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'A hidden gem' wins Menu du Terroir by 0.5%

Date: 12/07/2007 | Posted by John Garton
The Gallery Restaurant at the Hotel de France has won the Menu du Terroir 2007 by a fraction of a percentage point, beating off stiff competition from Castle Green and the Atlantic Hotel & Ocean Restaurant.

The Gallery Restaurant scored 92.66%, followed by Castle Green who came second by just point five of a per cent at 92.16%, with third prize going to the Atlantic Hotel & Ocean Restaurant who scored 91.8%. This year’s competition, which is organised by the Genuine Jersey Products Association in association with Victor Hugo Wines and Laurent-Perrier Champagne, produced the closest results ever seen by the GJPA.

Les Fontaines Tavern took first prize in the pub category while the Gardeners Tea Rooms won the award for best café and brasserie. Several runners-up in the restaurant category received the judge’s special awards for scoring in the high eighties; they included the Salty Dog, Ad Lib and the Green Olive.

The 2007 competition was launched in May. Mystery judges visited the 30 restaurants, pubs and cafes that entered, before a shortlist of 12 was compiled. A team of four mystery judges then revisited the finalists.

Ken Syvret, chairman of the Genuine Jersey Products Association, said that this year’s competition had left the association in no doubt that it should be held again in 2008.

“The Menu du Terroir is all about promoting local products and getting them onto menus for the benefit of not only the producer but also the diner, who can enjoy the high quality and excellent taste of local goods,” he said. “Jersey character and food seasonality are at the heart of the competition and of Genuine Jersey.”

The four finalist judges commented:

Carl Walker, Jersey Evening Post features editor, said: “The Gallery Restaurant is a hidden gem and thoroughly deserves to win. Da Vinci would have been proud of the art we were served on our plates.

“We judged competitors not only on the quality and taste of the food on their menu, but also on its prominence and the amount of local produce used – ideally in the region of 80 per cent. I gave The Gallery Restaurant ten out of ten for imagination and clever use of local ingredients.”

Martha Bernstein, a leading restaurateur, said: “The judges believe wholeheartedly that the Menu de Terroir is a terrific initiative for promoting the very best that Jersey has to offer – fresh, seasonal ingredients, all sourced locally from the Island’s fishermen, farmers, growers and producers.”

David Dodge of Vienna Bakery said: “The Menu de Terroir 2007 has given a superb opportunity for 30 restaurateurs and chefs to show off their individual skills and creativity, but even more importantly to demonstrate the diversity and extremely high standard of the excellent produce readily available within the Island. Unfortunately some establishments lost points for not using Jersey cream or Jersey butter or not sourcing the whereabouts of their meat.”

Kristina Moore, Channel TV presenter, said: “It has been extremely encouraging to see so many of Jersey’s cafés, pubs, restaurants and hotels taking this opportunity to give pride of place to a seasonal menu and embracing the use of local ingredients. The warmth of the welcome was most commendable in the establishments of all finalists. Ambience and presentation were also of a very high standard indeed.”