The founder of the Ashburton Cookery School, Stella West-Harling MBE has been named as the winner of the prestigious Devon Life Food Hero Award at a glittering awards ceremony in Exeter.
The Devon Life Food & Drink Awards 2014, held on Thursday 7th November, celebrate the success of the county’s vibrant food and drink producers and hospitality industry.
The Devon Food Hero Award, sponsored by Darts Farm, “celebrates the individual who has made the most impact on the food community – someone who goes the extra mile to promote Devon to a wider audience and is passionate about local produce throughout”.
Her contribution to the food and drink scene in Devon and beyond has been immense and she continues to trail blaze new and innovative ways of sharing her passion.
Editor of Devon Life Magazine, Andy Cooper says, “There can be no better recipient of the Devon Food Hero Award 2014 than Stella. Her contribution to the food and drink scene in Devon and beyond has been immense and she continues to trail blaze new and innovative ways of sharing her passion. She is an inspiration to us all”.
Stella moved to Devon in 1992 and established the Ashburton Cookery School on the edge of Dartmoor National Park, promoting seasonal, organic ingredients from local Devon food and drink producers. The Ashburton Cookery School is now one of the leading culinary academies in the UK, training thousands of enthusiastic home cooks and aspiring chefs every year.
In addition to the cookery school she has also launched Home Farm Café, an organic café restaurant at Parke, Bovey Tracey that reflects her passion for local Devon produce.
Stella’s work supporting the region’s food and drink producers has also grown over the years and includes roles leading the Growing Dartmoor Project, Dartmoor Food & Drink, Regional Training Centre for Devon and Cornwall for the School Food Trust to name a few.
I am lucky to work with many talented people both in business and on regional projects who share my passion for Devon’s world-class food and drink producers and fantastic hospitality sector.
“I was not expecting this at all and I am really honoured and grateful to Devon Life for selecting me for this award”, says Stella. “I am lucky to work with many talented people both in business and on regional projects who share my passion for Devon’s world-class food and drink producers and fantastic hospitality sector.”
The award caps an exciting year for Stella, having recently been awarded an MBE for services to hospitality this year and the release of her memoire, ‘A Cooks Book’ that features over 100 traditional English recipes and charts her journey as a cook from small child growing up on a farm in post-war Britain, to opening one of the UK’s first organic restaurants all the way through to the cookery school.
There is no sign of Stella slowing down however, with more projects for Devon in the pipeline. “I’m not hanging up my apron, just yet”, she says.
For more information on Stella’s new book, ‘A Cook’s Book’, A Cooks Book
For more information on Home Farm Cafe, Home Farm Cafe