ONE of Cumbria’s longest established food businesses, Cranstons, was recognised for its commitment to the county at the 2019 Cumbria Life Food & Drink Awards.

The butcher and specialist retailer was presented with the trophy for Outstanding Contribution to Cumbrian Food & Drink, the top award of the night.

The eighth awards, held last night at Kendal College, are the only event of their kind in the county dedicated to the food and drink industry.

Cranstons MD Philip Cranston and operations director Roger Cranston received the award, which recognised the firm’s commitment to local producers and farmers, its excellence in food production, its investment in food halls and high street shops and its long history of providing employment.

Before the awards, the 180 finalists and guests sat down to a three-course dinner, cooked and served by Kendal College students. The host for the event was food and drink broadcaster, Nigel Barden, best known for his appearances on the BBC Radio 2 Drivetime programme with Simon Mayo and his ‘Foodie Thursday’ slots. Now broadcasting on Scala Radio and BBC London, Nigel is involved with judging a number of national industry awards.

Nigel presented awards to winners including Craig Sherrington, of Craig’s Kitchen at Virginia House in Ulverston, which this week announced its closure. He was named Chef of the Year. The achievement recognised Craig’s success at his restaurant and in reaching the final of TV’s Great British Menu. One of the most closely contested categories was Dining Pub of the Year, which went to The Dog and Gun at Skelton, near Penrith, run by Ben Queen-Fryer and his wife, Lizzie.

The Restaurant of the Year award was presented to Simon Rogan’s two Michelin-starred L’Enclume in Cartmel, which the judges said was continuously evolving and supremely relevant.

n Meet the winners: In tomorrow’s Mail

There was a Cumbria Life Special Award for Jane Hasell-McCosh, the founder of The World’s Original Marmalade Awards and Festival, which is held at her home, Dalemain Mansion near Penrith, each March and which this year attracted more than 3,000 entries. The event has raised about £250,000 for palliative care since 2005.

The Matt Campbell Rising Star Award was presented to Tom Prestwich, the founder of Red Bank Coffee Roasters at Coniston.

The award had been re-named in honour of the 2018 winner, the chef Matt Campbell, who passed away while competing in the London Marathon. The awards were sponsored by Armstrong Watson.