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Double award whammy for Freemasons at Top 50 Gastropubs

Front-of-house manager Agnieszka Tyczka of the Freemasons at Wiswell, Clitheroe, Lancashire, brought home the gastropub’s first award of the day at the Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs.

Polish-born Tyczka, who runs the gastropub with partner and chef-patron Steven Smith, was named Front of House Manager of the Year at an exclusive awards and lunch held at the Hermitage Road Bar & Restaurant by celebrity chef Tom Kerridge on 25 January.

Later on Kerridge revealed the Freemasons at Wiswell had also maintained its ranking of sixth place on the Top 50 list.

Tyczka’s career in hospitality started at the Gilpin Lodge in the Lake District where she was quickly promoted from waitress to supervisor after her talents were spotted.

She has instilled the qualities of professionalism, friendliness and attentiveness into all of her front-of-house staff, while ensuring their personalities shine.

Tyczka also discourages her team from adopting the quiet and prowling mannerisms of those who work in fine-dining restaurants, saying pub staff must show they are people.

She runs a tight ship, but is very warm, friendly and approachable and likes to think her staff, whether they want to remain in the hospitality sector or not, can take what they have learnt from her at the Freemasons and go on to do great things.

Publican’s Morning Advertiser food editor Nicholas Robinson said: “Tyczka did a great job of gently persuading me to try new things with my meal upsold, without coming across as pushy at all.

“She has a great understanding of the food and immediately suggested several wines to try with each course.”

Runners up in the category included Tom Wilkinson from the Fenwick, Claughton, Lancashire and Tom Throup, general manager at the Chequers Inn, Bilton-in-Ainsty, York.

Top 50 Gastropubs 2016 was sponsored by headline sponsor Estrella Damm in association with Nestlé Chef, Appletiser and Schweppes and Berkmann Wine Cellars.