The ‘Devon Restaurant Month’ initiative, which will take place across the whole county, will encourage restaurateurs from Honiton to Okehampton and Kingsbridge to Barnstaple to join together to promote Devon as a food destination for both locals and visitors.
A dedicated website www.devonrestaurantmonth.co.uk has been set up for restaurants, both large and small, to promote their own special events that are being organised as part of the scheme.
Some of the biggest culinary names and partner organisations in the county are backing the new initiative, including Masterchef of Great Britain Peter Gorton, as well as Taste of the West, Visit Devon, Visit South Devon, Discover Dartmouth and Food and Drink Devon.
Restaurants and eateries across Devon are being encouraged to join up to raise the profile of the campaign, which is planned to take place every year. They are being invited to host their own special event during June, whether it’s a themed menu, wine tasting event or one-off offer.
Jeff Cooper, founder of Devon Restaurant Month, says: “Devon has some of the very best restaurants, food and drink and talented chefs in the Westcountry and this campaign is about celebrating this and shouting about it. We are very lucky to have such excellence on our doorstep and I think it’s about everyone pulling together to promote ‘brand Devon’. It’s a great platform for as many restaurants as possible to get involved, tell people about what they are doing and in turn, raise the profile of their own business.”
It is hoped that by holding the event during June, a shoulder month between Easter and the summer holidays, that the initiative will help restaurants who may normally experience a quieter time compared to the peak season.
Peter Gorton, Masterchef of Great Britain and owner of Gorton’s Diners Club/Restaurant in Tavistock, says: “As someone who is passionate about cooking with and using high-quality, locally-produced food and drink, I am delighted to be supporting Devon Restaurant Month. Any initiative such as this is so important to increase Devon’s profile, champion its reputation and keep the county an attractive destination for people to come and enjoy.”
John Sheaves, Chief Executive of Taste of the West, adds: “Devon should be considered a food destination to rival the best in the world. In our 2011 Awards there were more winning establishments from Devon than from any other county. Devon Restaurant Month is a fantastic way to promote these businesses.”
Rosie Bates, General Manager of Visit Devon, says: “It is fantastic that this campaign represents so many well-renowned restaurants and places to eat in Devon. There are many benefits of working together with one united voice to showcase and promote the best that we have in the county.
Nigel Way, Chairman of Visit South Devon, commented: “Our unique location means we are able to source quality produce from the land and the sea. South Devon is full of award-winning food businesses that are a major part of our economy. We are proud to be part of this creative and exciting way of communicating that.”
All the events will be included on the dedicated website, as well as published in the May/June edition of ‘Taste Buds’ magazine. They will also benefit from banner adverts on all partner organisation websites, which jointly attract more than 100,000 visitors every month. Restaurants taking part will be provided with their own point-of-sale marketing materials including leaflets for pay points or to be given with bills.