The very best of Suffolk food and drink have been recognised as the finalists of the Suffolk Food and Drink Awards 2024.

From pubs to local producers and chefs to coffee shops, the finalists of the Suffolk Food and Drink Awards 2024 are fantastic examples of our county’s culinary excellence.

It was a tough job for our judges to narrow entries down to four finalists per category, and the winners will be announced at the celebration event at Snape Maltings on Monday, April 29.
Here we find out a bit more about our finalists:

East Anglian Daily Times: Willow Tree Farm Cafe is a finalist in the Best Coffee Shop/Cafe categoryWillow Tree Farm Cafe is a finalist in the Best Coffee Shop/Cafe category (Image: Willow Tree Farm Cafe)

Best Coffee Shop/Cafe

Chestnut & Rose

Chestnut & Rose is a plant-based café in Kesgrave that offers a range of homemade baked goods, locally roasted coffee and freshly prepared meals. 

Sarah Pearsons and her team have a real passion for bringing people together and have created a community focus to the café with regular events, including creative workshops, a weekly friendly faces table and monthly book club. 

The Greenhouse Cafe

A plant-based café in Felixstowe, The Greenhouse Café serves a weekly changing menu based on local and seasonal produce. 

The relaxed and welcoming café serves homemade cakes and daily bakes, including its legendary nossage rolls. 

Whether you are a meat eater, vegan or flexitarian, The Greenhouse Café aims to change the way you think about plant-based food. 

The Suffolk Jungle Room

The Suffolk Jungle Room is a high-end café and house plant business with two sites in Metfield and Wissett. 

The cafés provide fresh food options that utilise local produce and suppliers. 
Great food combined with excellent, personable service and a beautiful decor has proven a hit with locals, holiday makers and destination visitors.

Willow Tree Farm Café

Willow Tree Farm Café in Glemsford, near Sudbury, is a family-run venue showcasing the best of Suffolk produce, some of which is home-grown. 

Carefully selected local produce is prepared from scratch in the busy kitchen, with the ever-changing seasonal menus bringing customers back time and again. 

Its themed evenings, wood-fired pizza and Sunday lunches are particularly popular. 

East Anglian Daily Times: Husk is a finalist in the Best Newcomer categoryHusk is a finalist in the Best Newcomer category (Image: Husk)

Best Newcomer

Sponsored by Pier

ACRE Farm + Bakery

ACRE Bakery specialises in baking sourdough bread in a handcrafted wood-fired oven and using just three ingredients: flour, water and salt. Each loaf takes over 24 hours from start to finished bake.  

Located at Monewden Hall, near Woodbridge, ACRE Bakery uses flour that is made from a diverse variety of wheat grown alongside a variety of legumes,  providing a nutty flavour that’s also full of nutrition.  


Husk is a supper club, farmstead and eco retreat at Walnut Tree Farm in Thorington. Chefs Joey O’Hare and Katy Taylor sensitively and sustainably renovated the old cow sheds to offer a small commercial kitchen, large dining barn and four guest rooms. 

Husk opened in December 2022 with a sell-out run of ‘Festive Feasts’ and has been hosting supper clubs for 16 guests every Friday and Saturday evening since.  

The Suffolk Jungle Room

The Suffolk Jungle Room’s original site opened in Metfield in February 2022, providing a small cafe that’s also filled with houseplants that are for sale. 

A second site was opened at The Wissett Plough in September last year, where visitors can enjoy a wider range of items as the onsite commercial kitchen allows everything to be baked in house.

The Wine Cellar

The Wine Cellar, Bury St Edmunds is a relaxed bar focused on offering a large selection of wine from around the world.

With 80-plus wines available by the glass, it is focused on bringing undiscovered wines to guests, helping them find their next favourite style. 

The bar also has a selection of local beers, a full 0% alcohol offering and an extensive cocktail menu, plus a sharing boards and small plates menu. 

East Anglian Daily Times: Heart of Suffolk Distillery is a finalist in the Best Suffolk Producer categoryHeart of Suffolk Distillery is a finalist in the Best Suffolk Producer category (Image: Heart of Suffolk Distillery)

Best Suffolk Producer

Sponsored by The Hotel Folk

Fen Farm Dairy

This innovative third generation dairy farm in Bungay makes the much-loved Baron Bigod cheese and other raw cultured dairy products on-site. 

It solely uses the milk of its own herd of free-ranging Montbéliarde cows to make its products, which are sold nationwide and exported globally. 

Heart of Suffolk Distillery

The Heart of Suffolk Distillery is based in Bacton, near Stowmarket, and specialises in creating artisan London dry gins, including its signature Betty’s, with orange, pepper and aniseed notes; Rosie’s, a light summery gin with floral undertones; and Ivy’s, which boasts winter spices. 

Heart of Suffolk Distillery regularly crafts limited edition liqueurs filled with foraged Suffolk fruits alongside other artisan spirits, including Suffolk’s first Amaretto.

Hillfarm Oils

The Fairs family were the first British farmers to produce a premium extra virgin oil made from rapeseed, grown and pressed on their farm in Heveningham. 

Containing heart-healthy omega 3 and the lowest levels of saturated fats of all plant oils, it’s perfect for frying, roasting, baking or as a base for dressings, sauces and marinades. 

Hillfarm also sells mayonnaise, whole rapeseeds, flavoured oils, honey and a range of bee-friendly products.

Marimba World Chocolate

Marimba opened in 2008 as a specialist chocolate cafe in Sudbury and has now developed into a wholesale business, as well as opening a second location in Bury St Edmunds. 

Developing the perfect hot chocolate melts took years of experimentation and testing and led to the launch of the signature range it sells today. 

The melts are made in the ‘flakery’ in Bury St Edmunds by the family team and are served in over 750 establishments countrywide.

East Anglian Daily Times: Joey O’Hare from Husk is a finalist for the Chef of the Year categoryJoey O’Hare from Husk is a finalist for the Chef of the Year category (Image: Husk)

Chef of the Year

Ethan Baker – The Bull Inn, Woodbridge

Ethan has always had a passion for cooking, leading him to pursue an apprenticeship in France.

Over his career, he has taken every opportunity to hone his skills and learn from different cultures, working in eight countries over three continents. 

Ethan returned to his roots in England after the challenge of working as a head chef within the superyacht industry.  

Now leading the kitchen at The Bull Inn, he can channel his creativity, producing delicious menus, while nurturing and guiding the team. 

Joey O’Hare – Husk

Joey is a Ballymaloe trained chef with a culinary arts degree from Westminster Kingsway College and over 15 years culinary experience in London restaurants, private homes and leading food brands.

Along with her partner Katy, she launched Husk, where they serve seasonal menus that celebrate the very best of Suffolk produce, as well as home-grown fruits and vegetables from their kitchen garden.

Daniel Russell-Poole – Chefs’ Whites Restaurant

Dan’s first full-time role was at The Ritz, London – the perfect introduction to the high-octane, high-rewards lifestyle of a chef. 

Dan went on to be head chef at a number of establishments before he realised the next logical step would be to pass on his skills. His role as a lecturer at Suffolk New College constantly drives him to improve and hone his skills so that he can continue to support and nurture the next generation of chefs. 

Matthew Wyatt – The Fox and Goose, Fressingfield

Matthew is a passionate chef with a cooking style that creates modern and diverse flavour combinations. His menus are exciting but appealing to an array of palates. 

He enjoys challenging himself and leading his team to be enthusiastic and driven to achieve consistent results. 

Matthew believes in a positive, happy and disciplined attitude, always aiming for customer satisfaction while making himself a better chef and leader.

East Anglian Daily Times: Fen Farm Dairy is a finalist for the Field to Fork categoryFen Farm Dairy is a finalist for the Field to Fork category (Image: Fen Farm Dairy)

Field to Fork

Sponsored by Suffolk New College

A Passion for Seafood

A Passion for Seafood opened in 2020 and was the realisation of Mike Warner’s lifelong passion for seafood, fishing communities and their heritage. 

Mike sources only seasonal British fish and shellfish, which he sells in the shop at Hasketon, near Woodbridge.  

All the products are 100% traceable to the boat that caught them and the unique brand of ‘seafood with storytelling’ equips customers with the knowledge and tools to make informed choices when purchasing.  

The Bildeston Crown

The Bildeston Crown is a 15th century, 3 AA Rosette restaurant, hotel and bar. 

A former coaching inn set in Bildeston, the 12-bedroom hotel’s estate-to-plate concept uses produce grown in the kitchen gardens at Nedging Hall, less than one mile away. 

The Bildeston Crown heroes its produce, from the humble beetroot that makes its chilled soup to the Red Poll beef for its Sunday roast.

Fen Farm Dairy

The happy herd of Montbéliarde cows at Fen Farm Dairy graze the fertile marshland of the Waveney River Valley in Bungay. 

They believe in the importance of connecting people to the food they eat and the farm from which it came. They also believe it is their responsibility to be excellent stewards of the land they farm and the delicate ecosystems that live there. 

Fen Farm is on a mission to prove that dairy farming, done right, can be part of the solution, not the problem.

Sunshine and Green

Sunshine and Green is a small fruit and veg farm in Cavendish. 

The goal of the farm is to design a system for producing food that is secure and sustainable, which must in turn mean that it also enhances the countryside for the wildlife. 
The farm specialises in veg boxes that are delivered to customers’ doors, and sells its produce at local farmers markets.

East Anglian Daily Times: Alder Carr Farm is a finalist for Food and Drink Retailer of the YearAlder Carr Farm is a finalist for Food and Drink Retailer of the Year (Image: Alder Carr Farm)

Food and Drink Retailer of the Year

Alder Carr Farm

Alder Carr Farm shop is bursting with local, seasonal and artisan produce, including its own butchery, deli counter and multi-award-winning Alder Tree ice cream. 

Alongside the farm shop at Creeting St Mary, there are newly re-opened pottery, gift and antique shops, and the Courtyard Café. 

For lovers of the great outdoors, there is a plant centre supplied by Katie’s Gardens, picnic and play areas, river walks and a farm trail with farm animals.

Black Dog Deli Foods

The Black Dog Deli is committed to delivering high quality, delicious food to its customers from four locations in Walberswick, Halesworth, Wrentham and Yoxford. 

The team are passionate about curating the highest quality handmade goods, meticulously crafted with locally sourced ingredients to honour the rich flavours of Suffolk. 

Salter & King

With a passionate and progressive approach to butchery, Aldeburgh-based Salter & King offers organic, free-range and pasture-fed meat from its cohort of Suffolk farms. 

Salter and King is committed to selling only grass-reared, slow-grown livestock from regenerative, free-range or organic systems that enhance the natural world. 

Its focus on provenance means it knows each farmer, farm and herd intimately, ensuring the meat comes from animals raised with care for their welfare and the Suffolk landscape. 

Two Magpies Bakery

Two Magpies opened its doors in 2012 and has been baking its heart out ever since. 

From small beginnings in Southwold, it now has a central bakery and bake school in Walpole and Darsham, as well as bakery cafes in Aldeburgh, Norwich, Blakeney, Holt, Woodbridge, Beccles and Wells-next-the-Sea. 

Every day the team of over 200 bakers, pastry chefs and baristas bring expertise and passion to what they do best, transforming quality ingredients into delicious products and putting customer service first.

East Anglian Daily Times: The Food Hub Cookery School is a finalist for the Food/Drink Experience categoryThe Food Hub Cookery School is a finalist for the Food/Drink Experience category (Image: The Food Hub Cookery School)

Food/Drink Experience

The Bull Inn, Woodbridge

The Bull is a 16th century coaching inn located in the centre of Woodbridge. 

As befits an historic coaching inn, The Bull is friendly, warm and welcoming and provides traditional British food and drink with a focus on Suffolk produce, including local ales, lagers, wines and spirits. 

Some 90% of its seasonal produce is sourced within a one-hour drive of Woodbridge. 

The Food Hub Cookery School

The Food Hub Cookery School is located at the heart of Kenton Hall Estate in mid-Suffolk. It’s a place for food lovers of all abilities to enjoy learning, cooking and eating. 

The courses are structured so that you spend as much time learning as possible, which means no washing up!

Courses range from pasta to patisseries and bread-making to butchery, as well as evening or full day masterclasses, guest chefs and barbecue courses.  


Husk is a supper club with rooms situated on an old farmstead in Thorington. 

The experience is convivial and communal. Guests dine together around an enormous, waney-edged oak table that was made from a 300-year-old oak tree that fell during a storm on the farm in the 90s. 

Each course is introduced to shine a spotlight on provenance and seasonality, and to champion the Suffolk producers. 

With a roaring log fire, a brilliant playlist, and bright and bold contemporary artwork, the space is welcoming and the perfect place to return with friends time and again. 

The Lion

Set in a 250-year-old building in East Bergholt, the aim at The Lion is to provide a place where guests can create new memories. 

The brasserie features a large walled garden with manicured lawns, a state-of-the-art kitchen, a handcrafted bar, wine cellar, large wood burners and five boutique B&B rooms. 

In the summer months, there is an 80-seater sail cloth tent in the garden where guests can experience Mediterranean-style dining under the twinkling lights. 

East Anglian Daily Times: The Bell Hotel, Saxmundham is a finalist for the Front of House Experience categoryThe Bell Hotel, Saxmundham is a finalist for the Front of House Experience category (Image: The Bell Hotel Saxmundham)

Front of House Experience

The Bell Hotel, Saxmundham

Following a £1 million renovation in 2022, The Bell Hotel, Saxmundham seamlessly combines modern comfort with historic charm. 

Guests enjoy Hypnos mattresses, a restaurant serving fresh seafood and local produce, the inviting Coast Lounge and the dog-friendly River Bar. 

Whether it’s a romantic getaway, a corporate stay, or a family weekend, the hotel’s location makes it perfect for exploring Suffolk’s coastal gems, historic towns and Framlingham Castle. 

The Fox and Goose

Independently run by Paul Yaxley since 2002, The Fox and Goose in Fressingfield offers dining over two floors in five different areas. 

The pub and restaurant specialises in modern British cuisine, created using as much local produce as possible and served in a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere.


Chef Katy Taylor welcomes every guest as they come through the door to the Husk supper club.

Regular customers are quickly spotted and welcomed back, and any new customers are introduced to the space. 

The table plan is considered ahead of guests arriving to ensure regular customers have different seats each time. 

The service is functional and precise, and everything is served with a smile. Katy and fellow chef Joey O’Hare talk diners through each course with special attention to the provenance of each dish. 

The Lion

Many of the small team have worked at The Lion since it opened in 2020, and the majority live in East Bergholt or the surrounding area. This has allowed staff to build a great rapport with repeat guests, while also welcoming those who are new to the area.   

Communication is key to ensuring all team members are ready for service and can deliver the best customer experience.

The Lion’s wine supplier also regularly trains the team members in food/wine pairing. 

East Anglian Daily Times: Queens Bar & Grill is a finalist in the Pub/Bar of the Year categoryQueens Bar & Grill is a finalist in the Pub/Bar of the Year category (Image: Queens Bar & Grill)

Pub/Bar of the Year

The Bull Inn, Woodbridge

The Bull is a historic coaching inn in the heart of Woodbridge. Providing 14 en-suite rooms, The Bull aims to provide a casual, friendly and welcoming atmosphere for its hotel guests, diners and drinkers.  

The business has been subject to a significant re-development over the last five years, including an interior and exterior refurbishment, as well as a step-change improvement in its food and drink proposition.  

The owners are passionate about great food and drink and aim for restaurant-quality dining but in a relaxed and friendly environment.

Queens Bar & Grill

An independent pub and smokehouse in Bury St Edmunds, Queens Bar & Grill has a focus on farm to fork. 

Lamb and pork are raised on its own smallholding, where it also grows some of its own vegetables. 

The team is passionate about food, which is why everything is homemade, including all the sauces and burger buns. 

There is a lovely courtyard garden, which is the ideal spot to try one of the signature cocktails. 

Ship Inn

The Ship Inn is a Grade II listed thatched pub, nestled next to the church in Levington, overlooking the River Orwell.  

The large beer garden features a pirate ship play area, pony parking and a large patio with seating surrounded by planters and hanging baskets. 

The Ship is the perfect location for everything from a quick pint and sandwich after a long muddy dog walk, to a venue for a milestone celebration. 

The White Horse Inn, Badwell Ash

The White Horse Inn, situated in Badwell Ash, serves as a free-house and destination gastro pub. 

Blending historic charm with modern sophistication, it’s ideal for all the family, including furry companions. 

The Inn boasts a refined restaurant and a laid-back bar and lounge, creating a comfortable and inviting atmosphere. 

The culinary team takes pride in using locally sourced ingredients, supporting regional suppliers, and crafting freshly prepared, modern gastronomic delights. 

East Anglian Daily Times: The Maybush is a finalist in the Restaurant of the Year categoryThe Maybush is a finalist in the Restaurant of the Year category (Image: The Maybush)

Restaurant of the Year

Sponsored by The Visitor Economy Network Initiative (VENI)

The Lion

The Lion in East Bergholt offers five individually designed B&B rooms and is renowned for its food and customer service. 

Built in the 1760s, the building was renovated in 2020 but retains many of its original features. 
The Lion prides itself on using fresh, local produce and supporting local suppliers. It has built a reputation for excellent seafood dishes, from mussels to daily catches of the day. 

Watson and Walpole

Watson and Walpole in Framlingham offers authentic Italian food in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. 

The wood oven plays a key part in the cooking, as does the dedicated pasta room, where handmade pasta is made daily. 

Favourite dishes include burrata with cherries and chicory, beef carpaccio, agnolotti plumped with ricotta and wild garlic, gnocchi with brown crab risotto - not to mention glorious tiramisu spooned out at the table.

The Maybush

Perched on the banks of the picturesque River Deben in Waldringfield, near Woodbridge, The Maybush offers panoramic views over the river and beyond.

The varied selection of food includes influences from the waterside location, such as Felixstowe lobsters, but there is plenty of choice to suit all tastes. 

The Maybush caters for all ages and prides itself on offering a welcoming and friendly environment.

Ocean Fish Platter

With a commitment to quality and sustainability, Ocean Fish Platter in Ipswich offers a diverse menu of Mediterranean fish dishes, from classic fish and chips, live lobster and oysters, to the signature Ocean Fish Platter.

Sustainability is a priority, and the owner works closely with local fishermen and suppliers to ensure responsible sourcing.

The ambience at Ocean Fish Platter is warm and welcoming, with a nautical-inspired decor that sets the stage for a memorable dining experience. 

Outstanding Achievement Award 

Sponsored by Thomas Ridley Foodservice

This non-entry category recognises an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the county’s food and drink sector and will be specially selected by the judges.

The winner will be announced during the awards ceremony at Snape Maltings on April 29.