Family-run pub is up for industry gong

Mel and Neil Cutmore at Martins Pond in Potten End
Mel and Neil Cutmore at Martins Pond in Potten End

A family-owned country pub which champions fresh dishes and local produce has been nominated for a food and drink award for the first time.

An anonymous nomination for Martins Pond in Potten End means the pub is up against three other watering holes to win Herts Food And Drink Awards’ coveted Pub Of The Year gong.

The free house, which has been owned and run by Neil and Mel Cutmore for ten years, is the only hostelry in Dacorum to be in the running, alongside The Axe and Compass in Braughing, The Half Moon in Hitchin and The Cricketers in Sarratt.

Mel, who works front of house at Martins Pond, said: “This is the first time we have been nominated for the award and we are over the moon.

“We have some very loyal regulars and we are very passionate about what we do.

“We use vegetables and eggs from the Sunnyside Rural Trust, we get our meat from Strattons in Leighton Buzzard and our fish from Billingsgate Market.”

Husband Neil, whose background is in finance, now leads the three-strong team of chefs at the pub on Hempstead Road – producing dishes such as pan-fried sea bass and home-baked maple glaze ham.

But it is not just the food that is important to the Cutmores – they are very much part of the community and hold regular fundraisers at the pub.

Mel, who is mum to teenager Daniel, 16, said: “We raise money for the village school and church, and we also support Leukaemia and Lymphoma Society as well as the Hospice of St Francis, as they are causes close to our hearts.”

Their most recent charity curry night raised more than £4,600 for Care After Combat, 
a national charity fronted by Simon Weston and Jim Davidson.

More than 90 people enjoyed a charity auction, live music and tasty Indian food to raise money for the organisation which supports soldiers and their families.

Talking about the pub’s ethos, Mel said: “We believe in fresh food, good value and warm hospitality. The team here are like a family to us, and it is more than just a business. It’s 24/7, it’s a way of life.

“To win would be amazing and a huge honour. We’ve worked very hard for 10 years and we have never won anything, so it would be great to have that recgonition.”

On the Herts Food and Drink website, it says the winning pub will be a ‘gem’ and customers would be ‘lost without them’.

To vote, log on to the Hertfordshire Food and Drink website here. The closing date for votes is Monday, February 22.