Ben retains Michelin Star

Cottage in the Wood Chef-Director Ben Wilkinson says retaining the restaurant’s Michelin star is doubly important amid the unprecedented challenges currently facing the hospitality industry.

This evening the Cottage, in the Whinlatter mountain forest near Keswick, was unveiled as one of the recipients of the much-coveted accolade at a virtual event held by the Michelin Guide Great Britain and Ireland 2021.

Ben says the challenges of the pandemic mean it is vital to keep celebrating the culinary talent that the UK has to offer.

“There’s no denying that it’s tough for the hospitality industry right now, but it’s important to remind people what we have and look ahead to reopening our doors to customers when the time is right.

“Running a restaurant to such continually high standards takes passion, hard work and resilience from a dedicated team of people. Although the last 12 months have tested chefs and restaurateurs to the limit, there is a collective determination to keep striving for excellence – and fight for the future of our industry.

“In the Lake District, there is a massive breadth and depth of outstanding food and culinary talent, which we need to hold onto and develop for the future. We’re proud to be part of that and whatever 2021 holds, we will always strive to maintain those standards and reinforce our region’s growing reputation as a leading dining destination outside London.”

Originally a 17th century coaching inn, The Cottage in the Wood was transformed by owners Kath and Liam Berney into one of Cumbria’s leading ‘Restaurants with Rooms’ from 2002. Kath and Liam were joined by Chef-Director Ben and his partner Restaurant Director Monika Zurwaska in 2017 and the restaurant was awarded its first Michelin star in the Autumn of 2019.

Ben and Monika are passionate about offering warm hospitality and a creative menu that is based on the produce and influences of Cumbria. The Michelin Guide states that Ben’s menu offers sophisticated and well-balanced flavours, and the service is natural and honest.

Ben’s innate understanding of flavour combinations has been developed through working in top restaurants across the UK including Windows at London Hilton, Midsummer House, Holbeck Ghyll and Rampsbeck Hotel in the Lake District.