Drum roll please! Cornwall’s Food Hero for 2017 has just been announced, and you’ll never guess who scooped it…

Ben was thrilled to be invited to the Cornwall Life Food and Drink Awards at the Eden Project last night. Little did he know that he wasn’t only there as a special guest, but was due to be presented with the final award of the night.

The Food Hero Award goes to an individual deemed to have made a vital contribution to Cornwall’s food and drink culture. Presenting the award, Cornwall Life Editor Carol Burns said:

“Ben reflects perfectly Cornwall’s attitude to food – beautiful cooking, handling the best of our local seasonal produce with care and imagination, and creating a relaxed and inclusive atmosphere in his restaurants which makes the most of the beautiful locations on offer in Cornwall. If that’s not enough, he is currently spending his time off investigating some of Cornwall’s more unusual eating experiences for Cornwall Life.”

Having moved to Penzance in 2000 to run The Abbey (it was here that he achieved a Michelin Star), Ben has been at the vanguard of Cornwall’s thriving dining scene for nearly two decades. He helped launch the food offering at luxury eco-hotel, The Scarlet, and worked as a consultant on several other high-profile projects.

In 2012 Ben took over The Tolcarne Inn, embracing the opportunity to serve freshly-caught seafood in the comfortable surroundings of a maritime pub. This was followed in 2015 by Ben Tunnicliffe Sennen Cove – a buzzing, year-round dining destination in the far west of Cornwall.

Ben was very pleased to learn of his award, and said:

“With so many great people working in this industry I feel very honoured to be presented with this accolade. But let’s not forget, the real food heroes are the fishermen who brave the seas to bring us the seafood that makes Cornwall so special, as well as the farmers who work hard to bring us fantastic produce all year round. Their graft enables us chefs to be creative, and plate up some great grub.”

He added: “I would like to say a huge thank you to my teams at The Tolcarne and at Sennen – this award is a credit to them as much as it is to me.”

The Mediterranean Biome at the Eden Project was the venue for the night…

Arriving with our friends from Polgoon – also prize winners!

He scrubs up pretty good!

Ben and his wife Kinga before the meal

Great atmosphere as darkness fell…

Ben receiving his award from Daphne Skinnard