Cheers! Pubs celebrating Michelin guide accolade
Two pubs are celebrating being included in the Michelin pub guide for the first time.
The Royal Oak, in Long Whatton, and the Jackson Stops Inn, in Stretton, are new entries in the 2013 compilation of the gastronomic guide, published today.
It brings to 11 the number of Leicestershire and Rutland pubs in the book.
The Royal Oak was opened by brothers Alex and Christopher Astwood three years ago.
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They praised head chef James Upton for helping to secure the gastro pub its prized place in the guide.
Alex said: "James was second head chef in a pub we used to run in Coalville. When we came here, he took on the job and has really proved himself. We had a lot of confidence in him and he hasn't let us down.
"We're thrilled to be in the guide. It's great recognition and it adds to several others we have already received, including Camra awards for good ale and AA rosettes for accommodation.
"Our food is traditional seasonal fare and, wherever possible, we use organic and locally-sourced foods.
"I think there's a growing place for gastro pubs. The market for fine dining is dying because of the economic climate, but what we offer is great quality food at a reasonable price in an environment that's relaxing and much less formal."
Robert and Julia Reid, both 55, have run the Jackson Stops Inn since January, 2011.
They said they were "over the moon" with the news.
Robert, who is also a trained chef, said: "It's very gratifying and we couldn't be more pleased for our head chef, Robert Knowles. He's been with me for the past 30 years and is a true master of the kitchen.
"Here at the Jackson Stops, we offer modern and traditional English food to a consistently high standard and it has stood us in good stead.
"Our food is as local as it can be, with Stilton from Melton and trout from Rutland Water, among others on our menu.
"We like to offer a warm and cosy environment to customers, so there's always a friendly welcome waiting and cosy log fire in the winter."
Mr Reid and his wife have run several establishments over the years, including the White Horse, in Empingham.
Among the criteria under scrutiny by mystery judges was the standards of their food and surroundings.
Each entry in the guide comes with an in-depth description and information about the style of cooking on offer.
It also highlights inspectors' favourites, which are those pubs considered extra-special due to their setting or character, service or the exceptional quality of their cooking.
Rebecca Burr, editor of the Michelin Good Pub Guide, said: "The standard of pub cooking just keeps getting better and better.
"Pubs are often the heartbeat of the local community and it's been exciting to see that more and more of them are specialising in their own regional ingredients."