Food and drink businesses throughout Furness and the South Lakes have been busy celebrating following the first ever Cumbria Life Food & Drink Award.
With Hairy Biker and fellow Cumbrian Dave Myers as host the glitzy awards dinner held at Kendal College was truly a night to remember! It was an evening filled with fantastic fine dining and local produce that celebrated the Crème de la Crème of all Cumbria has to offer – culminating with an awards ceremony which saw the General Burgoyne of Great Urswick scoop ‘Best Newcomer of the Year’!
The category of ‘Best Newcomer’ was open to any business that had been operating for less than 12 months. Top Lake District Chef Craig Sherrington left behind a stellar career in leading restaurant and hotel kitchens and took over the General Burgoyne near Ulverston in July 2010 with wife Louise.
From the word go Craig and Louise adopted the phrase “As good as it used to be but better!” They had high hopes of taking the Burgoyne to the next level in pub dining but – to take the words out of their mouths – “it was in a bit of a sorry state at that time and we had a huge challenge on our hands”.
The décor was dated, the drinkers were dwindling and the diners had all but disappeared. It is fair to say that Craig and Louise have been “working hard at working hard”. They have completely redecorated the Orange Dining Room, renovated the unused darts area (now a lovely welcoming lounge with a wood burner and comfortable seating) and still found time to produce some of the finest food in Furness.
“All of the food is made on the premises using only the best quality, local, seasonal produce without compromise – It tastes better that way!” Craig enthuses, “if we don’t make it we don’t serve it (with the exception of bread and ice cream, but as we grow we have plans to make these in-house too).”
For the ‘Best Newcomer Award’, the judges confessed to being “blown away by the experience and the sense of community” at the General Burgoyne. The customer is no mere customer when they visit the Burgoyne – whether they are having the full gourmet banquet or a pint of Robinsons best – they are welcomed as friends and valued like family.
“Craig and I are not anonymous owners” Louise Sherrington explains. “We are there on a daily basis, heavily involved in the day to day running of the business, and we encourage the locals to gather in the bar for a couple of pints and a bit of friendly banter – it’s what village life is all about.”
Unlike the spectacular success of Craig’s ‘Peanuts and a Pint’ dessert which stunned the judges, the audience and his rivals at Robinsons ‘Have you got the bottle?’ chef’s challenge, the recent ‘Best Newcomer’ accolade cannot be attributed to any one dish. It was a combination of “good food, good beer and good company” says Craig.
But Craig and Louise Sherrington remain modest, proud to attribute their accomplishments to their loyal staff and customers: “we want to thank all of our customers, old and new, because without your ongoing support we wouldn’t be here. This is your award – we just accepted it on your behalf.”
Refusing to rest on their laurels, all at the General Burgoyne are looking to grow the business and produce the best of British dishes (complete with Craig’s culinary trademark twists) … onwards and upwards as they say!
PR enquiries: Daniella.Martin@frederic-robinson.co.uk or call 0161 480 6571