Pub’s taste of success

A VILLAGE pub in the heart of Suffolk has picked up the top accolade at a national awards ceremony celebrating the best tourist spots in the country.

The Bildeston Crown was named the gold winner of the Taste of England 2010 award, handed out by Visit England, the official tourist board for the country.

The honour was given out as part of the England Awards for Excellence, aimed at highlighting the best places to stay and eat, and the pub was praised for its use of locally-sourced produce and came out on top after a visit from taste-testing judges.

Deputy general manager Nick Epsom said it was great Visit England had recognised the “ethos” of the pub, which has been owned by local farmer James Buckle, the High Sheriff of Suffolk, for more than six years.

Mr Epsom said: “Everyone here is passionate and everyone is always looking to offer the best experience possible. It is a great award to win, not only because it’s nationally recognised but for what it stands for.

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“Getting an award for using local produce is what the Bildeston Crown’s ethos is, really.

“The owner is a farmer himself and he breeds red poll cattle and we also have lambs from his farm as well.

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“We try to source everything as close to Bildeston as possible. There are lots of very small producers who do absolutely amazing food.”

The pub is run by husband and wife Chris and Hayley Lee, with Chris the head chef and Hayley overseeing the site as the general manager.

Mr Buckle eats at the pub a few times a week and Mr Epsom said the team enjoyed working at the pub, which also offers accommodation.

Mr Epsom added: “From the part-time waiting staff to the chefs, we all care about what we are doing.

“The award is a nice follow-up from last year because we were second in the best hotel category, so it’s nice to get gold instead of silver.”

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