A LOCAL restaurant has been recognised for achieving some of the highest culinary standards in the UK, in the annual AA Rosette Awards.

The Clock House in Ripley was awarded three rosettes and praised by AA inspectors for offering “confident contemporary cooking at the sign of the clock” at a ceremony which coincided with the release of the AA’s 2022 Restaurant Guide for the UK and Ireland last week.

The restaurant, which also holds a Michelin star, is set in the heart of the picturesque village in a Georgian building with its signature clock above the front door.

The latest accolade means it sits alongside the likes of Gordon Ramsay’s Pétrus restaurant and The Grill at The Dorchester in London.

“As the hospitality sector reopens after a challenging year, it is an honour to be able to recognise those restaurants achieving the highest levels of gastronomic excellence,” said Simon Numphud, managing director at AA Media. “All 2021 Rosette winners deserve to be celebrated, with each one demonstrating the exceptional culinary standards being offered to diners across the country.”

Managing director Serina Drake took over The Clock House in 2004. Aiming to create a “stylish, contemporary, luxurious space” she has filled the restaurant with unique artwork created by local artists. She says she pours her heart into the restaurant, whether taking care of staff, overseeing the day to day running of the business or personally greeting guests.

Head chef Paul Nicholson said he had been excited to take on the opportunity at The Clock House.

“My focus is always on creating tasty and perfectly executed plates of food using a blend of both modern and classic techniques,” he said. “Keeping the dishes looking simple and elegant, I stick to flavour pairings of two or three in order to showcase the best of what is in season.

“I aim to source local where possible, combining these ingredients with the best the British Isles has to offer.”

His culinary approach, “thoroughbred modern cooking” according to the AA, creates “dressed-to-thrill dishes of panache”.

The awards, now in their 65th year, are determined by one or more visits by an AA inspector with the opportunity to achieve up to five rosettes. This year three restaurants achieved four AA Rosettes, with sixteen awarded three AA Rosettes.