Culinary couple’s lifetime achievement recognised at business awards
Winchester City Council has awarded the Millennium Egg to local independent restauranteurs Eleanor and Mark Dodd at the district’s 2023 Business Excellence Awards.
The Egg recognises lifetime achievement and was presented to the couple, who own and run The Chesil Rectory and the Inn the Park in Abbey Mill, at the recent awards which took place on Thursday 1 June in Winchester College.
Eleanor and Mark bought the historic Chesil Rectory in 2008 and it is now considered one of Winchester’s best restaurants. They purchased Romsey pub The Three Tuns in 2011 and in 2021, during a global pandemic, opened Inn the Park in Winchester’s Abbey Gardens.
Over the years, they have supported the development of many careers in the hospitality industry through training and mentoring schemes in addition to building an active relationship with Eastleigh College, offering students enrichment and employment. They provide ongoing training space for certified wine exams for the hospitality industry, amongst many other partnerships and collaborations.
Champions of local and seasonal produce and passionate about the district and its economy, they have also supported designers and artists with exhibition space in both the pop-up Pitfield in The Brooks Shopping Centre and, more recently, at a series of exhibitions at Inn the Park.
Mark has also been on the board of both Winchester Business Improvement District (BID) and Hampshire Fare.
The Millennium Egg, a crafted ornament presented annually to an outstanding local businessperson for their services to the Winchester district economy, was donated to the council by Jeremy France of Jeremy France Jewellers.
Laura Taylor, Chief Executive of Winchester City Council, said:
“Many congratulations to Eleanor and Mark, whose two outstanding businesses embody that unique, independent brand of Winchester retail that brings so much appeal to our fabulous city, which is regularly recognised as one of the finest places to live in the county and country.
“The acclaimed hospitality and beautiful local and historic settings of Inn the Park and the Chesil Rectory, as well as the support that Eleanor and Mark provide to those starting out in hospitality careers, are the very spirit of what makes Winchester such a desirable destination to shop, live and work.”
On receiving the award Eleanor and Mark Dodd said:
“We are thrilled to accept this award on behalf of our hardworking team and the hospitality sector in general, especially during these recent very challenging times. We feel so grateful to have been in business in this beautiful city of Winchester for over 20 years.
Having independent, family run restaurants, we are privileged each day to meet so many great people: guests, neighbours, colleagues, locals and regulars. We’ve established brilliant business partnerships and exciting collaborations – and most of all we’ve made wonderful friends. Thank you, Winchester!”
The annual Winchester Business Excellence Awards are organised by the Winchester BID, the Hampshire Chronicle and Hampshire Chamber of Commerce.
Winchester City Council also sponsored the Creative and Cultural Award which was presented on the night to Play to the Crowd.