News at Levens Hall
30 January 2024
Cumbrian food and drink hero
Cumbrian Food Hero, Levens Kitchen, urges the county to get behind it for the Countryside Alliance Awards

Levens Kitchen and Bakery, based at Levens Hall and Gardens near Kendal, is urging Cumbria to get behind it, as it seeks to turn a Countryside Alliance Awards’ northern shortlisting into a win.

Levens Kitchen and Bakery is the only Cumbrian finalist amongst five businesses shortlisted in the ‘Local Food and Drink’ category of awards known as the ‘Rural Oscars’.  A public vote, opening in early February, will determine whether the business can represent the north at the House of Lords finals.

The awards, which celebrate both the countryside and rural businesses, are now in their 16th year.  They are the Countryside Alliance’s annual celebration of British food & farming, enterprise and heritage, delivered through small, hard-working businesses. Over 17,000 businesses were nominated this year, so even achieving a shortlisting is a huge achievement for Levens Kitchen and Bakery.

However, the kudos of winning a Rural Oscar would be absolutely incredible and just reward for a business that expanded in summer 2023, with the opening of Levens Bakery as a standalone outlet for takeaway bread, pastries, cakes and other treats.

Levens Kitchen and Bakery’s owner, Richard Bagot, says: “The team has worked exceptionally hard to make Levens Bakery a phenomenal success in its first six months, whilst continuing to ensure that Levens Kitchen celebrates the best of local and seasonal produce.

“We hope our customers – and others who like to support local Cumbrian businesses – will get behind us in the public vote and enable us to secure a route to the final.  As we are the only Cumbrian business in our category, it would be fantastic to be able to fly the flag for Cumbria and highlight why food lovers should head to the county.”

This award success is not the only feather in the cap for Levens Kitchen and Bakery this month.  The foodie-focused business is a finalist for the Café of the Year title, in the Cumbria Food Awards 2024, whilst Front of House Manager, Tom Kilshaw, is also shortlisted, with his potential award coming in the Service of the Year category.

The results of these awards – the only ones dedicated to Cumbria’s hospitality sector - will be announced on March 14, at an awards ceremony at Kendal College, hosted by Simon Rimmer.

The opening of Levens Bakery followed a huge upswing in demand for the cakes and bakes produced by Levens Kitchen’s team, following the appearance of head chef, Robert Stacey, and pastry chef, Mireia Ferreres Luna, on TV show, ‘Bake Off: The Professionals’, in 2022. 

By opening the takeaway facility, Levens Hall and Gardens was able to relieve pressure on Levens Kitchen but also ensure food lovers could get more of their favourite, delicious bakes. It also provided a means for families to take these delights home as a take-away option.

With both parts of the food side to Levens Hall and Gardens open for most of the year, even when the Hall and Gardens are closed out of season, they are popular boltholes for local residents and also must-visit stop-offs for people travelling up or down the M6.  All regular customers will be invited to vote for the venue in the Countryside Alliance Awards, to hopefully bring a Rural Oscar back to Cumbria.

News of how to vote will be posted on Levens Kitchen’s social media channels, as soon as voting opens.  Following these channels will ensure that no fan of this food-hero business will miss out on showing it their support.