The Willow and Brook in Apethorpe receives awards at Good Food Awards and Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards
Despite a rollercoaster year for the hospitality industry, the owners of a village pub have started their first business venture with great success.
Suzanne and Jim Millar took over The Willow and Brook in Apethorpe in January 2020, just two months before the first national
Although they were forced to close a number of times during the pandemic, the business has been recognised in industry awards.
The business placed first at the Good Food Awards Gastro pub category in August and two weeks ago was awarded gold in the Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards for Dining Venue of the Year as well as Jim, the chef patron, being awarded bronze for Chef of the Year.
Suzanne, 39, said: “We were shocked. I cried at each and every one as it means the world to us especially having this recognition in a difficult year.
“It reinforces that this is what we are meant to do. It is what we were working hard for for so many years to achieve our own successful restaurant.”
She added: “For the chef of the year Jim went to a socially distanced cook-off.
“It’s his first competition and he’s done amazingly well - I’m immensely proud.”
Before taking over the pub, Jim had 30 years experience as a chef and Suzanne had been working in hospitality since she was a teenager.
Suzanne said: “Jim and I were both approached by a friend who wanted to set up a pub and we helped them to do it from scratch together.
“We said ‘why aren’t we doing this ourselves? We know what we are doing’.
“Doing it for somebody else is different they’ve got their own vision, not saying their way is wrong but we wanted to do it. We kept an eye out and found this place.”
The beer garden at The Willow and Brook will reopen on April 16 and the restaurant on May 19.