A traditional 18th Century pub in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales National Park has been named Champion of Champions at the Eat Game Awards 2023.
The Clarendon Inn in Hebden took home the accolade at a ceremony in London last night, 23 March, where the winners of eight other categories were announced, too.
The awards marked the culmination of a national search to find businesses and individuals championing the use of British wild game. More than 11,000 votes were cast by the public, with the shortlist in each category going forward to review by a panel of expert judges.
The awards ceremony was hosted by rural TV presenter Adam Henson, with categories including best small retailer, best restaurant/pub and best game butcher.
The Clarendon’s chef owner Lionel Strub and head chef Matt Hind were joint finalists in the Best Game Chef category of this year’s awards, with the pub also making the final three in the best restaurant category.
Accompanied on stage by some of the team from the Clarendon Inn, Lionel was clearly overjoyed to be taking home the award, saying: “I couldn’t be more proud. I’m just so thrilled to win because I just want to show the world how amazing game is and how you can be successful using game and selling game. It’s such a sustainable food, nature’s table is everything.
He continued: “We are so proud. We are not just a pub in the middle of Yorkshire, we breathe game. We serve all game. We are really through and through a game pub. This pub in the middle of nowhere has for the first time been recognised for the work we do on behalf of every gun, every gamekeeper.”
Speaking after the ceremony, Annette Woolcock, Eat Game Awards co-ordinator and BASC’s head of wild food, said: “The steering group was unanimous on awarding the champion of champions to the Clarendon Inn. Lionel and Matt were finalists for the best cook category this year and the Clarendon was a finalist for best pub last year. Their skills for cooking game are only matched by their passion and knowledge. The group also recognised their passion for the awards themselves and the enthusiasm they put into them.”
“Once again, the Eat Game Awards have exceeded all expectations. The standard of entries reflects and showcases the progress in the game meat sector since the Eat Game Awards were launched five years ago”, commented Adam Henson, awards host and Country Food Trust patron.
“I was delighted to play a part in giving those who have worked so hard the recognition they so deserve. Congratulations to all of tonight’s finalists.”
This year’s winners at the Eat Game Awards represented a full spectrum of people and businesses who are outstanding in their field. Winners on the night were as follows: