Pignut, Helmsley: Co-owner of Michelin-recommended restaurant on edge of North York Moors named in Acorn's 30 under 30 list

The co-owner of a Yorkshire restaurant which has quickly become a favourite has been named in a national ‘30 under 30’ list.

Laurissa Cook, who co-owns Pignut, in Helmsley, with her partner and chef Tom Heywood, has picked up an Acorn Award after being named in its 30 under 30 list. Acorn Awards recognise people’s flair and passion in the hospitality industry and is run by renowned magazine The Caterer.

The awards comes as the restaurant celebrates reaching 12 months of opening – during which time it has been awarded two rosettes, featured in the Good Food Guide and been recommended by the Michelin Guide. The Yorkshire Post’s reviewer Elaine Lemm described it as ‘out of this world’.

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Laurissa, who is 29, was presented her award at The Belfry Hotel near Birmingham in a glitzy ceremony on Monday (Jun 10).

Laurissa co-owns Pignut in HelsmleyLaurissa co-owns Pignut in Helsmley
Laurissa co-owns Pignut in Helsmley

She said: “It was a massive shock when I found out I had won and it’s amazing to join the list of this year’s winners and previous winners. I’ve never won anything before, and it’s such a great achievement.

"We love what we do here at Pignut and we never do it for the awards – we’re passionate about the power of local ingredients, the farmers and growers we work with and sustainability.

“The award isn’t for me, it’s for the business. I hope, if anything, it gets people looking at the restaurant as there are still so many people who haven’t heard of us, and we want them to come and see what we do.”

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The restaurant is named after a foraged nut which is local to the area, and has a strong focus on sustainability. The pair source all their ingredients locally, with beef and pork coming from Castle Howard, poultry from Easingwold and fruit, vegetables, herbs and edible flowers from Helmsley Walled Garden.

Laurissa with her Acorn AwardLaurissa with her Acorn Award
Laurissa with her Acorn Award

“We’re guided by the hands of the farmers and producers and we’re proud to be part of such an exceptional community,” said Laurissa.

Meanwhile, Tom has been shortlisted for the Sustainability Excellence Award at the Craft Guild of Chefs Awards, and will find out if he has won later this month.

He added: “It has been an incredible first year. I am extremely proud of Laurissa for winning the Acorn Award. We’ve always believed in ourselves and what we set out to offer guests at Pignut. Now that hard work is paying off.”

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The awards, by The Caterer, were presented by deputy editor Caroline Baldwin and CH&Co chief operating officer Allister Richards during a special three-course lunch yesterday.

Pignut in HelmsleyPignut in Helmsley
Pignut in Helmsley

Allister said: “The Acorn Awards is without doubt a highlight of the hospitality industry calendar.

“The creativity, ambition and energy of all the winners is a magnificent reminder of how exciting and full of opportunity our industry is. While they’re all succeeding and flourishing as individuals on their own unique development pathway, they’re all empowered by a shared desire and determination to succeed and make a difference, and a sector that fully embraces diverse talent.

“As always, I’ve been blown away by the incredible achievements of each of this year’s Acorns. Early on in their hospitality careers they have shown unbounded potential, remarkable ability and vision, and they’ve laid their claim as future hospitality leaders and influencers.”

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