Rye restaurant gets top Italian prize for authenticity

Jennifer Vinter and Franco Bochicchio were presented the award by Italian ambassador Pasquale Terracciano and Italian chamber of commerce president Leonardo Simonelli SUS-161027-140550001
Jennifer Vinter and Franco Bochicchio were presented the award by Italian ambassador Pasquale Terracciano and Italian chamber of commerce president Leonardo Simonelli SUS-161027-140550001

Restaurateurs from Rye are honoured to receive a prestigious award from the Italian Embassy for the quality of their food and wine.

Tuscan Rye is one of only 85 restaurants in the UK, and the first in the south-east, to be given Italian Hospitality’s Italian Restaurants Around The World award – seen as a seal of approval from the country.

Owners Jennifer Vinter and Franco Bochicchio were presented the award by Italian ambassador Pasquale Terracciano and Italian chamber of commerce president Leonardo Simonelli at a ceremony at The Royal Horticultural Halls in London.

“We are pleased and honoured but we’re also humbled because we hold great respect for the recipients of the award that have won before us,” Jennifer said.

“We are very honoured to be one of just a few restaurants in the whole of the UK to receive the award.”

The criteria for the award is extremely strict as every ingredient must be authentic and true to Italian tradition.

Franco’s family own an olive grove in Tuscany which is used to make the restaurants extra virgin olive oil, which Jennifer said is the most important component, as well as getting the best quality produce they can find.

Only a handful of restaurants are put forward for the award every year so the couple were delighted to be recognised for their work.

This is the latest in a string of accolades for the Lion Street restaurant, which the pair originally started in 2008 and ran until they moved away in 2013.

But due to popular demand, they re-bought the same premises last year, and reopened in February, with the aim of bringing the true taste of Tuscany to Rye.

“It’s very important to keep true to, and be in harmony with, Italian agricultural tradition, so we really have worked hard getting this back up and running,” Jennifer said.

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