TV chef's Norfolk pubs in running for top awards

Chris Hill TV chef Chris Coubrough's culinary empire is celebrating a triple triumph among the four Norfolk pubs which have reached the finals of a national awards scheme.

Chris Hill

A TV chef's culinary empire is celebrating a triple triumph among the four Norfolk pubs which have reached the finals of a national awards scheme.

Two of Chris Coubrough's pubs have, between them, won three of the 16 categories in the East Anglian heats of the Great British Pub Awards.

The King's Head in Letheringsett, near Holt, has been nominated as Best Freehouse and Best Turnaround Pub, while the Crown Inn at East Rudham, near Fakenham, won Best Gastropub.

Other regional winners were the White Horse at Brancaster Staithe, for Best Creative Outdoor Area, and the Brickmakers on Sprowston Road in Norwich, which won the Best Live Music and Best Entertainment Pub categories.

All four pubs will now compete against the top pubs from seven other regions at the national finals of the awards on September 9, to be held in London by industry magazine Morning Advertiser.

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Mr Coubrough, a New Zealander who found fame on ITV's Coastal Kitchen series, said: “I'm chuffed to bits. Good freehouses are made up of thousands of small details done well. We've worked so hard to create pubs that customers enjoy spending time in, and want to come back to time and again.”

The double-award nominee King's Head reopened last April and uses its own herd of Dexter cattle as part of its commitment to using seasonal and local produce.

Its manager Jonathan Jorge said: “In our first year we did almost 60,000 covers, whereas before they only managed 25,000. I think Chris's name has a lot to do with it, but we work really hard every single day to serve good food and provide a warm and welcoming service.”

The owner of the White Horse in Brancaster Staithe, James Nye, was equally pleased with his pub's recognition for creating the perfect outdoor environment.

Mr Nye said: “We've worked hard to make sure customers enjoy being outside the pub as much as they do indoors - and the good weather recently has certainly helped. We're grateful to our team of fantastic staff who have put us into the finals for this top award.”

Popular Norwich music haunt the Brickmakers also won two nominations, to the delight of Pam South, who took over the pub with her daughter Charley and manager Emma Teasdale seven years ago.

Its second stage B2, created four years ago, helped establish the venue's reputation for live music, with more than 90 bands now appearing every month. As well as showcasing East Anglia's up-and-coming songwriters, it also attracts original bands from as far afield as Australia, Finland and Holland.

Mrs South said: “The whole point of us being here is to support the talent coming through and give original songwriters a chance. Some of the bands we have had here have gone on to get record deals or play at Glastonbury, and it is great to think that we helped them to start.

“We are really, really thrilled with the award - it is great for the customers and the staff, and for the bands.”