TV chef Martin Blunos has served up the seal of approval for Durham’s culinary standard.
The Saturday Kitchen star was in the city to see the winners of TasteDurham awards receive their certificates.
Assessors from Quality in Tourism have accredited nearly 50 restaurants, cafés, pubs, farm shops and hotels across the county with the quality mark for food and drink.
“Schemes such as this are to be congratulated,” said Martin Blunos.
“Having held two Michelin Stars for 17 years, I’m well aware of the need for quality and how valuable it can be to have this quality acknowledged. Everyone involved, in organising and participating, should be very proud of these achievements.”
The latest assessments saw just over half of businesses being awarded the top “Highest Quality Assured” status, the highest percentage since the scheme began in 2009. Fifty per cent were also awarded “Local Produce Champion” underlining their commitment to sourcing from surrounding areas, something very much valued by visitors and locals alike.
Melanie Sensicle, chief executive of Visit County Durham, said: “TasteDurham is an annual scheme that identifies and celebrates the quality of food and drink in Durham, which is up there with the best in the country.
“We created TasteDurham to showcase this quality to a national audience. It says something about how far we have come, from nine local produce champions four years ago to twenty-five this year, and with the highest percentage yet of businesses achieving the highest standard.”
Businesses from across the county’s food and drink sector are invited each year to join the scheme and undertake the assessment against national criteria for quality of menu, cleanliness, customer service and use of locally sourced produce.
For more information about TasteDurham establishments, visit: www.thisisdurham.co.uk.