Boughton's Jockey Inn scoops prestigious national food award
PUBLISHED: 14:37 17 October 2016
As befits a country pub with a strong horse racing theme, The Jockey Inn at Baughton has galloped over the finishing line to win a prestigious national food award.
The pub on the edge of the Malvern Hills was beaten entries across the region and scooped the title of regional winner for the Midlands in the Good Food Guide Local Restaurant of the Year Awards. All the more impressive is the fact it has only been open for 18 months.
From the saddles and boots to the walls of jockey photographs and the blacksmith-style leather aprons of the staff, the horse racing theme at The Jockey Inn gives the pub a strong sense of place, but it was the menu that caught the attention of the Waitrose-owned food guide.
The Good Food Guide praised the pub for its ‘please-all menu of generous pub staples served alongside dependable dishes’. One happy customer, who nominated the village pub, said “the food is always beautiful, inventive and presented to perfection”.
The Jockey Inn is run by Rebekah Seddon-Wickens, who bought the building with her father after the village had both their local pubs close within months of each other.
After three years of complete refurbishment costing around £1m, The Jockey opened in 2015, giving the rural community back its local meeting place and attracting diners from all over the Cotswolds and beyond.
“We are absolutely delighted and honoured to win this award,” says Rebekah. “We are thrilled for our efforts to be recognised by such an authority on ‘good food’. We have worked tirelessly to put our small, rural village on the culinary map.”
Head Chef James Garth makes the most of the local produce the region has to offer and his menu has a strong focus on fruit and vegetables which are grown in the area, including strawberries from Ledbury, asparagus from Evesham and eggs from a farm just down the road.
Speaking about The Jockey Inn, Waitrose Good Food Guide Editor Elizabeth Carter said: “I can’t think of a more fun pub than Rebekah Seddon-Wickens’ rejuvenated inn. It has a quirky but appealing modern outlook, a genuinely lovely line in hospitality, and an army of loyal fans, drawn by the please-all menu of generous pub staples served alongside dependable dishes that run with the seasons.”
The pub has only been open for 18 months since the refurbishment and business has gone from strength to strength in that time. Rebekah says: “Word of mouth and repeat custom has built up our customer base very rapidly since we opened and this has only continued to grow. We have diners travelling from all over the country - some of our customers actually live in Bristol and make the regular round trip just to come and dine with us. We have a lot of customers from Cheltenham and the Cotswolds, but we’re definitely becoming known as a destination dining venue with customers coming from further and further afield.”
Although the food has helped The Jockey Inn win the award, Rebekah acknowledges that retaining local drinkers has also been an important part of the pub’s success and appeal.“Being the only pub in the village, we have local regular customers who enjoy having a drink without needing to drive home and that is important to us. “We have always made sure that our drinks offering is as impressive as our food offering, with very reasonably priced drinks, a large selection of draught beers and real ales, an extensive wine list, and a comprehensive cocktail menu.“We have also designed the pub so that there is a separate bar area to the restaurant, and attractive outside courtyard encouraging and welcoming drinkers as well as diners.
“We change our menus seasonally to reflect and utilise the best local produce at various times of the year, so the menu is constantly evolving. Everything is made and prepared from scratch and cooked freshly to order. Whilst regularly changing and updating the menu, we keep our ‘Jockey classics’ constant - which tend to be ‘pub favourites’ such as chargrilled steaks, handmade burgers and our traditional fish and chips.
“We were really surprised when we found out that we had won the award, especially competing against some of the best restaurants across the Midlands, but I think the passion that my team and I share for serving the best food from local produce was instrumental in our success.”
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