January & February Food Bites

As we start 2014 there is plenty going on in the What’s What! area to delight and excite food lovers…

The Inn opens in Shipley
Brunning and Price, the Chester-based pub group that runs Coalport’s Woodbridge opened The Inn at Shipley in December. Formerly the Thornescroft restaurant, the pub dates from 1771 and has been extensively refurbished. “It’s a wonderful historic house which oozes character. We’ve spent five months transforming it into a traditional country pub with proper foodie credentials,” explained manager Rachel Lloyd. “We’ve stripped the property back to the original Georgian building, and sensitively redesigned the interior, adding new kitchens and customer areas. Our sister pubs have built a fine reputation for their food, and we’re setting the quality bar just as high here. The menus have a core of freshly prepared, classic British dishes complemented by more exotic influences – in other words, modern British cookery.” The pub will seat 160, and the outside areas of the pub have been landscaped and terraced to provide dining areas on sunny days. “We’re employing 40 people from the local area,” said Rachel. “We also use local food producers as far as possible.”

Hobsons are the Taste of Shropshire
Hobsons Brewery in Cleobury Mortimer is celebrating after being toasted as the Taste of Shropshire in the Shropshire Star’s inaugural Tourism and Leisure Awards. The award, for businesses that produce or prepare food with a ‘local flavour’, was presented at an lunch held at Enginuity in the Ironbridge Gorge. The Brewery, founded by father and son team Jim and Nick Davis, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Ludlow Food Centre was runner up and Fordhill Organic Farm near Market Drayton was third.

In the Best Pub Grub category, Little Wenlock pub The Huntsman triumphed. The Huntsman was reopened by Peter Morris and Dale Williams in 2013 after extensive refurbishment and sources its food from a host of local suppliers. The George and Dragon in Much Wenlock came in third place in the Pub of the Year category. Both pubs were in categories voted for by readers.

Diamond award winner scoops national title
Paul and Kirsty Westaway, of home-delivery firm Paul & Kirsty’s Perfect Night In, are celebrating being named Beef Innovators of the Year in the Farmers Guardian for their Aberdeen Angus meat. Paul and Kirsty are no strangers to winning – in the 2013 Heart of England Fine Foods awards, Perfect Night In fillet steaks won the fresh meat category and their sirloins were highly commended. HEFF chef Danny Silcock, who cooked for the judges, said they were among the best steaks he’d sampled in 18 years of professional cooking. And in a further innovation, the duo have turned to Shropshire-based foodie businessman Phil Christopher to team their meat with wine from artisan vineyards in Europe, creating the perfect gift solution for lovers of fine steak and wine… which saw huge sales in the run-up to Christmas.

Will Holland to open in Bridgnorth
Chef Will Holland, who famously earned a Michelin star before the age of 30, has secured a property in Bridgnorth and plans to carry out extensive refurbishments before launching his restaurant this spring. Will Holland came to prominence after securing a star for La Bécasse in Ludlow. He said, “I’m delighted to be remaining in Shropshire, where I’ll be able to build on the relationships I have with local food producers, farmers and suppliers.”

Will has featured regularly on James Martin’s Saturday Kitchen Live and was the Midland’s regional champion on BBC TV’s Great British Menu. The Good Food Guide predicted Will would be one of the ‘ten most influential chefs of the decade’.

Funds available for food and drink manufactures
Grants of up to £5,000 are available via the Business and Enterprise Fund for businesses based in Shropshire or Telford & Wrekin. The funding is available until December and is open to small to medium-sized enterprises to support start up, growth and diversification. Businesses are required to match-fund 50 per cent of grants and projects already supported have included the purchase of large-scale equipment such as walk-in freezers, ovens, packaging machines and alterations to premises to increase food production areas and offices. The scheme has £700,000 available and is set to assist over 100 existing businesses and 40 start-ups. To find out more, contact 01743 252596 business@shropshire.gov.uk or Telford & Wrekin 01952 567589 investintelford@telford.gov.uk

Roman cookery workshop
Wroxeter Roman City near Cressage will be running a cookery workshop with a difference on Wednesday 26 February when participants will get to take part in a Roman cookery workshop, finding out about the authentic cooking techniques, ingredients and recipes of the time and create genuine Roman dishes. Run by English Heritage, the workshop will run from 10am-1pm and 2pm-5pm. Booking essential; call 0870 333 1181.

Farmhouse breakfast week
Farmhouse Breakfast Week (Sunday 26 January to Saturday 1 February) is an annual celebration championing the importance of breakfast. Started in 2000, the campaign, run on behalf of arable farmers, aims to encourage people to enjoy a healthy breakfast more regularly. Activities include tasting sessions, breakfast competitions, cookery demonstrations, special breakfast menus and school breakfast clubs throughout the county. On Friday 31 January from 9 to 11am, the Taste kitchen at Battlefield will host a five-course tutored breakfast, with local producers sharing their story and passion for great food and drink. To find out more about what’s going on in our area visit shakeupyourwakeup.com and to book the breakfast visit heff.co.uk/pages/FOODIE/EVENTS

Burns night cookery demo
On Friday 24 January, the Taste kitchen at Heart of England Fine Foods, Battlefield in Shrewsbury, will host a Robert Burns themed cookery demo and afternoon tea. Cost is £15 per person, to include a scrumptious afternoon tea.

Calendar girls visit Ludlow
Late last year, The Ludlow Food Centre brought a group of very famous ladies to Shropshire to raise money for charity. The centre has been raising funds for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research throughout 2013 and in November the ‘Calendar Girls’ visited the Centre’s Ludlow Kitchen cafe to tell the story of how they bared all for charity.

Managing director Edward Berry said, “For over 14 years, their story has touched many people who have been affected by blood cancer. It is one of loss, friendship and strength that so many can relate to. The afternoon tea was a great success and raised much-needed funds. We chose Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research as our charity of year when one of our farmers was taken severely ill with leukaemia. Sadly we lost him only weeks ago but this has made us all the more determined to help the charity find ways to save those like him.”


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