Lee Bye, head chef at Tuddenham Mill, has scooped the title of Chef of the Year at The Suffolk Food and Drink Awards 2015.
The stylish boutique hotel was recognised at the celebratory ceremony that took place at Kesgrave Hall on 20th April, and head chef Bye was crowned winner after beating off stiff competition from two other established cooks in the area.
After a two year break, the Suffolk Food and Drink Awards returned this month to reward the country’s best producers, businesses and outstanding personalities in ten categories.
All nominees for the Suffolk Chef of the Year title were asked to submit a menu with recommended matching wines and after rigorous judging, Bye along with Alan Paton from The Crown at Stoke by Nayland and Chris Lee from the Packhorse Inn were chosen as finalists.
The final three were then set a two-hour cooking challenge where they had to prepare their proposal menus. Judges decided on the winner based on the best menu that reflected the county and demonstrated originality, seasonality and the best use of local produce.
The judges were won over by Tuddenham Mill’s head chef’s organisational skills, and commented on Bye’s great calmness and focus throughout the cook-off competition.
Commenting on his win, Bye said: “I’m delighted to win this award from the Suffolk Food and Drink Awards. The team have a real belief in what we do every day at Tuddenham Mill and that is crucial for our success. To be recognised as ‘Suffolk Chef of the Year’ is a real honour in an amazing region for food and produce: Onwards and upwards!”
Bye has been at Tuddenham Mill for 14 months and has earned the restaurant a 2 AA Rosette in that time. He was also crowned Employee of the Year in the Bury Free Press Business Awards 2014 and won the prestigious Good Food Guide Editors’ Award 2015 for the best set lunch menu in the UK.
Lee’s winning three-course Suffolk menu will be available for customers to try at Tuddenham Mill restaurant starting this April.