All hail our ‘buoyant’ food scene

Head chef Tom Lawson and manager Alistair Myers at Rafters restaurant, Nethergreen
Head chef Tom Lawson and manager Alistair Myers at Rafters restaurant, Nethergreen
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Sheffield needs to shout about its growing food scene, the Michelin Guide’s editor has stressed, to ensure its restaurants garner the highest recognition.

Rebecca Burr spoke after the latest edition awarded no new stars to the region’s venues – although Rafters restaurant in Nether Green was a refreshened entry recommended under the merits of new owners.

Head chef Tom Lawson and manager Alistair Myers at Rafters restaurant, Nethergreen

Head chef Tom Lawson and manager Alistair Myers at Rafters restaurant, Nethergreen

Long-honoured The Old Vicarage at Ridgeway and Fischers Baslow Hall both retained their single stars.

“The food scene is very buoyant, we are seeing a new generation of chefs coming in and creating innovative food”, said Ms Burr.

“When I look at Sheffield it recommends three really good pubs, The Milestone, Wig & Pen and the Cricket Inn as well as Rafters and Nonna’s. These are a very important feature, it is not just about stars.”

The editor said there was ‘room for more’ restaurants in Sheffield and the Peak Distict to shine.

She added: “I like Sheffield a lot but I think there could be a bit more to offer so people can stay for a few days.

“The most important thing is that restaurants look after their customers and then they need to let us know they are there.

“Diners write to us regularly, that’s how we find out about restaurants.

“If they feel there is somewhere we missed they should get in touch.”

Rafters was recommended in the hands of chef Tom Lawson and business partner manager Alistair Myers, who bought it from chef Marcus Lane last year.

Inspectors said cooking ‘respects the natural flavours of good quality ingredients’ and dishes were ‘attractively presented’.

Alistair said the listing was the ‘icing on the cake’ after Rafters featured in the Good Food Guide and retained two AA Hospitality rosettes – the only Sheffield site to score the hat-trick.

He added: “I think what clinched it is we’ve worked together for years and it is a partnership.”

Alistair praised Sheffield’s independent food scene as constantly improving and hoped it could be hailed to get more venues recognised.

He added: “It’s isn’t all about being in the guide although it is great to be in them and it brings people here.

“Last night we had a table for two who came all the way from Nottingham, which is a big pat on the back for us.”

The Devonshire Arms at Middle Handley, between Sheffield and Chesterfield. was also recommended for the second year running.

Inspectors said: “Fresh, seasonal ingredients are at the core of the hearty menu.

“They like to keep things local, with eggs from down the road and meat from the butcher’s opposite.”

The award-winning venue is owned by Jill Swift and Glen Saint, with head chef Russell Caines responsible for seasonally changing menus.

An acclaimed international wine list also features a selection of local wines from the neighbouring Renishaw Hall estate.

“To have retained our place in the Michelin Guide is a tribute to the continuing hard work and dedication of all our team,” said Jill.

“Everybody has shown tremendous commitment to putting the Devonshire Arms firmly on the food map of South Yorkshire and that dedication is now really paying off.

“To see our name alongside some of the most critically acclaimed restaurants in the region makes all the hard work worthwhile and we look forward to welcoming new guests as our reputation continues to grow.”