Award News 2018

Thomasina Miers celebrates Northamptonshire’s finest food and drink!

After much anticipation and a great deal of excitement, the winners in the Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards 2018/19 are finally celebrating being named the best of the county’s best!

 

The competition, now in its tenth year, is aimed at celebrating all that is great about local produce and drink, recognising excellence within the county’s dining venues and rewarding those who work so hard within the culinary sector.

 

The results were announced at a glittering Awards Dinner staged at Northampton’s Royal & Derngate (Wednesday 7th November) and those were (in presentation order and, in the case of two winners or runners-up, in alphabetical order):

 

F&B Achiever of the Year (sponsored by Howes Percival LLP):

 

Winner: Nicky Dorwood of Limes Farm Ltd and School Meals Ltd, Farthinghoe

Runner-up: Naz Islam of Saffron, Northampton

 

Healthy Eating Workplace of the Year (sponsored by C Butt Ltd):

 

Winner: Travis Perkins (Lodge Farm), Northampton

Runner-up: John Lewis Plc, Northampton

 

Farming Innovation Award (sponsored by Warner Edwards):

 

Winner: Courteenhall Farms, Courteenhall

Runner-up: Waterloo Cottage Farm, Great Oxendon

 

Independent Café / Tea Room of the Year (sponsored by Pidy UK):

 

Winner: The Water Mill Tearooms, Ringstead

Runner-up: Pastures Poultry Farm Shop & Café, Yardley Hastings

 

Community Pub of the Year (sponsored by Carlsberg UK):

 

Winner: Barratts Club, Northampton

Runner-up: The Red Lion, Thornby

 

Chairman’s Award:

 

Winner: Duncan Farrington of Farrington Oils, Hargrave

 

Weetabix Local Food Hero of the Year (sponsored by Weetabix):

 

Winner: Dean Hoddle of Silverstone Circuits, Silverstone

Runner-up: Green Acres Rural Enterprise Centre, Staverton

Runner-up: Chris Twell of Neneview Dairy, Stanwick

 

Booker Young Chef of the Year (sponsored by Booker):

 

Winner: Arturs Dzerins of The Hopping Hare, Northampton

Runner-up: Emily Foster of Fawsley Hall Hotel, Fawsley

 

World Cuisine Restaurant of the Year (sponsored by British Pepper & Spice):

 

Winner: Voujon, Long Buckby

Runner-up: Oren Pho, Northampton

 

Booker Food Pub of the Year (sponsored by Booker):

 

Winner: The White Horse, Kings Sutton

Runner-up: The Red Lion, East Haddon

 

Restaurant of the Year (sponsored by Whitco Catering and Bakery Equipment):

 

Winner: The Palmichael, Burton Latimer

Runner-up: Murrays at Whittlebury Hall, Whittlebury

 

Great Service Award (sponsored by Northampton College):

 

Winner: The Red Lion, Culworth

Runner-up: The Tollemache Arms, Harrington

 

Chef of the Year (sponsored by Dawn Farms):

 

Winner: Harvey Lockwood of Murrays at Whittlebury Hall, Whittlebury

Runner-up: Grant Wentzel of The Hopping Hare, Northampton

 

Royal Showstopper of the Year (sponsored by Whitworth Bros Ltd Flour Millers):

 

Winner: Jeyes of Earls Barton, Earls Barton

Winner: Workbridge Coffee Shop, Northampton

 

Artisan Local Drink of the Year:

 

Winner: Lord Barker – Gun Dog Ales, Woodford Halse

Runner-up: Hardwick Elderflower Cordial – Manor Farm Drinks, Hardwick

 

New Local Drink of the Year:

 

Winner: Rubio – Towcester Mill Brewery, Towcester

Runner-up: Opal Gin – Phipps NBC, Northampton

Runner-up: X-Strong Ale – Hoppy Family Brewery, Kettering

 

Artisan Local Savoury Product of the Year (sponsored by Heygates Flour and Animal Feed)

 

Winner: Free Range Chicken, Sage & Onion Sausage Roll – Pastures Poultry Farm Shop & Café, Yardley Hastings

Winner: Free Range Smoked Back Bacon – Waterloo Cottage Farm, Great Oxendon

 

Artisan Local Sweet Product of the Year (sponsored by Moulton College):

 

Winner: Apple with a Blackberry Ripple Ice Cream – Ganders Goat, Cottingham

Runner-up: Gin & Orange Marmalade – Friars Farm, Northampton

Highly Commended: Mango Caramel Popcorn – What’s Poppin’ Corn, Northampton

 

Artisan Local Vegetarian / Vegan Product of the Year (sponsored by Daily Bread):

 

Winner: The Squire: potato, spinach & onion pie – Miss Millie’s Pies (Most Marvellous Baking), N’ton

Runner-up: Vegan Peanut Butter Cookie Sandwich – Connie’s Tea Parlour / Sara Jayne Catering, Holdenby

 

One To Watch (sponsored by Whitworth Bros. Ltd Flour Millers):

 

Winner: Boot Town Brewery, Burton Latimer

Runner-up: Tea Lab Company, Northampton

 

The winners of all the categories were presented with trophies which had been specially designed by the Northampton firm Trinity Engineering – the figure 10 depicted as a bottle and plate to represent a decade of the Awards which was crafted out of tin, the metal traditionally associated with tenth anniversary gifts – by the evening’s special guest, the former Masterchef winner, author and Wahaca restaurant group owner, Thomasina Miers and Awards Patrons William Sitwell and Sophie Grigson.

 

For the team from The Water Mill Tearooms in Ringstead, winning the title of ‘Independent Café / Tea Room of the Year’ came as something of a pleasant surprise, as owner Iona Campbell explained: “We only opened the venue last year so to have this stamp of approval from such a recognised competition at such an early stage and at the first time of asking means the world to us and we couldn’t be more thrilled!

 

“The beautiful trophy will now go in pride of place in the café and we can’t wait to show it off not only to our existing loyal customers but also to all those new faces we’re expecting to see who’ll now be wanting to come and try us for themselves!” she enthused.

 

The evening began with formal welcomes from Awards Director, Rachel Mallows MBE DL of The Mallows Company and Bruce Ray, VP Corporate Affairs and Independent on Trade (interim) with headline sponsors, Carlsberg UK before guests then enjoyed a sumptuous three course meal designed and created by Lee Scott, executive chef at Whittlebury Hall, and aided by a team of culinary students from Northampton College who switched their regular classes for the experience of being part of the prestigious occasion – but not before broadcaster, author and former Strictly Come Dancing contestant Reverend Richard Coles had said grace.

 

Befitting a celebration of the excellence of the county’s food and drink sector, the menu included a wealth of Northamptonshire ingredients, including a game terrine made using duck from award winners, Pastures Poultry Farm at Yardley Hastings, venison from Rutting Reds at Hannington as well as chutney from Northampton’s Friars Farm and goat cheese from Stanwick’s Neneview Dairy.

 

The local offering also continued into the puddings which used apples from New Creation Farm, blueberries from Mee Farmers at Nassington and chocolate from Corby’s Seed and Bean, accompanied by dessert wine generously provided by Amps Wine Merchants of Oundle, before concluding with petits fours generously provided by Belflair Chocolates of Brackley and tea courtesy of the Northampton’s Tea Lab Company, which also created a special tenth anniversary tea blend called ‘The Mallows’ for guests to take home.

 

As well as learning the results of the twenty categories, guests heard how Atul Kocchar, Britain’s first Indian chef to be awarded a Michelin Star, had reacted after he had been involved as a judge at the Booker Young Chef of the Year cook-off final back in September.

 

Praising the talents of the five finalists involved, Atul admired their creativity, skills and calmness under pressure as they took on their two-hour cooking challenge, and paid tribute to the Awards and their impact on the sector over the last decade, something of which, he said, Northamptonshire should be most proud.

 

Those were sentiments echoed by Thomasina who spoke from experience of the value of competitive success following her television victory – which she admitted came despite her having served lumpy mashed potato to judge John Torode in the first episode! – and commended the Awards by congratulating all of those gathered for the evening’s celebration – whether finalists, sponsors, supporters or partners – for helping to create a spectacular culmination to its first ten years.

 

There was also a special presentation from the Lord Lieutenant of Northamptonshire, David Laing, who announced that the ‘Northamptonshire – Britain’s Best Surprise!’ marketing campaign would focus on the food and drink sector in 2019, pledging to bring the county’s culinary excellence to national attention.

Counting the days to the big night…!

With less than a fortnight to go till the big night, the last of the shortlists in the Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards have just been announced which means a total of nearly one hundred finalists are now nervously waiting to learn if they will be walking away with the prestigious gongs next month!

 

Former Masterchef winner Thomasina Miers will be presenting the trophies to those taking the titles including ‘Restaurant of the Year’, ‘Weetabix Local Food Hero of the Year’ and the ‘Great Service Award’ at the culmination of the competition’s year – the Awards Dinner at Northampton’s Royal & Derngate on Wednesday 7th November.

The finalists in the last of the categories to be determined are (in alphabetical order in each category):

 

Community Pub of the Year (sponsored by Carlsberg UK):

 

Barratts Club, Northampton

 

Knightley Arms, Yelvertoft

 

The Red Lion, Thornby

 

The Royal Oak, Cogenhoe

 

Towcester Mill Brewery Tap Room, Towcester

 

Farming Innovation Award (sponsored by Warner Edwards):

 

Courteenhall Farms, Courteenhall

 

East Lodge Farm, Ecton

 

Turney Partners, Quinton

 

Waterloo Cottage Farm, Great Oxendon

 

F&B Achiever of the Year (sponsored by Howes Percival LLP):

 

Angus and Kirsty Clarke – Waterloo Cottage Farm, Great Oxendon

 

Colm Curran – Seed and Bean, Corby

 

Nicky Dorwood – Limes Farm Ltd and School Meals Ltd, Farthinghoe

 

Naz Islam – Saffron, Northampton

 

Emma and Rory McCabe – Proper Pub Co, Old

 

Healthy Eating Workplace of the Year (sponsored by C Butt Ltd):

 

Baxter Healthcare Ltd, Northampton

 

John Lewis Plc, Northampton

 

St Andrew’s Healthcare, Northampton

 

Travis Perkins (Lodge Farm), Northampton

 

As final preparations are made for the black tie celebration, Awards Director Rachel Mallows MBE DL is taking a moment to reflect on the ten years of the competition and what it has achieved: “From just four categories in our first year to some twenty a decade later, we are incredibly proud of the difference the awards have made to the passionate owners and staff of many of our varied food and drink businesses in helping them to grow and succeed” explained Rachel.

 

“So not only am I thrilled for these latest finalists who have helped play their part in making this the best and toughest judging year yet but also forever grateful to our first sponsor, Carlsberg UK, and those other sponsors who’ve joined us over the years whose support has enabled us to shape a county food and drink sector with which to be reckoned on a national scale!” she added.

County’s food heroes revealed!

A delicatessen, a vegan chef and a goat cheese maker are among the finalists vying to be named ‘Weetabix Local Food Hero of the Year’ in the Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards 2018/19.

 

The Awards, now in their tenth year, are aimed at celebrating all that is great about local produce and drink, recognising excellence within the county’s dining venues and rewarding those who work so hard within the culinary sector.

 

In contrast to other titles in the competition, for which direct entries are received, this category, which is sponsored by Burton Latimer-based cereal company Weetabix and staged in partnership with the Northamptonshire branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), invites the public to nominate a person, business or organisation which they believe have done more in the last year to promote local food than any other.

The six finalists are (in alphabetical order):

 

Natasha Caton of Sol Laug Havens CIC, Moulton

 

Green Acres Rural Enterprise Centre, Staverton

 

Dean Hoddle of Silverstone Circuits, Silverstone

 

Stan Roberston of Project 16:15, Northampton

 

Squisito Butchers and Provisions, Yelvertoft

 

Chris Twell of Neneview Dairy, Stanwick

 

Yet again the competition received a plethora of nominations from all corners of the county, with butchers, brewers, farm shops and even a village shop among those being put forward, making the process of choosing the finalists a particularly tough one for the panel of judges including the Chief Executive of the Northamptonshire Community Foundation, Victoria Miles and Weetabix’s Head of Procurement, Anthony Bowdidge, as he explained:  “Weetabix are delighted to be sponsoring this category again this year as we’re incredibly proud of our Northamptonshire roots and it represents an ideal way to demonstrate our commitment to the county and the depth and prosperity of the sector.

 

“The stories we learned about all of those who were those nominated were both humbling and inspiring and while none of them put themselves forward for any kind of public accolade, our six finalists are quite rightly deserving of their place in the spotlight!” he added.

 

Those were sentiments echoed by Sally Hanrahan, Development and Education Manager for Northamptonshire CPRE, who has personally been involved in judging the category since it was introduced in the second year of the Awards: “After nine years, you might imagine that we would have encountered all these amazing people and organisations before, yet every year, I am staggered by the efforts of those who quietly go about their work, without any desire to be publically applauded for it” enthused Sally.

 

“So on behalf of CPRE, may I offer our congratulations to all those who were nominated as they are all clearly food heroes in someone’s eyes and of course good luck to those six who have been shortlisted!” she added.

 

A panel of judges will now visit the finalists late this month to learn first hand the value of their work and their impact on the Northamptonshire food and drink sector, before choosing their winner and runner-up.

 

The results, along with those in all of the categories in this year’s Awards, will be announced at the Awards Dinner taking place at Northampton’s Royal & Derngate on Wednesday 7th November in the presence of special guest, chef, writer, restaurateur and Masterchef winner, Thomasina Miers.

Probably the finest eateries in Northamptonshire!

Making a reservation at some of the county’s finest eateries just got that little bit tougher with the announcement of the finalists vying for four of the prestigious venue titles in this year’s Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards.

 

The Awards, now in their tenth year, are aimed at celebrating all that is great about local produce and drink, recognising excellence within the county’s dining venues and rewarding those who work so hard within the culinary sector.

 

The four accolades up for grabs are those for ‘Restaurant of the Year’, ‘Booker Food Pub of the Year’, ‘World Cuisine Restaurant of the Year’ and that of ‘Independent Café / Tea Room of the Year’ and the respective finalists are (in alphabetical order in each category):

 

Restaurant of the Year (sponsored by Whitco Catering and Bakery Equipment):

 

Bread and Pullet, Northampton

Murrays at Whittlebury Hall, Whittlebury

Nuovo, Northampton

Restaurant Hibiscus, Northampton

The Cedar Restaurant at Fawsley Hall, Fawsley

The Palmichael, Burton Latimer

 

Booker Food Pub of the Year (sponsored by Booker):

 

The Plough, Shutlanger

The Red Lion, Culworth

The Red Lion, East Haddon

The Tollemache Arms, Harrington

The White Horse, Kings Sutton

 

World Cuisine Restaurant of the Year (sponsored by British Pepper & Spice):

 

Ali’s Restaurant, Wellingborough

Mayflower Restaurant, Northampton

Memsaab, Northampton

Oren Pho, Northampton

Saffron, Northampton

Voujon, Long Buckby

 

Independent Café / Tea Room of the Year (sponsored by Pidy UK):

 

Dapper Sandwich Company, Northampton

Dreams Coffee Lounge, Northampton

Forget Me Not Café, Moulton

Pastures Poultry Farm Shop & Café, Yardley Hastings

The Water Mill Tearooms, Ringstead

 

Despite not being shortlisted, Sage and Brooke in Grafton Underwood was also awarded a ‘Highly Commended’ in the ‘Restaurant of the Year’ category.

 

Among the finalists this year are some new names as well as a number of venues which have previously been shortlisted and, in some cases, been runner-up or indeed winners of their category and the Awards Director Rachel Mallows MBE believes that best reflects the prestige in which the competition is now held: “It’s really great to see that those who’ve benefitted from success previously have been keen to repeat that by entering this year as it just goes to show what a difference being able to display that finalist logo has meant to their business “ explained Rachel.

 

“But what’s also wonderful is that our shortlists contain some names which will be unfamiliar to those who’ve followed the competition over the last nine years, and whether they’re first time entrants or those who’ve tried unsuccessfully in the past, it simply goes to show how standards of dining in the county are consistently rising.

 

“So I’m very proud of the efforts of all those who entered and thrilled for these 22 finalists and would urge anyone who loves eating out to go and try them for themselves!” she enthused.

 

Having already been secretly assessed twice as part of the shortlisting process, the finalists in each category will now be visited by two external Mystery Shoppers who will score them on everything from staff knowledge of the menu to use of local ingredients, speed of service, and of course the quality of the food itself!

 

For obvious reasons, the identities of the Mystery Shoppers are being kept under wraps but the happy task has previously been performed by the likes of TV chef and Awards Patron Sophie Grigson and the former editor of the Good Food Guide, Jim Ainsworth!

 

The winners and runners-up in those and indeed all the categories in the Awards will be announced at the Awards Dinner taking place at Northampton’s Royal & Derngate on Wednesday 7th November.

Masterchef winner joins culinary celebrations!

The team behind the Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards is thrilled to announce that chef, writer, restaurateur and Masterchef winner Thomasina Miers is the special guest at this year’s Awards Dinner taking place at Northampton’s Royal & Derngate in November.

 

Indeed the competition has double cause to celebrate with the news that Harrington-based international award-winning craft gin distillers Warner Edwards has joined the line-up of prestigious category sponsors for this, the tenth year of the Awards.

 

Thomasina Miers, whose mother taught her to make béchamel sauce when she was six, dabbled in advertising, journalism and even VAT consultancy before meeting Clarissa Dickson Wright on a catwalk who encouraged her to follow her passion for food – and the rest, as they say, is history!

 

She went on to lift the first ever Masterchef trophy in 2005 and since then her culinary career has gone from strength to strength, with numerous TV programmes, regular national newspaper columns and seven cookery books to her name, not to mention her now 25-strong Mexican restaurant group, Wahaca which she launched with her business partner Mark in 2007. Yet with three children of her own, Tommi, as she’s affectionately known, still finds time to support her local primary school and grow her own vegetables!

 

Thomasina will follow in the footsteps of fellow culinary luminaries Jason Atherton, Marcus Wareing and Michel Roux OBE in presenting the trophies at the Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards’ end-of-year celebration in November and says she’s thrilled to be heading to the county: “I think it’s incredibly important to shine the spotlight on the important and brilliant work that’s happening in the food and drink sector and you’ve only got to look at what this competition has achieved over the last nine years to know Northamptonshire is doing an amazing job!” said Thomasina.

 

“I know from experience what winning a title means and, while I clearly have some very big shoes to fill, I feel honoured to be on the other side, presenting the awards this time – and I can’t wait!” she added.

 

Meanwhile, multiple award-winning craft gin distillers and creators of the original rhubarb gin Warner Edwards has joined the line-up of prestigious Awards supporters by becoming category sponsor of the ‘Farming Innovation Award’. Founder Tom Warner and his wife, Tina, set up the distillery to diversify his own family cattle farm almost six years ago, and every bottle of gin is lovingly crafted with natural ingredients which are farm grown or locally sourced wherever possible. “Having launched the business in December 2012, we were blessed to win one of these local awards less than a year later and, while we’ve taken many more international titles since, it’s one that makes us the most proud because it was the seal of approval from our home county and really set us on our way!” explained Tom.

 

“Hard work, a great product and a great team has seen us grow in the intervening years and now that the awards are celebrating their tenth year, it seemed the perfect excuse to be able to give something back to a competition which has done so much to support businesses like ours in the county to flourish” he added.

 

Among those waiting to discover if they will be receiving their winner’s trophy from Thomasina are the quartet of finalists in the ‘One To Watch’ category (sponsored by Whitworth Bros. Ltd Flour Millers), which is aimed at those producers whose businesses are less than 5 years old and is designed to recognise their potential for major growth, their future significant impact on the market and thereby raising the profile of Northamptonshire at a regional or national level.

 

They are (in alphabetical order):

 

Boot Town Brewery, Burton Latimer

 

Hustle Gin, Horton

 

The Shimmy Shimmy Co, Culworth

 

Tea Lab Company, Northampton

 

The category was introduced for the first time last year and for Awards Director Rachel Mallows MBE DL, it represents the perfect synergy with both their new sponsor and their celebrity dinner guest: “We’re thrilled that Warner Edwards is showing their support for us in this way, not least because we’re so proud to have played albeit a small part in their success and we know that businesses who enter this category are inspired by the likes of their success” revealed Rachel.

 

“And having Thomasina with us on our special night, whom you might say found greater culinary glory by winning a TV show, is a massive thrill because she’s proof that a bit of public recognition, which these Awards can bring, can be a huge boost to blossoming talent” she enthused.

 

The Awards Dinner is taking place at Northampton’s Royal & Derngate on Wednesday 7th November. Tickets priced at £105 (plus VAT) or £1155 (plus VAT) for a table of twelve are available by clicking here.

Cheers to Northamptonshire’s finest drinks!

Some of the county’s finest drinks producers are raising a glass – of their own tipple no doubt! – in celebration of being shortlisted for two of the prestigious titles in the Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards.

 

The Awards, now in their tenth year, are aimed at celebrating all that is great about local produce and drink, recognising excellence within the county’s dining venues and rewarding those who work so hard within the culinary sector.

 

The judging session, staged at The Dukes Arms at Woodford near Kettering (as winner of the ‘Community Pub of the Year’ category in last year’s Awards), saw a panel of judges including Jon Elks, Master Brewer at Carlsberg UK, and CAMRA’s Company Secretary, Ken Owst, come together to choose their finalists in the ‘New Local Drink’ and ‘Artisan Local Drink’ categories. They are (in alphabetical order within the category):

 

New Local Drink of the Year:

 

Donkey Derby – Healy’s of Winwick, Winwick

 

Hustle Gin – Hustle Gin, Horton

 

Opal Gin – Phipps NBC, Northampton

 

Raspberry & Coconut Cake Cream Ale – Boot Town Brewery, Burton Latimer

 

Rubio – Towcester Mill Brewery, Towcester

 

X-Strong Ale – Hoppy Family Brewery, Kettering

 

 

Artisan Local Drink of the Year:

 

Hardwick Elderflower Cordial – Manor Farm Drinks, Hardwick

 

Jack’s Spaniels – Gun Dog Ales, Woodford Halse

 

Lord Barker – Gun Dog Ales, Woodford Halse

 

Organic Pomegranate & Rosemary Vodka – Jelley Distilleries, Brixworth

 

Roobarb & Custard Cream Ale – Boot Town Brewery, Burton Latimer

 

Saxon Shield – Towcester Mill Brewery, Towcester

 

 

 

Among the new finalists to be celebrating success in being shortlisted are Ian Bosworth and Lee Kellett, co-partners of Boot Town Brewery in Burton Latimer who, as Lee explained, are thrilled that they have a chance of taking both titles, especially after setting up the part-time company so recently: “We only started brewing less than eighteen months ago so we’re absolutely delighted and really humbled to have this early success in this prestigious competition, not least because we know what an impact it’s going to have on the business” said Lee.

 

“We set up the company to create a fresh and exciting array of flavoured ales to suit the palates of today’s beer enthusiasts so it’s great that the judges liked them and fingers crossed that this double seal of approval will help us in taking the next big step of giving up our day jobs to pursue our real passion full time!” he added.

 

For the Awards Director, Rachel Mallows MBE, the line-up of finalists is a great indicator of the current health of the county’s food and drink sector: “I am really thrilled to see some of our former winners and finalists coming back to bid for repeat success as it just goes to show what value they place on the competition” revealed Rachel.

 

“But as with our food category shortlists earlier this summer, that almost half of the names in the reckoning are such young firms demonstrates not only the wealth of business talent emerging but also that the quality of what they’re producing is enough to rival those who are already firmly established on the map!” she added.

 

The winners and runners-up in both categories will be decided by a second panel of judges later in the year and the results, along with those of the other categories in the competition, will be announced at the Awards Dinner taking place at Northampton’s Royal & Derngate on 7th November.

A Corn-Ucopia Of Tasty Treats!

From popcorn to pies, cheese to chocolate tiffin and cake to curry bases, the line-up of products battling it out for culinary glory in the Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards is enough to make your mouth water!

 

The Awards, now in their tenth year, are aimed at celebrating all that is great about local produce and drink, recognising excellence within the county’s dining venues and rewarding those who work so hard within the culinary sector.

 

The latest judging session, which followed a longlisting process last month, was held at Holdenby House and saw a panel of judges including Ann Turner, Interim Principal of category sponsor Moulton College, former cookery school owner Mary Laing and Paul Maylunn from Northamptonshire Trading Standards tuck into a wide range of tasty treats vying not just for the traditional two, but three of the Awards’ prestigious titles.

 

That new, third category – that of ‘Artisan Local Vegetarian / Vegan Product of the Year’ category – was introduced following a rise in the number of such product entries into the competition in recent years and comes thanks to the generous sponsorship of Northampton wholefood retailer, Daily Bread.

 

The resulting finalists are (in alphabetical order within the category):

 

Artisan Local Savoury Product of the Year (sponsored by Heygates Flour and Animal Feed):

 

Free Range Chicken, Sage & Onion Sausage Roll – Pastures Poultry Farm Shop & Cafe, Yardley Hastings

 

Free Range Smoked Back Bacon – Waterloo Cottage Farm, Great Oxendon

 

Phipps Firkin – Neneview Dairy, Stanwick

 

The Saint; slow-braised beef and horseradish pie – Miss Millie’s Pies (Most Marvellous Baking), Northampton

 

Tikka Masala Curry Base – Punjaban, Northampton

 

 

Artisan Local Sweet Product of the Year (sponsored by Moulton College):

 

Apple with a Blackberry Ripple Ice Cream – Ganders Goat, Cottingham

 

Chocolate Tiffin – Connie’s Tea Parlour at Holdenby House, Holdenby

 

Gin & Orange Marmalade – Friars Farm, Northampton

 

Mango Caramel Popcorn – What’s Poppin’ Corn, Northampton

 

Vicky’s Lime & Chocolate Drizzle Cake – Radmore Farm Shop, Litchborough

 

 

Artisan Local Vegetarian / Vegan Product of the Year (sponsored by Daily Bread)

 

Chocolate and Cherry Cake with Coconut Cream – Sol Laug Havens CIC, Moulton

 

Little Bars of Happiness (chocolate, apricot and orange) – The Happy Little Cake Company, Northampton

 

Munchable Multiseed Dippers – Most Marvellous Baking, Northampton

 

Sticky Toffee Pudding – Flo’s Kitchen, Northampton

 

The Squire; potato, cheese, spinach & onion pie – Miss Millie’s Pies (Most Marvellous Baking), Northampton

 

Vegan Peanut Butter Cookie Sandwich – Connie’s Tea Parlour at Holdenby House, Holdenby

 

 

Among the finalists to be celebrating success in being shortlisted, and for the second year running, are Ben Carter and Jess Fletcher from Northampton who set up Flo’s Kitchen in October 2016 after struggling to find delicious vegan products for themselves. They now produce a wide range of sweet and savoury products and specialise in desserts, as Ben explained: “Just because you choose to make an ethical decision such as turning vegan doesn’t mean you should have to give up on great tasting food and since we couldn’t find anything on the market to satisfy our sweet tooths, we thought we’d make them ourselves!” said Ben.

 

“As such a young company, being named as a finalist last year was a big boost to us as it really helped to raise our profile and we’re humbled to think that the judges were equally impressed this year by our sticky toffee pudding, which apparently they said you couldn’t tell it was vegan.

 

“That’s really the biggest compliment we could have possibly hoped for and now we’re keeping our fingers crossed that we can go all the way and be the first winners of this new title as we know what a massive impact that could potentially have on our business!” Ben added.

 

One of those playing their part in the selection process was Pie & Pudding Ambassador at Wellingborough-based Dunkleys Pies, Mark Beeston,who, at the end of the tense evening of tasting and scoring, summed up the mood of his fellow panel members: “I think the creativity, new product development and quality shown by these producers is incredible and they reflect a standard worthy of any national competition, yet they’re all being made right here in Northamptonshire” enthused Mark.

 

“We should therefore be immensely proud of the food scene here in the county and the best way we can do that is to show our support for these brilliant finalists by going out and buying their products!” he added.

 

The winners and runners-up in the three product categories will be decided by a second panel of judges later in the year and the results, along with those of the other categories in the competition, will be announced at the Awards Dinner taking place at Northampton’s Royal & Derngate on 7thNovember.

Probably the finest chefs in Northamptonshire!

While this month has seen the world’s sports stars bid for global glory at football, tennis and Formula 1, some of the county’s finest chefs have also been battling it out to win two of the prestigious titles in this year’s Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards.

 

The competition, which is now in its tenth year, is again aimed at celebrating all that is great about local produce and drink, recognising excellence within the county’s dining venues and rewarding those who work so hard within the culinary sector.

 

The accolades being vied for were those of ‘Booker Young Chef of the Year’ (sponsored by Booker), for budding culinary stars aged 18-25, and ‘Chef of the Year’ (sponsored by Dawn Farms) for those over 25.

 

The finalists competing for the senior title were (in alphabetical order):

 

Harvey Lockwood from Murrays at Whittlebury Hall, Whittlebury

 

William Mountain from Stonewalls Catering, Long Buckby

 

James Peck from Burnt Lemon Catering, Finedon

 

Samuel Squires from Hibiscus, Northampton

 

Grant Wentzel from The Hopping Hare, Northampton

 

The five, shortlisted from a record number of entries, were invited to the impressive kitchens of Northampton College to take part in a ‘Ready Steady Cook’ style challenge in which they had to put their own twist on two courses – Mrs Beeton’s Duck, Braised with Turnips followed by Northamptonshire Cheesecake – using ingredients from Awards sponsor Booker alongside their key local ingredients of rapeseed oil from Farrington Oils at Hargrave,

rhubarb gin from Warner Edwards in Harrington, Healy’s of Winwick cider and beer from Nobby’s Brewing Company in Thrapston.

 

They also took part in a ‘Masterchef’ style technical challenge, being asked to produce deep fried goujons of plaice with tartare sauce in just 15 minutes to test not only their fish handling skills but also their planning, flavouring and hygiene.

 

The cooking oil for that element was kindly provided by Blisworth-based organic waste recycling company Olleco and in keeping with the Awards’ green ethics, was then collected to be converted into low-carbon biodiesel.

 

Throughout the entire three-hour cook-off process, the quintet were watched by an expert panel of judges including Science Innovation Manager at category co-sponsor Dawn Farms, Aaron Melly, and the chef-owner of the Paris House in Woburn, Phil Fanning, who then tucked into the various and imaginative takes on the assigned dishes.

 

The second cook-off, also at Northampton College, saw ten of the county’s finest up and coming chefs battle it out in the semi-final of the ‘Booker Young Chef of the Year’. Like their senior counterparts, they too were provided with a basket of kitchen ingredients by category sponsor Booker as well as their local ingredient of Northamptonshire Blue cheese from Hamm Tun Fine Foods in Hannington.

 

With just 24 hours’ notice of the ingredients available, the dectet turned the key ingredient of smoked tofu into a wonderful array of differing dishes for the judges – everything from a mezze plate including a ‘fake’ chorizo crumble, a mushroom kibbeh and a miso spiced tofu burger served with a quinoa salad, pickled vegetables and red pepper ketchup.

 

Those contending with the tricky but enjoyable task of choosing the finalists were Booker’s Catering Development Manager Peter Saunders and former Northampton College student Simon Dyer, who is now at Gordon Ramsey’s Michelin star London restaurant Pétrus.

 

Simon, who acted as a judge at last year’s final, summed up the panel’s mood; “It was amazing to see the creativity of all ten chefs and we were really impressed by the mature way in which they handled their dishes, especially as I’m sure it was a little unnerving with all of us watching!” explained Simon.

 

“What particularly delighted me was seeing the depth of talent that the county can boast when it comes to the chefs of the future and, as such, the shortlisting was really tough and really tasty!” he added.

 

The six finalists, who now go forward to compete for the ‘Booker Young Chef of the Year’ title in the final cook-off in September are (in alphabetical order):

 

Arturs Dzerins from The Hopping Hare, Northampton

 

Emily Foster from Fawsley Hall Hotel and Spa, Fawsley

 

Deniz Gultes from Murrays at Whittlebury Hall, Whittlebury

 

Toby Hunt from The Sun Inn, Kislingbury

 

Kenny Markham from The Church Restaurant, Northampton

 

William Podbury from The Red Lion, Thornby

 

All finalists now have until Wednesday 7th November to discover their fate when the winners and runners-up in all the categories of this year’s Awards will be announced at the Awards Dinner.

Another helping of Awards sponsorship!

As the competition reaches the half way point in its tenth year, with a flurry of cook-offs, judging sessions and secret mystery shopping visits taking place this month alone, the team behind the Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards is delighted to announce the support of yet another new sponsor.

 

It comes in the form of Northampton logistics firm C Butt Ltd, which joins the prestigious line-up of long-standing supporters, including Booker, Dawn Farms, Heygates Flour and Animal Feed and Moulton College, by becoming sponsor of the ‘Healthy Eating Workplace’ category in the awards designed to celebrate all that is best about the county’s food and drink sector.

 

On the eve of the company’s centenary, having purchased its first vehicle in 1919 to transport goods to local markets, and following hot on the heels of its recent success in securing the coveted BRC Food Standard accreditation, this partnership was an obvious next step, as C Butt Ltd’s Managing Director, Jonathan Butt, explained: “We’re incredibly proud of our rich history within the county and, with our focus this year on Northamptonshire’s excellent food and drink manufacturers and distributors, we’re thrilled to be joining the awards as it marks its decade and to playing our part in helping the sector to thrive.

 

“We’re also incredibly proud to have to have gained the BRC’s prestigious standard and delighted therefore to have the opportunity to celebrate that success in this most of productive of ways through our sponsorship” he added.

 

The ‘Healthy Eating Workplace of the Year’ category is one designed to recognise those workplaces which show real commitment to providing a healthy food offering for its workforce with dishes that are nutritious, good value – and tasty!

 

Last year the title was taken by Weatherbys Ltd in Wellingborough, a proud achievement as Catering Manager, Matthew Edwards, explained: “Winning the Healthy Eating Workplace award was fantastic as the publicity and recognition that came with our success really lifted the confidence and energy levels of the staff.

 

“The category also goes to show how much benefit to the employees a healthy food offering brings in terms of their personal wellbeing while our win also generated innovation and extra footfall through the staff restaurant” Matthew added.

 

“In addition, we had a superb night out at the awards ceremony so, in short, I can think of no reason not to enter!” he enthused.

 

Those are sentiments echoed by the Awards’ Director Rachel Mallows MBE DL, who is hoping for entries to rival the standard of previous years: “Among the innovative ideas we’ve seen in the last four years of the category have been ‘free fruit Wednesdays’, a loyalty card scheme which sees those buying four healthy meals getting the fifth free to one canteen which charges more money, the more calories you have” explained Rachel.

 

“Now, thanks to C Butt Ltd’s generous support, we can celebrate those companies which recognise the value in providing great tasting, nutritious food to keep their staff fit, healthy and productive and so I would urge businesses to get involved!” she added.

Royal icing on the cake!

In an array of baking creations of which Prue and Paul would have been proud, two of the county’s finest cake-makers are now celebrating after being named joint winners of the ‘Royal Showstopper of the Year’ category in the Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards!

 

Jeyes of Earls Barton and Workbridge Coffee Shop beat off competition from four other finalists to share the title, following the judging at last weekend’s Althorp Food Festival.

 

 

The category, which had been made possible thanks to the generous additional support of sponsor Whitworth Bros Ltd Flour Millers in Wellingborough, was introduced not only to mark the Awards’ tenth year but also to celebrate Northamptonshire’s links with the royal family ahead of this weekend’s big wedding!

 

‘You Give Me Butterflies’ from Workbridge Coffee Shop.

 

Among the themes introduced by the finalists were flavours inspired by HRH Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s diverse backgrounds, decorations using the Spencer family coat of arms, and even icing carefully depicting the late Princess Diana’s wedding dress!

 

But it was Jeyes’ colourful creation of a royal wedding street party scene, complete with smiling figurines of the bride and groom – and some corgis! – and Workbridge’s three-flavoured, three-tiered spectacular  which won over the judges.

 

The panel charged with the enjoyable but difficult task of tucking into all six cakes were Kim Little from category sponsor Whitworth Bros Ltd, Gavin Austin, who is consultant chef to the England Football Association, former Great British Bake Off contestant Deborah Manger and Countdown presenter Nick Hewer, who recently appeared in the Great British Bake Off – Stand Up 2 Cancer series.

 

Speaking just before announcing the results, Nick commended all the bakers for their amazing efforts, cleverly using nine-letter adjectives for which his daytime show is famed: “On behalf of all the judges I want to say well done to all the finalists because all of the cakes were beautiful, fantastic and delicious!” enthused Nick.

 

“I know it’s a cliché but the judging was a tough challenge and so my particular plaudits go to the two winners, who should feel very proud of their achievement!” he added.

 

Having been on display on the Awards’ stand at the show for much of the day, causing gasps of delight from many who saw the showstopping creations, the remainder of the cakes were then sliced up and offered to show visitors in return for donations to The Earl Spencer’s chosen Festival charity, DACT – Daventry Area Community Transport.

 

The Awards is therefore very grateful to Jeyes, Workbridge and the four other finalists – Bills Edible Art and Nutty and Nice Cakes, both from Northampton, Little White Cakery from Rushden and Silverstone Circuit – for donating their cakes, helping to raise just over £130.

‘Countdown’ to a Royal Showstopper!

While Harry and Meghan tick off the days till they tie the knot at Windsor Castle, the ‘Countdown’ is also well and truly on to find the county’s best baker, thanks to the presenter of Channel 4’s favourite word quiz, Nick Hewer!

 

Nick, formerly Lord Sugar’s adviser on The Apprentice and who lives in the south of the county, is stepping up to the plate to join the judges of the newest category in the Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards 2018/19 and help determine which mouthwatering cake spectacular will take the title of ‘Royal Showstopper of the Year’!

 

The six finalists vying for the title are (in alphabetical order):

 

Bills Edible Art, Northampton

 

Jeyes of Earls Barton, Earls Barton

 

Little White Cakery, Rushden

 

Nutty and Nice Cakes, Wootton

 

Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone

 

Workbridge Coffee Shop, Northampton

 

The category, which has been made possible thanks to the generous additional support of sponsor Whitworth Bros Ltd Flour Millers in Wellingborough, was introduced not only to mark the Awards’ tenth year but also to celebrate Northamptonshire’s links with the royal family and will be judged at the Althorp Food Festival next Saturday 12th May, home of Prince Harry’s uncle, The Earl Spencer.

 

Despite his recent disastrous appearance on the recent Great British Bake Off – Stand Up 2 Cancer series, when Paul Hollywood had to step in with a wooden spoon, Awards Director Rachel Mallows MBE is sure that Nick will be great addition to the panel: “We’re absolutely thrilled that Nick is lending his support to the competition in this way and I’m certain that he’ll put everything he learned from Paul and Prue in the bake-off tent to best use when choosing his favourite!” explained Rachel.

 

“Thankfully he won’t be alone in choosing the winner as we have some great culinary talents who’ll ensure that the best entry – whether a Victoria sponge, Madeira or even a rich fruit cake – walks off with the first of our prestigious titles in this, our tenth year” she added.

 

Indeed, also joining Nick to sample the culinary creations is Consultant Chef to the England Football Association, Gavin Austin and former GBBO contestant Deborah Manger, who’s no stranger to the Awards, having judged the ‘Independent Café / Tea Room’ category since 2013: “Having been on the other side of the fence in the then BBC series, it’s great to be poacher turned gamekeeper and to have this opportunity to enjoy the great food that Northamptonshire has to offer” enthused Deborah.

 

“I can’t wait to tuck into what I know, from previous experience, will be some amazing bakes and what better way to look ahead to the royals’ special day than with a slice of showstopping cake?!” she added.

A decade of probably the finest culinary competition in the world!

The team behind the Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards is delighted to announce that the competition has been launched for 2018/19 for its tenth year!

 

The Awards, which are run by the sector for the sector, are aimed at celebrating all that is great about local produce and drink, recognising excellence within the county’s dining venues and rewarding those who work so hard within the culinary sector.

 

Thanks to ongoing support from its existing sponsors – headline sponsor Carlsberg UK, Booker, British Pepper & Spice, Dawn Farms, Heygates Flour and Animal Feed, Howes Percival LLP, Moulton College, Northampton College, Pidy UK, Weetabix, Whitco Catering and Bakery Equipment and Whitworth Bros Ltd Flour Millers – and with support from SEMLEP (South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership), the Awards categories will continue to offer public recognition to the county’s finest pubs and restaurants, cafés and chefs, producers and entrepreneurs.

 

Also joining the prestigious line up is Northampton wholefood retailer Daily Bread, whose generous sponsorship has enabled the introduction of a new category aimed at vegetarian and vegan producers.

 

Meanwhile, thanks to further support from Whitworth Bros Ltd, a special award – ‘Royal Showstopper of the Year’ – will mark a decade of the competition by inviting bakers to celebrate Northamptonshire’s link with the forthcoming royal wedding by creating a cake which will be judged at the Althorp Food Festival in May, just a week before HRH Prince Harry and Meghan Markle tie the knot.

 

In addition, the Awards Dinner in the autumn will again provide a platform to highlight successes in the county’s ‘Eat Out Eat Well’ scheme – the project managed by Environmental Health Northamptonshire which celebrates those eateries and catering companies that offer healthy and nutritious options on their menus – as well as the presentation of the ‘Chairman’s Award’, which is given in recognition of a particularly special contribution to the county’s food and drink sector.

 

The details of the 2018/19 competition were unveiled at the launch at Moulton College in Northampton (Thursday 8th March) – sponsor of the ‘Artisan Local Sweet Product of the Year’ – by the Awards’ Director, Rachel Mallows MBE DL of The Mallows Company.

 

Rachel also underlined the competition’s continuing commitment to growth with the news that the winners of the all the categories will again go on to receive tailored mentoring from experts on the Awards Mentoring Board, while the winners of the product and drink categories will be submitted as entries into the Great Taste Awards 2018 at the Northamptonshire Awards’ cost.

 

In addition, guests learned of the considerable business benefit that success in the competition can bring from the joint winners of the 2017/18 One To Watch category – Ian Horton from Ganders Goat in Cottingham and John Evans from Towcester Mill Brewery.

 

As Ian revealed, not only was gaining finalist status invaluable, but so too was securing a winner’s logo: “As part of the judging process, we had the opportunity to take advantage of the considerable business expertise of the panel to whom we presented, and as a result, we had a complete rethink of our branding, which is now coming to fruition” explained Ian.

 

“In addition, when taking our goat milk ice cream to potential stockists beyond the county, we found that the stamp of approval in being a Carlsberg UK award winner is something that rightly commands respect and has really helped to open doors for us” he added.

 

Meanwhile John reiterated the value of the publicity that comes with being a finalist in the Awards, including helping the brewery in finding new customers, and he encouraged potential entrants to get involved: “I was quite sceptical in the early years but having now enjoyed the benefits which success can bring, I’d urge others to take advantage of it.

 

“You have nothing to lose and everything to gain!” he enthused.

 

After the formal proceedings, the sponsors, supporters, and reigning champions then enjoyed a site visit to Moulton College’s new £5m Food and Drink Innovation Centre which is due to open to students in September.

 

Despite being under construction, guests were given a fascinating insight into the centre which will provide a bespoke facility to meet the skills and development needs of the sector as well as offer access to a commercial food processing unit and specialist testing equipment.

 

The event concluded with a Northamptonshire lunch made up of tasty treats from the Awards’ former winners and finalists, including pies from The Moulton Pie Company, meats from Sauls of Spratton, chutney from Northampton’s Friar’s Farm, cheese from Hamm Tun Fine Foods, apple juice from Floyers’ Fruit Farm at Flore and tea from Northampton’s Tea Lab Company.

Jeff Whitaker

Rachel, Anna and the Awards team were deeply saddened to learn of the death of Jeff Whitaker, co-founder and CEO of Awards sponsor Whitco Catering and Bakery Equipment Ltd.

 

Jeff was a warm and generous supporter of the competition and, with his wife Vita, was driven not only to making their own company successful, but also to supporting the growth and talent of the food and drink sector in Northamptonshire, for which the county owes a great debt of gratitude.

 

Our thoughts are with Vita, his family, friends and his Whitco colleagues at this very difficult time.

 

To read the tribute from Whitco’s Managing Director, Tony Butler, please click here

 

Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards

The Mallows Company (07103621)

Award News 2018

a

Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards

The Mallows Company (07103621)

Award News 2018

Thomasina Miers celebrates Northamptonshire’s finest food and drink!

Counting the days to the big night…!

County’s food heroes revealed!

Masterchef winner joins culinary celebrations!

Cheers to Northamptonshire’s finest drinks!

A Corn-Ucopia Of Tasty Treats!

Probably the finest chefs in Northamptonshire!

Another helping of Awards sponsorship!

Royal icing on the cake!

‘Countdown’ to a Royal Showstopper!

A decade of probably the finest culinary competition in the world!

Jeff Whitaker