The White Swan at Fence triumphs in UK's most prestigious restaurant awards

Some folk in the village still refer to it as “The Mucky Duck", and you can still order a pint of Timmy Taylor’s at its very pubby bar, though the locals might consider changing that to "A Stroke of Luck", as The White Swan at Fence, just outside of Burnley, bags a much coveted Michelin star.

Over the past three years the Swan has established itself as something of a fine dining hidden gem, thanks to 28-year-old chef Tom Parker. 

Aged just 16, Parker begged a start at Michelin-starred Northcote, ten miles west in Blackburn, becoming a protégé of Lisa Allen and scooping a Young Chef of the Year award.

"We're only a team of three, so this is a massive thing for us

It didn't take long for that prodigious talent to shine through at the Swan, with Confidential critic Neil Sowerby spotting the promise early. Reviewing the pub in 2015, he wrote: 'The special ingredient in all this is Tom Parker. This chef is smoking hot at the moment. Make the trek.'

The Swan soon found itself amongst the Top 50 gastropubs in the UK, scooping 2 AA Rosettes and, most recently, voted as the eleventh best restaurant in Confidentials' newly launched Top 100 Restaurants in the North West guide.

White Swan Fence 2
The White Swan at Fence

Speaking at the Michelin Guide's 'Revelation' event at Waterloo's IMAX cinema in London on Monday 1st October, Parker said he had been inspired to cook by his 'nan's handwritten recipes'. 

"We're only a team of three, so this is a massive thing for us. We really want to enjoy this big moment," Parker told the audience.

Chef Tom Parker White Swan
Chef Tom Parker is surely bowled over

Meanwhile, Manchester's Michelin misery continued as annual favourite The French - hotly tipped to scoop a star this time around - missed out again.

Elsewhere in the North West, Simon Rogan picked up yet another star for Rogan & Co, sister restaurant to L'Enclume in Cartmel, while former Rogan protege Mark Birchall achieved his second star at Moor Hall in Aughton - less than two years after opening.