A 400-year-old coaching inn is in the running to be Midlands Gastro Pub of the Year and Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year

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HISTORIC: The New Inn at St Owen's Cross (submitted)

The New Inn at St Owen’s Cross, owned by local Two Farmers Crisps producer Mark Green and his family, has been shortlisted as a finalist in two categories in the Midlands Food, Drink and Hospitality Awards 2024.

The awards, now in their seventh year, celebrate the best of the best in the region, from the best eateries and restaurants to the best bars, and pubs, recognising the passion, hard work, and resilience of those behind the sector.

Head Chef, Michael Fowler, who has previously run award-winning venues across Herefordshire, said: “To have been nominated in the first place was very exciting, but to now be a finalist in two separate categories is mind-blowing. It’s great to be able to help champion Herefordshire in this way.”

Michael’s culinary journey began working in luxury hotels and highly acclaimed restaurants in the UK and beyond, with Michelin-starred chefs.

Most recently Michael worked in partnership with Chris Oakley, one of the first British Chefs to be awarded, Michelin-star status at his restaurant.

Michael takes pride in what he and his team create as part of the restaurant’s menu. There is a strong emphasis on local produce where diners can expect stunning dishes that follow the seasons with vibrant colours, textures and flavours.

Originally a 16th-Century coaching inn, the New Inn today celebrates the rich farming heritage of rural Herefordshire.

The pub “exudes warmth, with roaring fires, cosy booths and lots of original features, creating a stylish yet relaxed environment”.

It had been closed for five years when chef Michael teamed up with Mark Green, whose family also own gun Dog Gin, and developer Mark Freeman to carry out a full refurbishment of the building.

This was all just prior to the pandemic lockdown and the pub re-opened when restrictions curbed how many people could enter a licenced premises.

•Voting is free and only takes a minute. Visit mfdhawards.co.uk/vote-now/

Voting closes on May 19 and the winners will be announced in June at an awards ceremony in Birmingham.