Taste of Exmoor Awards 2017: The voting has begun

All restaurants participating in this year’s Exmoor Food Fest are eagerly awaiting your vote.  Choose your favourite dining experience, the best taste, ambience and service – and the Exmoor Chef of the Year and the Exmoor Host of the Year will be crowned on 27 March 2017 at an Awards Ceremony in Butlins.

This is the first time we are running a Taste of Exmoor Award, and we are looking forward to receiving your votes!


Three #ExFF17 restaurants listed among the Top 50 Gastropubs

Today, in the Top 50 Gastropubs Awards, three Exmoor Food Fest gastropubs found out their ranking:  We would like to congratulate The Swan, Bampton, Tarr Farm Inn and The Mason Arms for making the finals of these prestigious industry awards.

The Swan came in on rank 50, Tarr Farm rank 27 and The Mason Arms on rank 15.  We are very proud that these outstanding restaurants are part of the Exmoor Food Fest.  While The Mason Arms have now sold out all #ExFF17 places, get in touch with The Swan and Tarr Farm before they are booked out as well!

Here is some background info on the Top 50 Gastropub Awards:

16406742_639119626276029_8146631059750780189_nThe “Estrella Damm” Top 50 Gastropub Awards are voted for by top foodies and hospitality experts. These include gastropub operators (who can’t vote for their own pubs), food writers, pubco catering development managers and executive chefs, celebrity and top hospitality industry chefs, pub guide editors, industry chiefs and food operators. The voting criteria ensures the list really is decided by the industry.

To find out more, please have a look at the Top 50 Gastropub Awards website.

Clavelshay Barn joins the Exmoor Food Fest

Clavelshay Barn Restaurant near Taunton/Bridgwater is one of the establishments taking part. Co-owner, Sue Milverton, said: “We’re delighted once again this year to be participating in the 2017 Exmoor Food Fest from February 1 until 28.

 “It’s all about showcasing the very best our region has to offer. It is a celebration of all local produce and local talent, the very things we’re devoted to here at Clavelshay.”

Clavelshay Barn will be running special menus as part of Exmoor Food Fest on Wednesday and Thursday evenings during February with two courses priced £10 and three courses £15.

The award-winning business, which at the end of last year was crowned as the Westcountry’s top restaurant in the Taste of the West Awards and named the region’s ‘No. 1 Place to Go’, also has accolades from the Bristol, Bath and Somerset Awards, run by Services for Tourism, for being the Restaurant of the Year and having the very highest standards in customer service.

Sue, who co-owns the restaurant with her husband Bill, said: “We won seven awards in 2016 including the Taste of the West South West Restaurant of the Year and being named their No 1 Place to Go.

“We also won Silver in the Bristol Bath & Somerset Tourism Awards – Restaurant of the Year category and won Gold in the Unsung Hero for Customer Service. These were a direct result of all the effort everyone on the team puts in on a daily basis here. We also owe a great deal to our wonderful diners who give us lots of support and encouragement.

“We pride ourselves on serving up the very best in customer service, use only the highest quality local, seasonal ingredients and have developed a stunning menu thanks to our incredible French head chef, Olivier Certain, who has a flair for creating some of the most fabulous food I have ever tasted. 

“Olivier creates stunning dishes with French flair. His style of cooking is classical French but after living in England for more than 18 years, he has learnt English dishes to an extremely high standard and knows exactly what our diners like to eat.”

The restaurant is in a lovingly restored and converted 18th century stone barn at the foot of the picturesque Quantock Hills at Lower Clavelshay Farm near North Petherton.

The restaurant is set on a family-run farm that produces its own milk, beef, pork, lamb and eggs, which all feature in its top quality and tasty dishes.

Sue added: “At Clavelshay, we also strive to use as much produce as possible from the farm and the surrounding countryside. We use our own pork, rose veal, wild rabbit, pigeon, pheasant and our own farm-reared beef on the menu.

“We have a walled garden where we grow salad leaves, herbs, soft fruit and vegetables. If it is not possible to use our own produce, we only use local suppliers who can provide us with quality local produce, which is fully traceable.” 

Also in 2016, Sue and the team won a top accolade for the best micro business in the Sedgemoor Business Excellence Awards.

Olivier will also be cooking at a special launch dinner for the 2017 festival at the Luttrell Arms in Dunster on January 26 He will be one of five award-winning chefs joining the Luttrell’s Head Chef, Barrie Tucker to cook seven courses.


Exmoor Food Fest celebrates the Taste of Exmoor

In February, the third Exmoor Food Fest will tempt foodies to eat their way across Exmoor when participating restaurants offer two courses for £10/ 3 courses for £15.00.  There will also be markets and food related events during this time, celebrating the best our region has to offer.

A special dinner will launch the 2017 festival at the Luttrell Arms in Dunster on 26 January: Six award winning chefs are going to join Head Chef Barrie Tucker to cook seven courses for some very lucky diners.  The menu is still a secret, but will focus on local produce and seasonal fare.

Exmoor is home to many outstanding local products such as Porlock Oysters and Exmoor Caviar.

Diners at the Exmoor Food Fest launch will be able to taste Wicked Wolf Gin which is handcrafted by husband and wife team Pat Patel and Julie Heap on their property on Exmoor on the banks of the river Lyn.  Nettlecombe based award winning Secret Orchard Cider and Madrigal Ales (brewed in Lynmouth) are two more outstanding local products which are available to sample at some of the Exmoor Markets which will take place in February. 

The Exmoor Food Fest runs through the whole month of February.  Originally the idea of local chef Andrew Dixon, the event is now organised by Elke Winzer who is also behind Exmoor4all (an online platform for all things Exmoor, including an online shop) and the Exmoor Markets which take place regularly at Tesco’s Minehead and other locations around Exmoor.  The Dunster Food Festival will be the grand finale on the Exmoor Food Fest on the last weekend in February.

“The Exmoor Food Fest helps local businesses in the hospitality sector to show off their skills. The festival deal of 2 courses for £10 tempts many people into restaurants at a time of year when business tends to be slow,” explains Elke Winzer.

For the first time, all participating restaurants will take part in the Taste of Exmoor Awards.  Customers will be able to vote online for their best dining experience – the winners will be crowned at the Awards Ceremony at Butlins at the end of March.  Tearooms and village shops are also encouraged to sign up for the Exmoor Food Fest.

Information about all the restaurants signed up for the Exmoor Food Fest as well as tearooms and village shops will be available on the website www.exmoorfoodfest.com

It’s raining stars on Exmoor!

The team at Exmoor Food Fest would like to congratulate all these amazing chefs:

thomas-carr-and-john-curtis-michlin-starThomas Carr and his team at the Olive Room in Ilfracombe won their first Michelin star: “A local chef who knows how to make the best our of his local ingredients.”


Mark Dodson

Mark Dodson and his team at The Mason Arms in Knowstone retained their Michelin star for the 12th year.





Barrie Tucker

Barrie Tucker and his team at the Luttrell Arms in Dunster were awarded an AA Rosette.



And, finally, Olivier Certain at the Clavelshay Barn has just been announced to be a Taste of the West 2016 Champion as “Best Restaurant”!  This comes two weeks after winning an award in the Somerset Life Food & Drink Awards.

Congratulations to all the chefs and their teams!

Somerset Life Food and Drink Awards

We are very excited to be one of the three finalists in the Somerset Life Food and Drink Awards “Best Food Event”.  On 15 September we will find out whether we have won.
Congratulations also go to a number of restaurants who have taken part in the Exmor Food Fest for also making it into the finals:  Clavelshay Barn, Luttrell Arms and The Beach Hotel in Minehead.

Now it’s a question of waiting and having all fingers, spoons and ladels crossed!