ONE of Knutsford newest restaurants has scooped a prestigious industry award, just a year after arriving in Regent Street.

Brasserie Blanc, the brainchild of celebrity chef Raymond Blanc, was named restaurant of the year by a panel of judges at the Cheshire Life regional restaurant awards last week.

Having been secretly nominated and then judged by mystery diners, the restaurant claimed the top prize at a black tie awards ceremony at Chester’s Carden Park Hotel on July 10.

“We were just happy to be nominated,” said James Bilson, general manager at Knutsford Blanc.

“To make an impact within the industry in such a short time is good for where we are going and where we want to be.

“There is so much choice in all suburbs of Cheshire, so it was just nice to be nominated and be around restaurants and people within the industry.

“We were happy with that, and to pick up the award is a big accolade. We are chuffed.”

Since James took the reins shortly after the turn of the year, the restaurant has taken on a more community feel, and only learned of its nomination three months ago.

James said: “We are just looking to continue to grow. What we do is good – we have a good, consistent product of dishes that we serve up in a nice relaxed atmosphere, trying to look after everyone to the best of our abilities.

“We have got a really good team, front and back of house, and we just want people to come in, feel relaxed, have a nice evening and leave happy. That’s what we have been building and it’s the feeling we are getting. That’s what we need to try and continue to do.

“When you win such an award it might raise people’s expectations that bit, and we have to strive to always meet those expectations. That’s our main goal and it keeps up motivated.

“We ultimately want people to leave happy and come back to the restaurant.

“From my experience of working in all different suburbs of Manchester it’s good to get involved in the community and feet part of it, and engage with other proprietors in all fields. It’s nice to feel part of it and that’s what we will try to build even more.”

The awards also saw The Church Inn in Mobberley win dining pub of the year, while The Gardener’s Cottage at Tatton Park won best tearoom.