Tue, 26 Jan 2021
Two West Berkshire restaurants are celebrating after retaining their Michelin stars.
The Woodspeen, in Woodspeen and The Blackbird, in Bagnor, both kept their one star despite a hugely challenging year for the hospitality industry.
In the last 12 months, both restaurants have been forced to close three times, furlough staff and adapt to the ever-changing Covid-19 guidelines.
However, they can raise a glass to a rare bit of good news today (Tuesday) after being named in the prestigious Michelin Guide 2021.
The Woodspeen retained its star for the fifth year running despite the departure of former Chef Patron John Campbell in 2020.
Director of Operations at The Woodspeen Alesandro Fasoli (pictured below) said: "It is brilliant to have been awarded with a Michelin Star for the fifth year in a row.
"It is a clear sign that the guide recognises the consistently high performance of the world class-team we have in place at The Woodspeen.
"Executive Chef Peter Eaton and Head Chef Olly Rouse are a culinary force and they rightly deserve this award.
"We are very happy that the team have managed to maintain the high standards that are required to get this award in what has been a very challenging time.
"I would like to thanks all our guests who continue to support us year on year and the talented team in place who have given their all during the past year, no matter the restrictions, obstacles and changes.
"The team and I are looking forward to welcoming you all back for more of the same when restrictions are lifted.”
Owner and head chef at The Blackbird Dom Robinson (pictured below) said: "It means an awful lot. 2020 was a very tough year personally and from a business point of view so to get this means the world to me.
"I want to say a big thank you to the team, who have been amazing throughout.
"Getting a Michelin star was something I had dreamt about since I was 16 years old so when we finally got it three years ago it really was a dream come true.
"The fact we have retained it for the third year running, it means just as much to me today as it did three years ago.
"I got Imposter Syndrome when we first got the star. I didn't feel like I deserved it or was good enough.
"So to me, it's validation that I am good enough."
Both restaurants are currently closed due to the national lockdown, but have managed to come up with imaginative and creative ways to continue providing a service to their customers.
The Woodspeen has introduced a new concept called 'Woodspeen at Home', where it offers a pick up or delivery of three course menus designed by its Michelin star chefs.
The menus are finalised by the guests at home, with the help of a step-by-step video from the chefs through a QR code.
The Blackbird, meanwhile, is offering takeaways on Friday and Saturday nights, a takeaway roast dinner on a Sunday and takeaway pizza from noon to 3pm at weekends.