Surrey Life Food & Drinks Awards 2015 Results

Winner Food and Drink Producer at the Surrey Life Food and Drink Awards 2015

Sponsored by Pennyhill Park

Winner: Dylan’s Ice Cream

“Dylan’s Ice Cream just has something extra special!” said judge Rebecca Hill. “Ben is clearly passionate and hard-working. People come from miles around to taste the ice cream that he makes himself on what was once a dairy farm, and the locals bring him fruit and other flavoursome products to make one-off ice creams with! He has a unique product and has made it work. His shop is beautifully decorated and has a wonderful involvement with the local community, especially local schools. Congratulations to Ben and his staff for all the hard work they put in to making the shop and the ice cream a success.”

Highly commended: Silent Pool Gin

Highly commended: Chalk Hills Bakery


Winner Butcher of the Year at the Surrey Life Food and Drink Awards 2015

Sponsored by T&G Wholesale Meats Limited

Winner Simon Taylor

“From his relationship with a local chicken farm to passing on his skills to students of a local school, Simon Taylor is bringing traditional butchery into a modern age of sustainability where butchers are respected, trusted and appreciated for their invaluable link between local farms and the dinner table,” said judge Charlie Hoare, Director of catering and hospitality at Huntington House and Langham Court.

Highly commended: Black Barn Butchers

Highly commended: Graham Turner Butchers


Winner Independent Retailer of the Year at the Surrey Life Food and Drink Awards 2015

Sponsored by The Great Big Event Co

Winner: Garsons Farm Shop

“A real family business whose passion and high standards is reflected in the excellent products & produce beautifully displayed in the shop, so very thoughtfully sourced and always with the customer in mind,” said judge Philippa Ratcliffe. “As much of the fresh fruit and veg as possible comes from the farm itself and of exceptional quality. The epitome of what a farm shop should be.”

Highly commended: Cullenders

Highly commended: Godalming Food Company


Winner Newcomer of the Year at the Surrey Life Food and Drink Awards 2015

Sponsored by Wood and Wisdom

Winner: The Art of Curry

“Sameena produces traditional, homemade curry sauces from her tiny kitchen at home,” said judge Peter Lee. “She was made redundant last year and just thought she’d give it a go. You cannot buy freshly made, authentic curry sauces in the supermarket (or anywhere) so there is a big gap in the market. Based on what she learned from her mother, Sameena created, perfected and produced this range of curry sauces, then packaged, marketed and sold them starting at trade fairs and a stall in Godalming market in the high street. She launched her product in March 2015 and it’s taken off. She can’t make them fast enough! I have tasted her wares and they are delicious. Sameena now sells out of Farmers’ Markets, Delis (including one in Yorkshire), Farm Shops, Village Shops and online (to customers in Jersey, Sweden and Australia) and she is being courted by the supermarkets. Sameena also runs a dining club (and pop up restaurant in her garden) and curry classes as well.”

Highly commended: Passionate about Fish

Highly commended: The Restaurant at Tante Marie


Winner Food and Drink Innovation at the Surrey Life Food and Drink Awards 2015

Sponsored by Mandolay Hotel

Winner: Silent Pool Distillery

“Ian has created a product that Surrey can be truly proud of,” said judge Christine Howard. “The Silent Pool Gin bottle is stunningly beautiful and captures an old Surrey story about the maid drowning in Silent Pool when Bad King John made “improper” advances towards her.

The ingredients of the gin also tell a botanical story of Surrey. The thought that has gone into creating the flavours to make a local Surrey gin is extremely clever.  I am not a gin drinker but I have many locals who are and several of them have told me how much they rate the flavour.

The gin is now stocked on P&O cruise liners and many top bars in London so it is really starting to put Surrey on the map. The clever symbiotic relationship with the local vineyards, diversifying into grappa and schnapps and vodka makes good business sense and continues to extend the range of local Surrey products.

At every level of the business, great thought has gone into the look and feel of the place.  The still was bought not only for its functionality but also to look good. Even special lighting was specified to enhance visitors’ impressions of the place when they visited.

The storage canisters could have just been the usual round ones with dust collecting in the corners but Ian went to great lengths to get beautifully designed stainless steel square ones, which are as much art as engineering.

Not only this but Ian and his team have created a new business from a derelict farm building in the Surrey countryside and created several new jobs – and all this during one of the deepest recessions in history. His enthusiasm and passion for the project can’t help but win you over.

Highly commended: Tinder Box

Highly commended: Surrey Spice


Winner Best Local Food Event at the Surrey Life Food and Drink Awards 2015

Sponsored by BBC Radio Surrey

Winner: Woking Food Festival

“Woking Food Festival is a genuine event, three days of passionate focus on different aspects of food, held once a year, not just a regular market,” said judge Jane Garrett. “It is a celebration of food on many levels: buying, tasting, discovering, and learning and it involves food producers and professional chefs in everything from cookery demonstrations to master classes, competitions and guided tours.

There is an emphasis on local food but also a strong emphasis on community, so this festival uses food to bring the community together. It is growing fast, it has developed an identity really quickly so people are asking about it, and it is developing new ideas and spreading into different areas of the town. This is just its third year but it has really taken off. The festival is commercially sponsored and free to visitors, with just the master class donations going to charity.

Highly commended: Surbiton Farmers Market

Highly commended: Ripley Farmers Market


Winner Restaurant of the Year at the Surrey Life Food and Drink Awards 2015

Sponsored by Scattergoods

Winner: The French Table, Surbiton

“All three restaurants were worthy finalists, and it was particularly pleasing to have a range of types of restaurant in this category,” said judge Dr Anita Eves. “All restaurants provided me and my guest with a wonderful evening, and excellent food. The French Table pipped the others to the title for its refined décor, its confidence in its offer, its superb food and knowledgeable and passionate staff. All staff were able to describe each dish or wine in detail, and with an enthusiasm that was infectious.”

Highly commended: Rays Indian

Highly commended: London House


Winner Best Farm Shop at the Surrey Life Food and Drink Awards 2015

Sponsored by NFU Mutual Oxted branch

Winner Garsons Farm Shop, Esher

“This category was much harder than I thought – each of the finalists were best at something and I’m so glad I employed a scoring system,” said judge Diana Roberts. “The winner was a surprise to me when I added them all up – could have been any one of the three. However, Garsons is clean, welcoming, well laid out with an overwhelming selection of local produce – much of it grown on their own fields surrounding the shop, and an equally spectacular selection of sourced products – approximately 60% sourced within 40 miles of the store.  During our visit to Garsons we engaged with a number of staff at all levels and this is what clinched it for them.  This family run business – running into several generations has a high standard of customer service and the enthusiasm and love the staff have for the business and the products they are selling is infectious.”

Highly commended: Priory Farm Shop, Nutfield

Highly commended: Fannys Farm Shop, Merstham


Winner Chef of the Year at the Surrey Life Food and Drink Awards 2015

Sponsored by Hot and Cold Equipment

Winner: Steve Drake, Drakes

Highly commended: Eric Guignard, The French Table

Highly commended: Daniel Britten, Brittens

“I visited Eric and Dan last week and was somewhat stunned by the quality,” said judge Andrew Maxwell. “Eric’s cooking is classical but excellent… he clearly runs a great restaurant with a fabulous local following and a team who love and respect him.

We followed this up with a visit to Britten’s in Guildford. Dan produced a meal which showed impressive skill across a wide range of abilities – modern techniques and twists on classic ideas, out of the box thinking and a restaurant which (as a relative newcomer to Surrey) would clearly benefit massively from winning this category. Where I was most impressed though, was that for all the modern ideas and original cooking, Dan served me the best Tarte Tatin I have ever eaten. The most classical cooking, executed with perfection.

I was very torn between Dan and Eric. But then, yesterday, I went to Drakes.

Steve runs a tough kitchen, although I do believe he has mellowed a bit and I understand he now has a solid team in his kitchen who have been with him for a while. This is a good sign. His cooking is simply a different league to Eric and Dan and for these reasons, Steve is this year’s winner of the Chef of the Year award.”


Winner Pub of the Year at the Surrey Life Food and Drink Awards 2015

Sponsored by Visit Guildford

Winner: The Onslow Arms

“All three were great, but they were exceptional,” said judge Matthew Williams.

“We take things very seriously,” said The Onslow Arms. “The quality of our staff and service, our great range of drinks; our fresh home cooked food; and a wonderful ambience. Our kitchen prides itself in producing fresh food at affordable prices; customers can eat in the restaurant, bar, garden room or outside in our stunning garden; and we try to support local suppliers like Mews Gin, Albury Vineyard and Surrey Hills Brewery whilst still offering a great selection of lagers and spirits – we currently stock 12 gins and 14 whiskies!”

Highly commended: The Dog and Pheasant, Brook

Highly commended: Red Lion, Bletchingley


Winner Services to the Community at the Surrey Life Food and Drink Awards 2015

Sponsored by Irwin Mitchell Solicitors

Winner: The Clink.

“Quite apart from the social aspects of keeping people out of prison and giving them career openings, The Clink is now doing far more in the community to support the ex-offenders and hence there is a strong benefit to the local population,” said judge Kenneth Bare. “In addition, they are expanding their catering activities to cover external events.  Working with Centrepoint, they provide the catering and delivery for numerous third party functions – the number of canapes created, delivered and served was staggering.  Their management (and chef) seem to have vision and a level of dynamism which puts them well ahead of the other finalists.  Add in the high percentage of local produce in their catering offer and you have an operation which fully meets the category criteria and which seems to be on a sustainable upward trajectory.  A worthy winner.

Highly commended Sutton Community Farm

Highly commended The Woking Food Bank


Winner Tea/Coffee Shop of the Year at the Surrey Life Food and Drink Awards 2015

Sponsored by Farrow & Ball

Winner: The Green Rooms of Godstone

“A special place in Surrey where the passion of the owners shines through, from the lovely coffee and cakes to larger meals,” said judge James Cannon. The Green Rooms is very welcoming to children with really attentive staff who are clearly loved by their customers.  This is backed up with lovely food and innovative drinks ideas including their popping tea which combines a smoothie with special bubbles that burst in your mouth!   Jeremy and Sylvia have thrown their heart and soul into the business which shows from their funky décor to fabulous food.  It’s a great meeting place for groups and a destination stop for cyclists and motorists alike.”

Highly commended:

Highly commended:


Winner Entertainment Venue of the Year at the Surrey Life Food and Drink Awards 2015

Sponsored by ProSkin

Winner: GLive

“What a building and what an operation,” said judge Jo Oates. “The team were friendly yet very professional. To see the variety of audience that GLive cater for was super.  From lunch time mums to theatre goers, to young and up-and- coming fans, GLive has it all. The café area is accessible for all at all points during the day, offering a variety of menu choices and light bites. Their bar facilities are extensive working with local suppliers for example The Hogs Back Brewery to create the specific ‘Hogs Back Bar’. Each of the private dining rooms caters well for private dining and has private bars for each event. The main restaurant has been adapted to create a very special dining experience for all visitors. The backdrop of the restaurant has panoramic views of Guildford town centre, which gives the feeling of inner-city dining. The menu has been tailored by feedback from the regular visitors to provide a simple, yet hearty range of dishes that will tickle all taste buds. At the interval drinks, dessert and your table await – perfect. The main concert hall itself is very impressive, giving the visitor a London West End experience in the heart of Surrey.

Highly commended: Red Lion – Bletchingley

Highly commended: The Keystone


Winner Best Family Dining at the Surrey Life Food and Drink Awards 2015

Sponsored by Frobishers

Winner: The Rose and Crown

The winner by a tiny margin has to be The Rose and Crown in Thorpe. This takes into account the site, parking, access, facilities, atmosphere and service,” said judge Carrie White. “They honestly just pipped their rivals to the post.”

Highly commended: Cricketers – Horsell

Highly commended: Henrys Grill


Winner Best Local Menu at the Surrey Life Food and Drink Awards 2015

Sponsored by Surrey Hills Enterprises

Winner Britten’s Restaurant, Guildford

“Britten’s offers a relatively limited menu but with a good range of dishes across starters, mains and desserts,” said judge Professor Andrew Lockwood. “By limiting the menu they are able to make sure that all their dishes either contain local produce or, such as the house cured salmon, are produced on the premises. This extends to the wine list – for example, the rosé wine is from down the road at the Silent Pool. All this information is included on the menu and the staff were all knowledgeable about where the produce came from down to being able to describe the source of each of the cheeses. Once provided with this richness of ingredients, they are handled with assurance, care and style and all the dishes we sampled were of a very high culinary standard.

Highly commended: The Onslow Arms

Highly commended: Bletchingley Arms


Winner Pride of Surrey at the Surrey Life Food and Drink Awards 2015

Winner: Fanny Maiklem – Fanny’s Farm Shop

In our constantly changing food and drink industry, it can often be difficult to leave a lasting impression. No one, however, could ever accuse this year’s Pride of Surrey winner of not standing out from the crowd.

Fanny Maiklem, who sadly passed away in June, was the driving force behind one of Surrey’s quirkiest foodie attractions, Fanny’s Farm Shop near Merstham. A keen advocate of locally sourced produce, Fanny started selling her surplus of vegetables from a barrow outside the shop in 1979. Through force of personality and ‘sheer bloody hard work’, the farm shop has gone from strength-to-strength, with its afternoon teas in The Treehouse and beautiful cakes in The Pudding Room among the highlights. Oh, and the shelves of homemade marmalades, of course!

Such was the esteem with which Fanny and her team were held, they won Farm Shop of the Year at the inaugural Surrey Life Food & Drink Awards in 2013. Sadly, Fanny’s passing means that the farm shop is set to close on Saturday September 12. But her larger-than-life personality and support for local producers, means she will forever be in our hearts and her legacy will live on.

For all these reasons, and the many more that we could mention, Fanny Maiklem has been named Surrey Life’s Pride of Surrey 2015.




2014 Surrey Life Food & Drink Awards Winners

The Surrey Life Food and Drink Awards 2014 winners were:


Independent Retailer of the Year 2014 – sponsored by The Great Big Event Company:

Winner: The Godalming Food Company, Godalming

Highly commended: The Vineking, Reigate and Weybridge

Highly commended: Cullenders, Reigate

Farm Shop of the Year 2014 – sponsored by NFU Mutual:

Winner: Priory Farm, South Nutfield

Highly commended: Garsons, Esher

Highly commended: Village Greens Farm Shop, Ockley

Food and Drink Producer of the Year 2014 – sponsored by Lythe Hill Hotel, Restaurant & Spa:

Winner: Halliloo Longhorn Beef , Woldingham

Highly commended: High Clandon Estate Vineyard, High Clandon

Highly commended: Hogs Back Brewery, Tongham

Tea/Coffee Shop of the Year 2014 – sponsored by The Mandolay Hotel:

Winner: Pinnock’s Coffee House, Ripley

Highly commended: Glutton and Glee, Guildford

Highly commended: Quaich, East Horsley

Pub of the Year 2014 – sponsored by Guildford Tourist Information Centre:

Winner: The Four Horseshoes Chobham

Highly commended: The William Bray, Shere

Highly commended: The Fox Revived, Norwood Hill

Best Local Menu 2014 – sponsored by Surrey Hills Love Local:

Winner: The Clink, Sutton

Highly commended: The Jolly Farmers, Buckland

Highly commended: Canbury Arms, Kingston

Best Farmers’ Market 2014 – sponsored by Layla restaurant:

Winner: Ripley Farmers’ Market

Highly commended: Camberley Farmers’ Market

Highly commended: Farnham Farmers’ Market

Newcomer of the Year 2014 – sponsored by Visit Surrey:

Winner: Cellar Magneval Wine Bar & Caveau, Woking

Highly commended: The Green Room, Godstone

Highly commended: Henry’s Kitchen, East Molesey

Best Family Dining 2014 – sponsored by The Art Agency:

The Jolly Farmers, Buckland

Highly commended: The Bat and Ball, Farnham

Highly commended: The Refectory, Milford

Chef of the Year 2014 – sponsored by Hot & Cold Equipment Ltd:

Winner: Steve Drake at Drake’s Restaurant, Ripley

Highly commended: Fernando Stovell at Stovell’s, Chobham

Highly commended: Jon Coomb at The Pendleton, St John’s

Restaurant of the Year 2014 – sponsored by Huntington House:

Winner: Stovell’s, Chobham

Highly commended: The Clink, Sutton

Highly commended: Kinghams, Shere

Pride of Surrey 2014 – sponsored by Whiteley Publishing:

Barry Arminson from Kingfisher Farm Shop, Abinger Hammer

2013 Surrey Life Food & Drink Awards Winners

The Surrey Life Food and Drink Awards 2013 winners were:

Chef of the Year 2013

Winner: Kristy and Fernando Stovell, Stovell’s, Chobham

Highly commended: Ben Piette, London House, Old Woking

Highly commended: Mark Harrison, Fleurie, Godalming

Restaurant of the Year 2013

Winner: Kinghams, Shere

Highly commended: Stovell’s, Chobham

Highly commended: Carlo’s Trattoria, Newlands Corner

Best Farm Shop 2013

Winner: Fanny’s Farm Shop, near Merstham

Highly commended: Priory Farm Shop, South Nutfield

Highly commended: Crockford Bridge Farm Shop, Addlestone

Tea/Coffee Shop of the Year 2013

Winner: Pinnock’s Coffee House, Ripley

Highly commended: Glutton and Glee, Guildford

Highly commended: Tillings, Gomshall

Food and Drink Producer of the Year 2013

Winner: Hogs Back Brewery, Tongham

Highly commended: Norbury Blue Cheese, Mickleham

Highly commended: Jane’s Cakes, Witley

Pub of the Year 2013

Winner: The Jolly Farmers, Buckland

Highly commended: The Queen’s Head, Nutfield

Highly commended: The Roe Deer, Reigate

Independent Retailer of the Year 2013

Winner: The Vineking, Reigate and Weybridge

Highly commended: Bentleys of Surrey, East Molesey

Highly commended: Godalming Food Company, Godalming

Best Farmers’ Market 2013

Winner: Surbiton Farmers’ Market

Highly commended: Woking Farmers’ Market

Highly commended: Farnham Farmers’ Market

Best Local Menu 2013

Winner: The Jolly Farmers, Buckland

Highly commended: The Drummond Arms, Albury

Highly commended: Lythe Hill Hotel, Haslemere

Surrey Life Food and Drink Hero 2013

Winner: Grace & Flavour, West Horsley