As with last year, it was a huge honour for me, my wife, Beth, and the whole team at the Hand & Flowers and the Coach to be asked again by the Publican’s Morning Advertiser (PMA) to present these awards.
I’ll echo what the PMA’s food editor Nicholas Robinson said in his address on the day, which is that our part of the trade is moving forward all of the time and it doesn’t pay to stand still.
It is important that we remain at the cutting-edge and continue to make changes in order to stay ahead.
The list is very different from the one we saw last year.
There is a lot of movement within it and a lot of new entries. While we’re all very friendly, and are happy to give advice to one another and to help each other out, we mustn’t forget that it is a highly competitive trade to be in. It’s also very much a fun one to be in — let’s not forget that either.
All who were at Anglian Country Inns’ Hermitage Road Bar and Restaurant in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, are people who are changing the face of British food.
It’s a hard task to go into one of the pubs on the list and find a dish that has had no thought behind it, that isn’t perfectly executed and that doesn’t excite you. That is exactly what we’re good at doing and it shines through on the great plates that the gastropubs on the list are putting out.
Pubs like ours are the future of British dining and it’s what we’re doing that counters the negativity surrounding the wider trade, such as the talk about pub closures. It is the likes of us who are reinvigorating the trade and bringing new life to it.
If, every day, all of us strive to be just a little better than the day before, the only way is up for the British pub.
At the Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs earlier this week, I saw a lot of peer recognition. And that’s what the awards are great at doing, recognising all of the hard that is going on.
Yet, it’s not just about recognising those who are on the list, but the great things the winners of the specialist category awards are doing and those who were shortlisted for the awards too.
One last thing; the PMA team has put together a new website to showcase everyone on the list, which you should have a look at and share. You can find it at www.top50gastropubs.com.
Congratulations and well done to everybody who has made this year’s top 50 Gastropubs list and also to the award winners. Long live the pub! Now let’s get on and do what we do best…