The positive impact good food has in helping to promote tourism has been recognised with an award being presented to the "Chefs of England".
Hrishikesh Desai, executive head chef at Gilpin House & Lake House, Windermere, Cumbria, collected the award last night at the VisitEngland Annual Awards for Excellence 2015, on behalf of all chefs working in England who "strive for excellence" to raise the quality of food throughout the country.
The award was one of 17 presented at the ceremony at the Sage Gateshead.
Desai, who recently beat of stiff competition on the BBC2 TV series Chefs on Trial, featuring Alex Polizzi, to win his role at Gilpin Lodge, was joined on stage by a number of apprentice chefs from the Sage Gateshead to accept the award.
He said: "I know from personal experience what is required and am constantly inspired by the passion and creativity of my peers. I know that they will be immensely proud of this award and their contribution to tourism."
James Berresford, chief executive, VisitEngland, added: "With such a huge choice of fantastic restaurants, pubs and hotels offering high calibre food, this award allows us to showcase the impact good food has on English tourism.
Other gold medal award winners announced at the ceremony included:
Small Hotel of the Year Brockencote Hall Hotel, Chaddesley Corbett, Worcestershire
Business Tourism Award Woodland Grange Conference & Meeting Venue, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire
Taste of England Award Hotel Maiyango, Leicester, Leicestershire
Tourism Pub of the Year The Freemasons at Wiswell, Clitheroe, Lancashire
Bed & Breakfast/Guest Accommodation of the Year Colton House, Colton, Staffordshire
Large Hotel of the Year Matfen Hall Hotel, Golf & Spa, Matfen, Newcastle upon Tyne
Sustainable Tourism Award Wheatland Farm Eco Lodges, Winkleigh, Devon
Business Tourism Award
Woodland Grange Conference & Meeting Venue, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire