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The Duck Inn at Stanhoe wins Norfolk Food Hero title at the Aylsham Show

PUBLISHED: 10:51 29 August 2017 | UPDATED: 17:20 29 August 2017

Aylsham show 2017. Award winners Ben Handley and Andrew Waddison from the Duck Inn, Stanhoe. Picture: Nick Butcher

Aylsham show 2017. Award winners Ben Handley and Andrew Waddison from the Duck Inn, Stanhoe. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2017

A commitment to serving quality locally-sourced food has earned a Norfolk gastropup an industry accolade at the Aylsham Show.

The Duck Inn at Stanhoe in north-west Norfolk was crowned the overall champion in the Norfolk Hero Food and Drink Awards.

Chef owner Ben Handley put the success down to the enthusiasm of his 23-strong team, and a constant pursuit of quality produce.

But he said the restaurant does not source Norfolk ingredients just because they are local – it uses them because they are the best.

“We are incredibly proud of the produce that we use,” he said. “We use the best produce that we can get. Coincidentally, most of that is from Norfolk – and we have really good close relationships with our suppliers.”

Mr Handley said the Duck, which he runs in partnership with his wife Sarah, set a record on Sunday by serving 330 covers in the 60-seater restaurant. And now he hopes to extend that success to the Hunworth Bell near Holt, which he re-opened on August 8.

“That is our second business and without the support of the team we have got at the Duck we could not have considered it,” he said.

“I think it’s fair to say that we have built an exceptional team, which is at the forefront of everything we’ve achieved.

“We have got a very low turnover of staff and people who have left to go travelling have come back to us. It is like a family unit.”

Manager Andrew Waddison added: “From a customer point of view, as soon as people walk in the door they are greeted with a smile and the love and care that goes into the food is transmitted to the customer. Every single member of staff is enthused about what we do.”

The individual category winners for the award were:

• Best Use of Local Produce on the Menu: The Duck at Stanhoe.

• Best Food or Drink Retailer Promoting Local Produce: Nortons Dairy, Frettenham.

• Best New Food or Drink Venture Started in 2016/17: Vanvino (wine, gin and rum tastings), Wymondham.

• Best Specialist Food or Drink Producer Only Selling Their Own Product: Yare Valley Oil, Surlingham.

The event also saw the Individual Food Hero award presented to Michael Baker, of Bakers and Larners of Holt, who received the Aylsham Show President’s Tankard.

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