Fence village pub The White Swan is flying high after being awarded one of the industry’s highest honours – a Michelin star.
Dubbed the Oscars of the food world, The White Swan was presented with the prestigious culinary accolade during a glittering ceremony in London on Monday.
Co-owner Laura Ostick said they were still in shock and could not believe that their dreams had come true.
“We’re only a little pub in Fence. We are completely over the moon about it.
"We got an email on Friday morning inviting us to the ceremony. We thought it was spam, so I contacted them to ask and they said, ‘No, we want you to come down’. We still didn’t think we would be getting anything.
“We know we’ve been on their radar for a while and we knew the inspectors had been in earlier in the year but it was still a huge surprise to get the star. We were just honoured to have been invited to the event.”
Laura and her husband, Gareth, took over the White Swan five years ago with chef Tom Parker joining six months later.
The Wheatley Lane Road pub was awarded Michelin’s Bib Gourmand in 2015, which recognises restaurants offering good food at affordable prices .
It is now one of only three establishments in Lancashire to carry a Michelin star with Moor Hall in Aughton being awarded a second and Northcote in Langho retaining its. There are only 323 in total in the United Kingdom.
“We changed it so much when we took over,” said Laura. “We were nervous at first because the style of food we were serving was not normal for around here.
“Then Jay Rayner gave us an amazing review in 2014 and we started received recognition from the AA,the Good Food Gudie and of course Tom featured on the Great British Menu; so we knew we were on the right track.
“This is what we have always dreamed about. All we ever wanted to do was bring fine dining to the masses. It’s about friendly service as well though and all the team here is incredible.”
So what is next for Fence’s first ever Michelin-starred pub?
“Sheer panic,” laughed Laura. “The phone hasn’t stopped ringing.
“We know the hard work starts now. Winning the star is one thing but retaining it is going to be even harder. We’ve just got to keep on doing what we’re doing, both food-wise and service -wise.”