Final days to enter second Coventry & Warwickshire Foodie Awards

Final days to enter second Coventry & Warwickshire Foodie Awards

Coventry & Warwickshire Foodie Awards, Paul Foster, Glynn Purnell,
Foodies organiser Jonathan Smith of Talk Business UK at last year’s inaugural event

TIME is running out to enter The Coventry & Warwickshire Foodie Awards, which returns to celebrate the best of the region’s food and drink scene – with the backing of two celebrity Michelin Star chefs.

The Awards, in partnership with Visit Coventry and Visit Warwickshire, will culminate in a ceremony at The Box at Fargo Village, Coventry in June.

Entrants will be showcasing their talents to judges, including some of the top names in the industry, including chef Paul Foster who runs Salt, in Stratford-upon-Avon and the returning ‘Yummy Brummie’ Glynn Purnell who this year opened The Mount in Henley-on-Arden.

Purnell, who has trained with Gordon Ramsay, Gary Rhodes and Claude Bosi, is also the owner of two restaurants in Birmingham, one of which was awarded a Michelin Star in 2009 and is a regular on TV’s Saturday Kitchen.

Coventry & Warwickshire Foodie Awards, Paul Foster, Glynn Purnell,
Paul Foster

Paul Foster’s successful career has so far earned him a Michelin star, three AA rosettes, a place in the top 50 UK restaurants in The Good Food Guide and has been awarded Observer Food Monthly ‘Young Chef of the Year’ and The Good Food Guide ‘Best Up and Coming Chef’ award.

Both chefs will be among those deciding on winners in several categories that focus on quality, service and innovation with an emphasis on farm to fork, including best artisan food and drink producers, farm shop, independent food and drink retailer, newcomer, street food trader and chef or cook of the year.

Paul Foster said: “We are very fortunate in Warwickshire to have a thriving food scene backed up by incredible suppliers, the foodie awards are a great way to celebrate what’s great about our area.”

New categories this year will also recognise Foodie Start-up, Fine Dining Restaurant and Fine Dining Chef of the Year as well as the International Taste Award.

The project brings together the creative minds behind Talk Business UK, Coventry BID and Visit Coventry, to champion the hospitality industry across the region.

Foodie Awards Founder Jonathan Smith, of Talk Business UK, said: “With just two weeks to go before entries into this year’s Foodie Awards for Coventry and Warwickshire close, we are thrilled to have the support of local food hero and Michelin Star chef Paul Foster of Salt in Stratford-upon-Avon, who has agreed to be a judge for the Fine Dining Chef of the Year category, which will take place at the Cookery School at The Farm in Stratford.

“We have been inspired by the entries we have received so far into all of the award categories and look forward to having them all assessed and the finalists chosen for the next stage and the Awards presentation event.

“The Foodie Awards shine a spotlight on the Food and Drink sector and give recognition to all those who work so hard across this sector to give us all wonderful eating and drinking experiences.”

Coventry & Warwickshire Foodie Awards, Paul Foster, Glynn Purnell,

The Foodie Awards will once again be raising money for The Trussell Trust network of eight food banks in Coventry and Warwickshire.

All finalists will be invited to a Finalists’ Night on June 6th at a venue to be announced.

The winners of the Fine Dining and Casual Dining categories will be decided at exclusive cook-off events in June. Paul Foster and Glynn Purnell will also be joined by BBC’s Junior Bake Off judge Rav Gill to judge the Best Casual Dining Chef during a live cook-off on the demo stage at Pub In The Park event on the weekend of June 11/12th

Meanwhile, Fine Dining Chef of the Year will be decided at a cook-off at The Farm Cookery School on June 7th.

Entries close for nominations in all categories on May 15th but any businesses interested in becoming sponsors are still invited to get in touch via:

For further information and to enter, visit here

Categories are:

  • Farm Shop
  • Artisan Drink Producer
  • Artisan Food Producer
  • Independent Food/Drink Retailer
  • Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year
  • Fine Dining Chef of the Year
  • Best Casual Dining Establishment
  • Best Casual Dining Chef
  • Pub or Bar of the Year
  • Employee of the Year
  • Best Food/Drink Experience
  • Young Foodie of the Year
  • Food Hero/Community Award
  • Foodie Start-up (Business started in the last 12 months)
  • International Taste Award
  • Street Food Trader of the Year
  • Café/Coffee Shop of the Year
  • Coventry BID Award (exclusive to Coventry) – Sponsored by Coventry BID
REVIEW: Kerry Vale Vineyard, Shropshire

REVIEW: Kerry Vale Vineyard, Shropshire

Kerry Vale Vineyard, Shropshire, afternoon tea

A very short drive from Plas Robin Rural Retreats in Powys – our home for three nights – we ventured across county (and country!) to Shopshire’s Kerry Vale Vineyard.

While maybe a little off the beaten track, it is well known among locals – and, as we found, should be a must-do for visitors. It’s well worth a visit, whether for afternoon tea, a light bite or the full vineyard tour experience. Here you can enjoy a guided Vineyard Tour with Wine Tasting, Tour with Cheese and Wine or Tour with Sparkling Afternoon Tea.

But if you want the taste without the tour – they can of course cater for that too. In fact I understand their tastings are incredibly popular.

Kerry Vale Vineyard, Shropshire, afternoon tea

This wonderful family-run business grew on the six-acre site of great archaeological interest and once part of the ancient Roman site of Pentreheyling Fort, a vicus (provincial civilian settlement), is on the edge of a number of Roman marching camps.

As well as its Roman history, two decades of archaeological research show the site was once occupied by Bronze Age funerary monuments, a druid road and a medieval settlement – with Offa’s Dyke just a field away!

But it is now the proud home to 6,000 vines of four varieties of wine – Rondo, Pinot Noir, Phoenix and Solaris, ideally suited for the English climate.

Kerry Vale Vineyard, Shropshire, afternoon tea

As we were celebrating a friend’s ‘special’ birthday, it seemed fitting to partake in their Sparkling Afternoon Teas – and at Kerry Vale our culinary and cultural appetites were left extremely well satisfied. And what a joy it is to enjoy the ‘fruits’ of the grape pickers’ labour overlooking the vineyards themselves – with the added bonus of, well, plenty of cake! (Worth starving yourself for this one!)

We were very attentitively looked after from start to finish as we devoured our fresh and delicious selection of sweet and savoury treats, beautifully presented and accompanied by a flight of wines for our mini tasing experience.

Kerry Vale Vineyard, Shropshire, afternoon tea

My friend and I we were guided through our experience of these locally grown wines with helpfully provided tasting notes to hand. And we both purchased a bottle of or self-declared favourites before leaving.

Don’t worry- for those looking for a lighter bite, there is a tasty lunch menu offering a selection of hot dishes and daily specials all made from the quality locally-sourced ingredients.


Kerry Vale Vineyard, Shropshire, afternoon tea

Take time to browse the quaint Cellar door gift shop for some unusual local souvenirs too.

Whether you are enjoying a whistlestop tour of the area or enjoying a short break in the area, Kerry Vale is a must-do. If you can find nominated driver, I particularly recommend the wine tasting.

Find our more about Kerry Vale Vineyard at:

We visited the vineyard whilst staying in the area at Plas Robin Rural Retreats See review here

Kerry Vale Vineyard, Shropshire, afternoon tea

REVIEW: Definition of the word ‘luxury’ – Plas Robin Rural Retreats

REVIEW: Definition of the word ‘luxury’ – Plas Robin Rural Retreats

Plas Robin, Shepherd's Rest,Wales
Photo courtesy of The Wanderlist

The word ‘luxury’ is overused – as are ‘tranquility’ and ‘unique.’

Yet, as I discovered at Plas Robin’s retreats in the heart of the rural Wales, sometimes justifiable.

A picture, it is said, paints a thousand words and, to be honest, the breathtaking views from these two bespoke holiday homes perched atop the rolling Welsh hillside, do most of the talking!

However, it’s only after staying in the Shepherd’s Rest lodge for three nights that one can truly appreciate the true magic and gentle pace of life it offers.

Plas Robin Rural Retreats, Shepherd's Rest, Wales
Photo courtesy of The Wanderlist

Who For?

Families, couples, friendship groups – and, quite simply, anyone who loves nature or is in need a some much-needed RnR.


This exquisitely designed, bespoke holiday home is equipped with every modern comfort. But it’s the design and attention to detail are what elevates it to the next level of luxury.

Indeed, in their approach to the properties’ design, owners David and Carol have made the most of every inch of the property’s biggest asset – the spectacular vista – full-length bifold glass doors perfectly framing the views from your armchair. We never tired of that!

Plas Robin Rural Retreats, Shepherd's Rest, Wales
Photo courtesy of The Wanderlist

The fine weather enabled us to make good use of the many comfortable outdoor seating areas and watch the country life unfold before us, from kites and buzzards, sheep, chickens and Welsh ponies. (You can even help yourself to some fresh eggs from the hen house in the morning!) And as for that sunset. . .

Indeed, the only visitor during our long weekend was the owners’ friendly dog who invented a new game of fish the stick out of the hot tub for us. Hours of entertainment!

Shepherd’s Rest sleeps four in two bedrooms, one with en suite shower room which, like the bathroom, is exquisitely presented and scrupulously clean. There was even a fluffy robe and slippers for each of us. (It is very easy to just lounge around in an environment that quickly left us feeling unravelled from the stresses of our lives.)

Plas Robin Rural Retreats, Shepherd's Rest, Wales
Photo courtesy of The Wanderlist

The master bedroom’s king size bed is so sumptuous, one doesn’t want to climb out of it! I felt so rested following my stay, I could barely summon the energy to drive home – or maybe that was more about wanting to not go home at all!

The contemporary open-plan kitchen and living area are well thought out in design and equipped with all the gadgetry and cooking utensils even the most enthusiastic chef could ever need.

The SMART TVs in the living area (and both bedrooms) meant we could truly kick back with a girls’ movie night be on the cards.

Thoughtful touches can be found in every corner of this property which has clearly had a great deal of passion and love poured into it – from the jar of bath salts in the bathroom to the ice bucket and hot tub side table for that all-important wine resting place!

All the sundries are laid on, including clingfilm, foil, tea and coffee and sugar. (More often than not we’re caught out by this, right?) Plus there’s locally-sourced milk in the fridge for that all-important cuppa for the weary travellers.

Plas Robin Rural Retreats, Powys, Wales
Photo courtesy of The Wanderlist

A welcome hamper of other local produce, including cake, eggs and chocolate, also got our stay off to an seamless start.

And, whilst not bemoaning the fine weather we were lucky enough to be blessed with, we did miss the opportunity of cosying up in front of the inviting log burner – literally the only thing that could have possibly made this stay even more relaxing. Perfect for the colder months. Certainly not needed however with underfloor heating that kept us toasty throughout.

Although we didn’t make use of the barbecue, I can see why this would be a popular choice here. Sizzling sausages in a sunset like that one would be unbeatable.

Plas Robin Rural Retreats, Powys, Wales
Photo courtesy of The Wanderlist


We discovered that the optimum vantage point from which to soak up the scenery was the supremely positioned hot tub, overlooking the acres of fields and valleys below.

Is wi-fi available?

Yes. Good connection considering where you are although Netflix did experience some buffering!

Plas Robin Rural Retreats, Powys, Wales
Photo courtesy of The Wanderlist

How much?

Between £1,400-£2,100 per week. – Not just premium accommodation but premium views. If you can afford it – and you want the best, this is worth the price tag for the full monty!

What’s nearby?

While it wasn’t easy leaving this beautiful property and view behind, we decided it would be a shame not to explore the area.

Within a short four-mile drive of Plas Robin, is the pretty little town of Montgomery. It was a delight to while away a couple of hours in the beautiful timber-framed shops and tearooms while also picking up some local produce.

Kerry Vale Vineyard – See review here

How to book

Book Plas Robin properties through WanderlistUK here

Curtain up on Belgrade Theatre’s Autumn/Winter 2022 season

Curtain up on Belgrade Theatre’s Autumn/Winter 2022 season

The Belgrade Theatre has lifted the curtain on the first shows in its Autumn/Winter 2022 season, with highlights including West End musical smash hits SIX, The Rocky Horror Show and Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, brand new musical Bombay Superstar, classic drama An Inspector Calls and The Mousetrap, as well as Malorie Blackman’s Noughts & Crosses.

The season kicks off with Kenyan acrobatic troupe The Black Blues Brothers on Thursday, 1st Sept and The Best of Queen on Saturday, 3rd September. Live music acts continue on Wednesday, 9th November with Neil Diamond: Beautiful Noise.

Join the Belgrade for the world premiere of Tabby Lamb’s Happy Meal from Wednesday, 21st September. The joyful queer rom-com is directed by Jamie Fletcher, fresh from her acclaimed production of Hedwig and the Angry Itch, and sees change all around as Millennial meets Gen Z – from teen to adult, from MySpace to TikTok, and from cis to trans.

From Tuesday, 13th – Sunday 18th September, the first ever UK tour of Bugsy Malone saunters onto the Belgrade’s Main Stage. Packed with iconic songs from Oscar winner Paul Williams, including My Name is Tallulah, You Give a Little Love and Fat Sam’s Grand Slam, this new touring production is a revival of the acclaimed Lyric Hammersmith Theatre production.

The international smash hit musical SIX comes to Coventry from Tuesday, 27th September – Sunday, 2nd October. With a global, chart topping cast recording, SIX remixes five hundred years of historical heartbreak into an 80-minute celebration of 21st century girl power.

Join the Belgrade for a late night, double feature picture show this October as The Rocky Horror Show invites audiences to do the Time Warp from Tuesday, 4th – Saturday, 8th October. Leading the cast will be Strictly Come Dancing 2016 winner Ore Oduba as Brad Majors, Stephen Webb as Frank-N-Furter and fan-favourite Haley Flaherty as Janet Weiss.

From Saturday 15th – Saturday 22nd October, see the world premiere of the brand new musical Bombay Superstar. Co-produced by Phizzical and the Belgrade Theatre, embark on a journey of love and betrayal set in the 1970s, the golden age of Bollywood cinema.

David Walliams’ Demon Dentist, arrives in Coventry from Wednesday 26th – Saturday 29th October. As children leave their teeth for the tooth fairy to collect, they wake up to find odd and horrible things under their pillow. Can Alfie and Gabz solve the mystery and find out who’s leaving these ghastly gifts? From Birmingham Stage Company, the Olivier Award-nominated company who bought you Billionaire Boy and Gangsta Granny.

Happy days are here again, as Beautiful: The Carole King Musical arrives in Coventry for the very first time from Tues 1 – Sat 5 Nov. Follow the extraordinary journey of one of the most prolific singer-songwriters of all time, through a tumultuous marriage which led her to write the chart-topping album, Tapestry.

Following the Belgrade’s annual pantomime, already announced as Jack and the Beanstalk this year, an exciting variety of one-night-only events arrive in the New Year. Experience Legend: The Music of Bob Marley on Thursday 12th January, Big Girls Don’t Cry on Friday 13th January, Sing-a-long-a Grease on Saturday 14th January, Stewart Lee – Basic Lee on Wednesday 22nd and Thursday 23rd February, Vampires Rock on Friday 24th February and Magic of Motown on Saturday 25th February.

Malorie Blackman’s Noughts & Crosses arrives on the Main Stage from Tuesday 24th – Saturday 28th January. Adapted by Sabrina Mahfouz, the gripping retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is transposed into a divided world. Directed by Esther Richardson, Noughts & Crosses is presented by Pilot Theatre.

From Tuesday 7th – Saturday 11th February, the Olivier Award-winning Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of) brings a unique and audacious retelling of Jane Austen’s most iconic love story to Coventry. Adapted by Isobel McArthur, the acclaimed production was a smash-hit in the West End and now embarks on its very first UK tour.

Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap returns to the Belgrade this season from Monday 13th – Saturday 18th February. The world’s longest running play from the best-selling novelist of all time has been seen by millions of people across the globe. Now it’s time for Coventry audiences to find out ‘whodunnit?’

Drawing the season to a close is J.B. Priestley’s An Inspector Calls, running from Tuesday 28th February – Saturday 4th March. This National Theatre production is directed by Stephen Daldry, and sees the prosperous Birling family shaken to their very core by revelations from the mysterious Inspector Goole.

More shows in the Belgrade’s Autumn / Winter 2022 Season will be announced soon.

Tickets for all of these shows are on sale to My Belgrade Members from Tuesday 3rd May. Tickets go on general sale on Tuesday, 17th May. Tickets can be booked by phoning the Box Office on 024 7655 3055 (phone lines open 10:30am – 2pm, Mon – Sat), or visiting where tickets are even cheaper.

With a My Belgrade Subscription package, you can SAVE 15% when you book for three or four shows in the Belgrade’s Autumn / Winter Season (September-February) and a massive 25% when you book 5 or more participating shows. Discounts only apply to full priced tickets in all but the lowest price bands.


Riley cars timeline

Riley cars timeline

The Riley car company started in 1890 as the Bonnick Cycle Company of Coventry before William Riley Jr incorporated the Riley Cycle Company in 1896.

His son, Percy Riley started working on his first car secretly, aged 16, in 1896 and completed its build in 1898. It featured the first mechanically operated inlet valve and was driven by Percy and Victor Riley to Stratford-upon-Avon and back.

William Riley, founder

By 1899, Percy Riley moved from producing motorcycles to his first prototype four-wheeled quadricycle.

Meanwhile, the elder of the Riley brothers, Victor Riley, although supportive of his brother’s embryonic motor-car enterprise, devoted his energies to the core bicycle business.

But in a u-turn in 1913, William decided to halt car production to focus on detachable wheel production. Bicycle production had also ceased in 1911.

By 1903 the Riley Engine Company was established, and in 1913 Percy was joined by his three brothers, Victor, Stanley and Allan to focus on manufacturing entire cars, at around the same time changing its name to Riley (Coventry) Limited.

Riley’s founder William Riley remained resolutely opposed to diverting the resources of his bicycle business into motor cars, but driven by Percy and his three brothers, the company’s focus shifted to manufacturing entire cars in early 1906.

A post-war restructure, Riley grew rapidly through the 1920s and 30s and, in 1926, introduced an innovatively designed fabric-bodied saloon, Percy Riley’s ground-breaking Riley 9 engine- a small capacity, high revving unit.

Regarded as ahead of its time in many respects and called the most significant engine development of the 1920s, it attracted the attention of sports car engineers, going on to achieve track success at, among others, Le Mans, Ulster TT and Brooklands.

By the mid-thirties however, the business had overextended, with too many models and few common parts, and the emergence of Jaguar at Coventry was a direct challenge. Disagreements between the Riley brothers about the future direction of the enterprise grew.

After the death of Percy Riley in 1941, his business began producing transmission components and still exists today in his works in Aldborrne Road, Coventry, trading as NDE Clarke Pitchline Ltd.

Separately PRM Newage Limited is based in Aldermans Green, Coventry. Percy’s widow Norah ran this business for many years and was named Britain’s Businesswoman of the Year in 1960.

The last Riley badged car was produced in 1969 after British Leyland announced an immediate end to Riley production.

For a short while, following BMW’s purchase of the Rover Group in 1994, there were hopes that Riley might be revived, since the then Chairman Bernd Pischetsrieder was an enthusiast. But after Pischetsrieder’s removal in 1999, and BMW’s divestment of the MG Rover Group in 2000, these hopes faded; though the rights to the Triumph and Riley marques, along with Mini were retained by BMW.

Top Five Rileys

1898 UNCLE PERCY’S HOME-MADE CAR: This small belt-driven vehicle featured the first mechanically operated inlet valve.

1905 9HP FOUR-WHEELER: This was the first car in the Riley company’s evolution from bicycles through motorcycles and three-wheeled cars. As speeds rose, it was deemed sensible to add a fourth wheel. The car sported the world’s first detachable wire wheels (made by grandfather William) and was powered by a 1034cc V-twin.

1926 NINE: Described by the late great racing driver Tony Rolt as “the greatest advance in light car design”, the Nine of 1926 was powered by a 1087cc four-cylinder engine with twin camshafts that would form the basis of all future Riley engines.

1928 BROOKLANDS: This sporty derivative of the Nine had twin carburettors and was much admired by the famed engineer and designer Reid Railton, who extracted more power from its engine.

1945 ONE-POINT-FIVE: The first post-war Riley was conceived in 1943 and put on ice while the company’s war work progressed. This meant Riley was the first firm out of the traps with a new car when the hostilities ceased.