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National award finalist nomination for village pub and its head chef

PUBLISHED: 10:31 04 September 2017 | UPDATED: 10:31 04 September 2017

The Turks Head, Hasketon. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

The Turks Head, Hasketon. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

A Suffolk pub and its head chef are in the running for national food awards this week.

Chandramauli Dwivedi, head chef at the Turks Head, Hasketon. Picture: CHERRY BEESLEY/SIMPLY C PHOTOGRAPHYChandramauli Dwivedi, head chef at the Turks Head, Hasketon. Picture: CHERRY BEESLEY/SIMPLY C PHOTOGRAPHY

The Turks Head, in Hasketon, near Woodbridge, is among six Best Food Pub finalists at this year’s Great British Pub Awards.

With the pub’s nomination comes a spot in the Pub Chef of the Year final for head chef Chandramauli Dwivedi known to colleagues and customers as ‘Mauli’.

An awards evening takes place on Thursday, September 7, at London’s Hilton on Park Lane, where the Turks Head will be up against three finalists from Kent, one from East Sussex and another from North Yorkshire.

Mauli went head-to-head with chefs from the shortlisted pubs in a blind cook-off with mystery ingredients at the test kitchen of award category sponsor and catering supplier, Booker, near Oxford.

Chandramauli Dwivedi, head chef at the Turks Head, Hasketon, with owner Jemima Withey. Picture: CHERRY BEESLEY/SIMPLY C PHOTOGRAPHYChandramauli Dwivedi, head chef at the Turks Head, Hasketon, with owner Jemima Withey. Picture: CHERRY BEESLEY/SIMPLY C PHOTOGRAPHY

“This nomination is not just for me, but for the very good team we have at the Turks Head,” said Mauli, who had previously worked as head chef at the Black Lion Hotel, in Long Melford.

“I’m proud of the venue and the food. It’s great validation to be in the top six.

“We cook according to what’s available in the season and from our suppliers. It’s quite an exciting way of doing things.”

The frequently changing menu uses seasonal ingredients from local suppliers but two dishes are ever present at the Turks Head, due to their instant popularity with diners.

“The Bengali monkfish curry and banoffee pie went down a storm when they were introduced, so we’ve kept them on the menu,” said Mauli.

The village pub was reopened in 2015, following a two-year closure, by Dominic and Jemima Withey.

A year later, the Turks Head was nominated for Best Newcomer alongside the Unruly Pig, in Bromeswell at the 2016 Great British Pub Awards.

The awards are known as the ‘Oscars of the pub industry’ and include categories for Best Beer Pub, Best Community Pub, Best Family Pub and Best Live Entertainment Pub.

The competition is organised by the Morning Advertiser and sponsored by John Smith’s.

The five other finalists in the Best Food Pub category are: The Compasses Inn, The George restaurant and bar, and The Kentish Hare, in Kent, The Roebuck Inn, East Sussex, and The Durham Ox, North Yorkshire.

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