A South Tyneside takeaway got its just deserts as it enjoyed sweet success at a prestigious awards ceremony.
Dessert delivery service The Cakeaway won the prize for best takeaway in the North East at the British Takeaway Awards, held at The Savoy, in London.
It marked a major achievement for owner and manager Jo Bell, 25, who only set up the business last September.
It initially opened as a mobile service, before securing a permanent site in Stanhope Road, South Shields, in May.
Jo did not find out she had won the award until the event, which helped to make it the “best night” of her life.
She said: “I really wasn’t expecting to win it, because there was some really tough competition.
It was the best night of my lifeJo Bell
“The business has only been going for a year, so just to be nominated was an honour. It’s absolutely amazing, and to be ranked as the best in the North East for me is a massive deal.
“It was the best night of my life.”
Jo received the award from comedian Rob Brydon, while the ceremony was also attended by celebrities including Ready Steady Cook presenter Ainsley Harriott, pop star Rachel Stevens and Sarah Willingham, of BBC show Dragons Den.
In total, 110,000 people voted in the awards, with the North East the most sweet-toothed part of Britain, with three of the region’s five finalists specialising in dessert.
The awards were handed out based on the number of votes received, a submission by owners on why their business deserved to win, and a mystery shopping experience, whereby the takeaways were visited unannounced by a judge.
The Cakeaway scored well in all three categories, particularly the mystery shop, coming out with a superb score of 98%.
Jo is now looking to the future having enjoyed such a special night.
She added: “Even just to be at the Savoy for the awards was amazing. It’s not somewhere you expect to ever go to.
“To achieve this in the space of a year and be crowned the best in the region is amazing.
“It still hasn’t sunk in yet, and hopefully we can continue to go from strength to strength now.
“We’re looking at some new cakes to be added to the menu in the new year, and we’re also thinking about expanding, possibly getting some new premises.”
The 13 regional winners received £1,000 and a free sign-up to food delivery leader Just Eat.