The East Midlands’ No. 1 food & drink guide – trusted and transparent


Great Food Club is a website, annual printed book and app that shine a light on and celebrate the East Midlands’ best food & drink independents. We also publish a weekly email newsletter (sign up here) and offer regular social media updates.

Restaurants, pubs, producers and food shops in our guide get there on merit, not because they pay us a fee. Our criteria for adding businesses to our guide consists of one question: would we recommend this independent food or drink business to a friend? If the answer is yes, we add them, free of charge.

Our reviewers visit – or try the wares of – every business first to see if it meets our criteria before adding them to our online guide. We occasionally remove places if we feel they fall outside our criteria.

You can apply to join Great Food Club as a business here.

After recommending a business, we invite them to appear in our annual printed Handbook. It is free to appear on our website, but there is a fee to appear in our book, which is how we fund Great Food Club. It is not mandatory to appear in our book.

Once we’ve recommended a business, we also invite the owner to run a member offer to GFC members. We leave this up to each business owner and understand that some do not wish to.

Every October we announce our annual award-winners, and each January we publish our annual Great Food Club Handbook – our printed guide to the East Midlands’ best food & drink independents.

Great Food Club was launched in 2010 and is based in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire – the Rural Capital of Food.

Full disclosure:

  • We pay for our meals when reviewing.
  • We recommend on merit only.
  • No-one pays to appear on our website
  • No-one pays to appear in our email newsletters (unless clearly stated).
  • No-one pays to appear on our social media posts (unless clearly stated).
  • We do charge businesses a fee to appear in our annual Handbook. This fee funds Great Food Club.

Our ethos

If we have a negative experience at a pub, restaurant or food shop (and we’ve had many over the years), we don’t mention it publicly. We ignore it and move on.

We don’t write about our negative experiences for two reasons: first, we don’t want to damage businesses. Second, we want to focus our energy on the good independent businesses out there.

Our lack of negative reviews does not reflect a lack of critical judgement, or mea we’ve done an advertising deal. It’s a deliberate decision to be positive. And to be clear, no business pays us to receive a positive review. You can’t buy a Great Food Club recommendation – they’re not for sale.

Our criteria are as follows: We only write about businesses that are:

1) Independent.
2) Somewhere we’d recommend to a friend.
3) In the East Midlands or Cambridgeshire.

Find who we recommend here.


Some members of our team:

  • Matt Wright Founder & Editor

    Matt lives in Leicestershire and is passionate about pubs and local food. He founded Great Food Club in 2010 after being inspired by local producers near his home town of Melton Mowbray - Britain's 'Rural Capital of Food'.

  • Philip Seaman Editor-At-Large

    Philip lives in west Cambridgeshire in the parish of Catworth with his wife. He is going for the 'World Eating-Out Record'. Passionate about food and drink, his other interests are collecting cookery books and menus, driving his tractor and working on the renovation of their old farm.

  • Stephanie Walsh Local Editor

    Stephanie lives in Derbyshire and is a previous organiser of the Derbyshire Food & Drink Awards.

  • Tim Burke Local Editor

    Leicester-based Tim has been a journalist for 30 years, and over the last 12 years has been restaurant critic for Metro, Great Food Club and the Leicester Mercury. He is also author of 2016 publication The Leicestershire & Rutland Cookbook.

  • Alan Green Website Developer & Designer

    Alan's tech know-how and design skills have turned the Great Food Club website into a thing of beauty and function. His digital agency is called Dare To Think.

  • Emma Arling Office Boss

    Emma lives near Melton Mowbray and keeps everything in the office running smoothly. She loves an afternoon tea! Cream first, then jam.