Celebrity chef Tom Kerridge talks Hitchin while in town to reveal Top 50 Gastropubs 2016 list

PUBLISHED: 15:32 26 January 2016 | UPDATED: 09:31 27 January 2016

Tom Kerridge spoke to the Comet while in Hitchin for the Top 50 Gastropubs 2016.

Tom Kerridge spoke to the Comet while in Hitchin for the Top 50 Gastropubs 2016.

Archant

A restaurant in Hitchin welcomed back a celebrity chef yesterday to host a prestigious awards ceremony.

Chef Tom Kerridge at Hermitage Rd Bar and Restaurant in Hitchin with Howard, Cliff, and James Nye from Anglian Country Inns.Chef Tom Kerridge at Hermitage Rd Bar and Restaurant in Hitchin with Howard, Cliff, and James Nye from Anglian Country Inns.

BBC’s Food and Drink frontman Tom Kerridge was at Hermitage Rd Bar and Restaurant for the second year running to present the Top 50 Gastropubs 2016.

The Michelin-starred chef – whose pub The Hand and Flowers in Marlow has won the respected title three times – spoke exclusively to the Comet about returning to Hitchin and the Hermitage Road venue.

He said: “It’s amazing, I love it! Hitchin used to be seen as a bit of commuter belt town, but it’s not anymore.

“It’s somewhere that’s a lovely place to live and it’s growing – with more restaurants, shops and bars. It’s a vibrant space and a great little town.

Tom Kerridge returned to Hitchin for the third year running to host the awards.Tom Kerridge returned to Hitchin for the third year running to host the awards.

“The Hermitage is a brilliant place and a wonderful restaurant. The food is fantastic. I love it because you wouldn’t expect such a fantastic space when you enter in from downstairs.”

James Nye, managing director of Anglian Country Inns which owns Hermitage Rd, said: “It’s really nice that they have chosen here for a third year – the awards are getting bigger and bigger. Pubs from across the country from Cornwall to Scotland converge here to celebrate all the wonderful things that are happening in the world of pub food.

“It’s also really good to see that Hitchin is getting some coverage here too. There’s so much good stuff coming out of Hitchin food wise, from street food to fine dining.”

With no current plans to open a restaurant or pub in Hitchin, new dad Tom said: “We never say never to opening another space, but at the moment Marlow is home.”

About the birth of his five-week-old son Acey, he added: “I’ve forgotten what sleep is!”To see the pubs on this year’s list visit www.top50gastropubs.com.

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