Want to know where has the tastiest food or friendliest staff?
Restaurant reviewer Angie Curran-Bilbie has all the answers to where serves the borough’s best grub.
Somercotes writer Angie, with help from husband Paul, has combined her passion for food and writing to set up The Sticky Beak Blog – an online account of her experiences at local eateries.
Angie, 45, said: “I am a local Derbyshire bird who, along with family and friends, likes to spread her wings and get her beak sticky sampling food, wine and beer in local restaurants and venues – hopefully having good times and discovering hidden treasures in our glorious neighbourhood along the way.
“I’m not particularly snobby about fancy food or surroundings, I just like a place to be clean, friendly, have atmosphere and be able to do a decent job of cooking the food that is their trade.”
The reviews were created as a feature for another website run by Paul.
“But after a year it was becoming so popular the couple were getting requests to cover more restaurants.“
Angie now covers six to seven a month, and even travels across the world to do the job. She is currently enjoying a holiday in USA – but is still scoping out the best places to eat and blogging about them.
She said: “I would like people to read my opinions and broaden their horizons to go and eat in somewhere different to their usual haunt.
“If we don’t go and support our local businesses then our village or town may well lose a total gem, which would make life a lot duller.
“The aim of the reviews is not to slate people and nit-pick, so if I encounter something not quite right I won’t bang on about it – because it might not be quite to my taste – unless it’s something like waiting for an hour for food, which I think is fair enough as most people wouldn’t be happy with that.
“We live in a magnificent culinary county, and have only just begun our adventure of travelling to sample the delights on offer.”
Despite sampling tasty treats in so many eateries across Derbyshire, Angie still finds it difficult to choose her favourites.
She said: “People often ask where has been my favourite place to visit. It’s really hard to answer this because there are so many great places around and it’s hard to compare home cooked pub grub with fine dining and rate them against each other – which is why we don’t.
“The thing that stands out above all is the Chefs Kitchen Table at the Cavendish Hotel, Baslow with Chef Alan Hill.
“Not only was the food superb but it was a great opportunity to see the food prepared, cooked and find out all about the provenance of it.”
And it isn’t just the food that Angie enjoys. She says reviewing has also forced her to meet new people and visit new places.
“I love meeting the people behind the businesses, what inspired them to start and finding out about the people who supply them in particular local suppliers. I also enjoy trying places outside my normal comfort zone, visiting places I just wouldn’t think of visiting normally.”
So what does the future hold for the Sticky Beak Blog?
“The blog keeps growing with 11,000 visitors last month and almost 20,000 twitter followers.
“The main focus will still be trying more places in Derbyshire, but we are now starting to go into surrounding counties like Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Yorkshire.
“I’d love to more local food producer articles, and I’ve started doing more hotel and travel and would love to do more of that. The world is our oyster!”
Paul agreed, saying: “We have lots more to do in 2017, and new features to add to the blog.”
For more information or to read any of Angie’s reviews, visit www.thestickybeak.co.uk.