chef Tim Hayward

Food writer, broadcaster, restaurateur and self-confessed food geek shares his thoughts on why Cambridgeshire’s restaurant scene is flourishing.

About five years ago, when Alison and Tim Hayward took over ninety-year-old bakery and restaurant in Cambridge, the advice they received from most people living in the town was that ‘there’s no food culture in Cambridge’. He explains why he has proved them wrong and why Cambridge’s culinary landscape is blooming.

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He says, “They warned us that many of our potential customers would be dining in their colleges. They told us of dons glugging thousand-year-old Port and chowing down on Kentucky-fried swan. Like some stereotypes, it might have had elements of truth once. Like all stereotypes, it couldn’t be more wrong.”

According to Tim, since he landed in the county, Cambridge has come on leaps and bounds. “We now have three Michelin stars in Cambridge shared between two excellent restaurants – that may be seen as punching above our weight by any standards, and that’s only a tiny part of the story.”

It’s not all about the Michelin stars though. Tim explains, “In five years, the city has seen a buzzing street food scene burgeon, develop and even migrate to ‘bricks-and-mortar; we’ve welcomed a load of forward-thinking young food operations beginning to spread their wings outside of London and we’ve seen established players in the town radically up their game.”

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“What’s been particularly exciting is the rise of mid-range and casual eating places. Extremely high-end places can set up anywhere beautiful and people will come, but a sustainable body of friendly, easy-to-love places where both locals and visitors can eat great food in comfortable surroundings at a reasonable price, well, that needs something more.”

“A city of great food needs a population of food-lovers to keep it alive – it needs a food scene. Cambridge has discovered that in itself and continues to go from strength to strength.”

Read the latest review of Fitzbillies or discover our brand new Cambridgeshire Food & Drink Guide online. If you wish to read more juicy reviews, then order a free guide here.

Joele Forrester

Joele Forrester

Joele feels Hermione Granger’s pain of having a strange name and longs for people to be able to pronounce her name correctly (like guacamole!). Never one to take the lift, she still gets out of breath climbing the three flights of stairs to the office and is a lover of bookshops, vegetarian food and flavoured tea.

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