Chef celebrates hotel success

A CHEF has spoken of his delight that the establishment he helps make a success has proved that small really is beautiful.

A CHEF has spoken of his delight that the establishment he helps make a success has proved that small really is beautiful.

The Bildeston Crown has won a “Best Small Suffolk Hotel” accolade after the Suffolk tourism industry gathered recently for a black tie gala dinner and awards ceremony at Ipswich's Trinity Park to celebrate the best of Suffolk tourism.

There were twelve awards in total presented at the event, which is now in its third year, and aims to showcase the professionalism and expertise of the county's top tourist destinations.

The Bildeston Crown was short listed and then won the award for Best Small Suffolk Hotel or Townhouse, which is aimed at all hotels with less than 35 bedrooms.

Chef Chris Lee and his wife, manager Hayley Lee, were absolutely delighted with the award.

Mr Lee said: “This is just amazing but especially when you consider who we were up against in this category.

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“We have great respect for the other two finalists and are not complacent about this win at all as we know it must have been a very difficult decision for the judges. But it most certainly does feel really good to be recognised in this way.”

Farmer James Buckle, and his mother Gill Buckle, own the business and were also at the ceremony.

Mr Buckle said: “We are extremely proud of The Bildeston Crown and the achievements of Chris and Hayley.

“When we bought and refurbished The Bildeston Crown just over five years ago, we had the dream of seeing local produce, including that from our own farm, showcased in a welcoming country hotel setting. The award confirms the reality of that vision and we are simply thrilled.”

As the winner The Bildeston Crown automatically goes through to the East of England Awards to represent Suffolk in this category and the winners of that heat will be announced at the Regional Enjoy England Awards for Excellence on Thursday at Ickworth House.

The regional winners in each category will then automatically be entered for the national judging, which will be finalised during April 2009.

In September 2007 Mr Lee was awarded joint UK “Up and Coming Chef of the Year” by the Good Food Guide. In the same week, The Bildeston Crown also learnt that it had achieved AA Three Rosettes. This year the hotel was also awarded AA Three Red Stars.

The venue is situated in the heart of the village of Bildeston has 13 luxury double bedrooms, an 80-seater restaurant and two private dining rooms.