A Rugby woman is celebrating after being served-up an award for her food blog at the Midlands Food, Drink and Hospitality Awards.
Freelance journalist Ellen Manning has a love for writing and food which saw her set up a blog named ‘eat with ellen’.
Mrs Manning uses the blog to review restaurants and discuss cooking and food.
She said: “When I started this blog just over five years ago, winning an award wasn’t really on the agenda.
“It certainly didn’t seem very likely. I was just hoping someone other than my mum or my husband (under duress) would read it.”
The awards ceremony took place on Monday June 25 at Edgbaston Stadium.
Mrs Manning said receiving the award was a wonderful surprise, made better by the fact she had beaten competition from cities to take the award home for Rugby.
She said: “It’s nice to take the award for somewhere that’s not Birmingham or another big city.”
Rugby has a lot to offer, said Mrs Manning, adding that she often features the town in her blog.
“Why shouldn’t we be championing our area? Only through supporting local businesses and people can we help the town to grow.”
The blog has been constantly evolving since its creation.
Mrs Manning said: “It’s changed, evolved and grown and I’ve written about everything from Michelin-starred restaurants to food-filled experiences, moans about bad service, the idea of banning children in restaurants, my own food issues and more.
“It’s not perfect, it’s changing all the time, occasionally I don’t put as much into it as I should, sometimes I run out of enthusiasm, but it’s mine.”
Mrs Manning encouraged anyone considering starting their own blog or creative project to stop thinking about it and do it.
She said the temptation to procrastinate while you wait to try to make something ‘perfect’ should be avoided, adding: “It’s a constant learning curve.
There are different ways you can do it and it grows over time.”
You can access the blog at www.eatwithellen.com
Rugby eateries: The verdict
Ellen Manning has eaten in around nine restaurants and cafes in the Rugby area.
On the Rocks at Quigley’s received Mrs Manning’s approval, with her writing: “The smells of freshly seared meat permeating the whole restaurant, and the sheer fun of the whole experience, makes for a brilliant, sociable evening out.”
The famous Cafe Vin Cinq was praised, with Mrs Manning writing: “They’re doing so much right here. Good food, good ingredients, a great range of dishes and a wonderful balance of classic and adventurous.”
Omar’s in Dunchurch was said to be worth the extra journey out of Rugby. Mrs Manning wrote: “Omar’s winning hosting skills on my previous visit certainly hadn’t been a one-off. He charmed mum and Jamie, as he did the whole restaurant, and I watched him work the room like a consummate professional restaurateur, greeting regulars like old friends, and getting to know newbies like us.
"A few minutes of close study and you could see his eyes flick over each dish as it was brought into the restaurant as a hawk does its prey, checking it was up to scratch.”