A leading Welsh chef and his wife are celebrating after being named the Best Hotel Restaurant in Mid Wales at the Food Awards Wales.
Nick and Jo Davies, owners of the Lion Hotel, Llandinam since December 2011, collected the accolade at the awards ceremony held at the Marriott Hotel, Cardiff. They said the award was recognition for all the hard work put in by the whole team at the Lion Hotel, which extends to 15 staff.
The couple completely refurbished the hotel, which has an 80-cover restaurant and three en-suite bedrooms, when they took over and have built an excellent reputation for the quality of their food. Nick, a former Welsh National Culinary Team member, leads the kitchen brigade while Jo manages the front of house.
“Winning the award at the Food Awards Wales is a bonus for all the hard work that Jo, the staff and I do at the Lion Hotel,” said Nick. “Every single member of staff has benefited from a learning programme, which has given them a good grounding in the catering and hospitality industry.
“We are proud of the achievement and it’s positive news for Mid Wales, where the standard of food has improved massively in recent years. There are some real hidden gems in the region and we all need to work together to promote Mid Wales because if we don’t shout about it, no-one else will.
“What is great about this award is that we were nominated by our customers. We try to be consistent week in, week out to make our business viable and to ensure that our customers are happy with everything we do.”
The hotel is situated alongside the busy A470 between Newtown and Llanidloes in the village of Llandinam, famous for railway and mining entrepreneur David Davies.
Nick sources the best seasonal Welsh ingredients for his dishes which have an emphasis on modern British cuisine.
He has worked in Wales and Scotland over the past 31 years and has travelled the world with the Welsh National Culinary Team, winning medals at the Culinary World Cup and Culinary Olympics. He was also a gold medalist at the 2009 European Global Chef Challenge in Dublin.
“The food that we serve has a universal appeal and we have always been keen to welcome families to the Lion Hotel, as we have young children ourselves,” added Nick. “Our aim has been to establish the hotel as the hub of the village.”
The Lion Hotel won the Business Start Up Award at the Powys Business Awards in 2012 and followed up with the Excellence in People Development Award the following year.