A NORTH-EAST chef has won an award for his contribution to supporting locally produced food.

Andrew Rowbotham beat off tough competition to be named North-East Local Food Hero and was presented with his honour earlier today (Monday, December 10).

He was nominated for the award by Hazel Coppack, director of the Love Food project, in recognition of his support for the scheme.

Mr Rowbotham, who runs The Crown, in Mickleton, Teesdale, has volunteered a huge amount of his time to a wide range of activities, including acting as a business mentor, giving demonstrations at events and shows, passing on advice to producers, visiting and giving talks and demonstrations in schools, and judging school competitions.

Ms Coppack said: "From the outset, even though he was heavily committed to developing his own new business, he has always given over and above what was asked of him.

"Andrew is a true advocate of local food, he has been an amazing ambassador for our project, and we are thrilled that he has been recognised as a Local Food Hero."

Local Food, which is behind the award, is a £59.8m scheme that distributes grants from the Big Lottery Fund to projects helping make locally grown food accessible and affordable to communities.

The Love Food project received a £299,600 grant from Local Food in 2010 to support local businesses and enterprises.