Paul Clerehugh ‘had to be first food hero’By Paul Cassell
October 13, 2010
Top celebrity chef Paul Clerehugh is enjoying the sweet taste of success after being named the town’s first Reading Food Hero.
The owner of London Street Brasserie in the town centre and The Crooked Billet in Stoke Row proudly accepted the Reading UK CIC Eat Reading award at a reception on Monday night.
The awards recognise the best food and beverage producers, retailers, chefs and restaurateurs.
The self-trained chef and food monthly columnist, said: “We are delighted and honoured – and it is a ‘we’ because I may be the big head who shows off at the brasserie but it is all the rest of the team who should be equally proud, and they are.
“Eat Reading is all about raising the profile of Reading’s foodies which is fantastic. We have places like Frost’s in Union Street, Loddon Valley Brewery and great cafés like Picnic, so to be compared with them is very humbling.”
The Reading Food Hero award was judged by a panel including food monthly editor Hilary Scott, Guy Douglas from Reading UK CIC, food writer Alison Hepworth, Jon Salmon from Yell, Helen Waring from Cream Design and Darren Parkinson from Parkinson Holt, letting agents for The Blade.
Said Ms Scott: “Paul Clerehugh just had to be Readings’s first food hero, because that’s exactly what he was. He is the man who brought good food to Reading. It was Paul, alongside the late Chris Rogers who began the County Deli, now sadly closed, who opened up the amazing world of food to the town.
“Paul had – and still has – The Crooked Billet in Stoke Row, and it is there he began to serve food that went down a storm and put the pub on the map. So much so, of course, that Kate Winslet chose the Billet for her first wedding reception when Paul famously served bangers and mash for the guests.”
She went on to recognise his numerous TV appearances, his role as a consultant for Jamie’s School Dinners, hosting the Schools Food Trust conference, which acknowledged the beacon status Reading has for school meals in the UK, and his numerous achievements including a Pride of Reading award in 2006.
The toast was to a line from rapper 50Cent and Ms Scott encouraged guests to raise their glasses to: “Paul, we love you like a fat kid loves cake.”
Eat Reading was launched in June this year by Reading UK CIC, a company set up to promote and drive forward investment to develop the town’s economy.
It began with the first Eat Reading Live event in Market Place offering the shoppers the chance to sample a whole host of culinary treats from restaurants around the town.
This followed a Fresh Food Festival at The Oracle shopping centre and saw crowds enjoy demonstrations from chefs including Mr Clerehugh, Daniel Galmiche and Mike Robinson.
Mr Douglas, business improvement district (BID) manager at Reading UK CIC, said: “We aim to run events and promotions to animate the heart of Reading, and what better way to motivate people than through food and drink? As time goes by, we hope to enhance Reading’s reputation as having a food culture that combines the town’s heritage and traditions with exciting and diverse cuisines it offers.”
To have your say on who should be put forward as a future Reading Food Hero or for more information visit www.livingreading.co.uk/eatreading.