Poll: Is Suffolk missing out because restaurant judges are too focused on London?
IT is a county firmly establishing itself on the foodie map, famed for its fantastic produce and boasting a host of top restaurants.
But calls have been made for Suffolk to do more to promote its fabulous food amid concerns its eateries are often being overlooked in national awards and guides.
There have been success stories, with the likes of The Bildeston Crown and the British Larder near Woodbridge among those receiving accolades.
However, in the latest guide, released today, Suffolk has been largely snubbed once more.
Its burgeoning reputation was not enough to convince The Sunday Times Food List to rank any of the county’s restaurants in the top 100 in the country.
It prompted Regis Crepy, partner at Maison Bleue in Bury St Edmunds, to claim judges for some awards and guides are too focussed on London.
Mr Crepy’s restaurant joined Pea Porridge, also in Bury St Edmunds, in making it into the top 200 list.
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He said: “It just shows how far some judges are away from the reality of areas outside of London.
“We should shout about food in Suffolk and shout to the judges. They don’t move about enough - they are all stuck in London.
“It’s a shame because in Suffolk and other counties there’s lots of things going on. It’s a fantastic county in terms of produce available.
“I’m pleased for the team at Maison Bleue and for the customers who have been brilliant to us.”
Suffolk food writer and chef Emma Crowhurst added: “I think the credibility of Suffolk has improved incredibly in recent years. Lots of food writers, chefs and journalists are coming out of London to the Aldeburgh Food Festival. But people are coming out of London to be the celebrities there.
“I would hope judges have been to our restaurants and see what is going on here.
“Other than feeling hard done by the only thing we can take from it is the standard in the rest of the country must be a lot higher for us not to feature.
“It’s very disappointing, there’s no question. There’s no doubt the produce is amazing - that’s one of the draws of the Aldeburgh Food Festival.”
Amanda Bond, brand manager for Visit Suffolk said: “One of the strongest selling points for Suffolk is its food and drink offering. That’s why we’re extremely surprised and disappointed to hear that Suffolk hasn’t featured on The Sunday Times Food List.
“We’re widely acknowledged as a county rich in fine food and drink producers, with a unique offering and particular emphasis on fresh, local produce.
“We know that many visitors are attracted to Suffolk on account of its wealth of producers and restaurants; there’s an enviable selection for all tastes and budgets, which is why we’re sad to hear the latest list doesn’t reflect this.”