Eastern Daily Press - Shaun Lowthorpe
Take top Norfolk chef, add a sumptuous restaurant, mix with lots of team spirit, a beautiful coastal setting and it all adds up to a prize winning recipe.
Galton Blackiston, of the Morston Hall Hotel and Restaurant, near Blakeney, is the toast of the town after winning the top food industry award. The Michelin-starred culinaire has been voted the 2001 Hotel and Restaurant Chef of the Year by the Craft Guild of Chefs.
The 38-year-old beat off the challenge of Michelin-starred chef Germain Schwab and Peter Nash, head chef of La Petit Blanc in Oxford, to take the award at a ceremony at the Dorchester Hotel in London. “It was a complete surprise,” he said. “I knew I was nominated for the last three, but I was quite relaxed about it because I really didn’t expect to win. What makes it even better is that it was fellow chefs who nominated me for the award. It just shows that we are respected in the industry, which can sometimes be very bitchy – this just shows we are doing things right.”
To mark his achievement Mr Blackiston, who has been running Morston Hall for almost a decade with his wife Tracy, was presented with a burgundy jacket given to each winner and a cut-glass ornament moulded in the shape of a chef’s hat. “It was amazing, there were around 400 people there,” he said. “Anybody who was anybody was there, including Raymond Blanc and Gordon Ramsay.” The father-of-two said the award was further proof that the county was earning a well deserved reputation as a gourmet hotspot. “Norfolk is very up and coming as far as good food is concerned – it is going on all over the place. I would love to be able to show this area off, as the coastal area has got so much to offer as far as seasonal food is concerned.” He said that there was no magic formula to explain his success apart from hard work and an eye for the right ingredient.
“The main thing I am always concerned about is the quality of produce and how fresh you can get it,” he said. “My feeling is it is not only me but everybody in the kitchen who have all pulled together.”