THE Food and Drink Business of the Year went to The Riverside Inn at Aymestrey.

The winner of this award was selected by the judges from the other category winners.

The judges believe The Riverside Inn reflects the very best in Herefordshire food and drink establishments.

Andy Link, chef/ patron at The Riverside, said: “There are so many people behind the scenes that work so hard to achieve that. They love what they do in showcasing Herefordshire. Any opportunity we get to do that we grab.”

He said he was surprised but delighted to receive the overall award.

Andy added: “We are still expanding. We are going to build more bedrooms and extend the restaurant.

“We are growing the whole project including increasing the amount of produce we grow in the gardens.

“We are trying to represent Herefordshire and all of the values we have in the area.”

Andy is passionate about using local suppliers wherever possible and his suppliers list on his menu is impressive.

He said: “The produce in this region is the best in Britain, our menus are designed to showcase and advertise that fact. Along with our chef-managed gardens, our food reflects the landscape, the seasons and the region.”

Suppliers are selected for organic, sustainable or ethical practices from organic Herefordshire cider producer (Newton Court) to organic mutton from Weobley Ash smallholding. They work with the head gamekeeper to use Mortimer Forest venison on their menu as they manage the herd and protect the woodlands.

They also get trout from the river.

They visit all of the farms and suppliers to understand their practices and how the produce is looked after, from Dexter beef from Mike Aubrey just a few miles away, to Court Farm Tillington near Hereford for fruits, even using Droitwich Spa Salt for brines and cures as a local alternative to sea salts.