented the hand-crafted ceramic plate trophies to the winners.

He said: “It’s been amazing to come back to Northamptonshire and to witness firsthand the passion that the county’s producers, restaurant owners, chefs and all those here tonight have for the work that they do.

“I can only say well done to them all – they should feel very proud.”

For a full rundown of winners visit www.northamptonshirefoodanddrink.co.uk