Award News 2019

Olly Smith toasts 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 2019/20 are finally celebrating being named the best of the county’s best!

 

The competition, now in its eleventh year, is aimed at publicly applauding 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 (Thursday 14th November) and those were (in presentation order and, in the case of two winners or runners-up, in alphabetical order):

 

Artisan Local Drink of the Year (sponsored by Warner’s Distillery):

Winner: Black Star – Phipps NBC, Northampton

Runner-up: Triple ‘F’ Medley – Floyers’ Fruit Farm, Flore

Highly Commended: Cheeky Charlie – Healy’s of Winwick, Winwick

 

New Local Drink of the Year (sponsored by Warner’s Distillery):

Winner: Frutas Do Bosque Catharina Sour – Boot Town Brewery, Burton Latimer

Runner-up: Triple ‘F’ Mr Pippin – Floyers’ Fruit Farm, Flore

 

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

Winner: Little Bertie – Hamm Tun Fine Foods, Hannington

Runner-up: Evergreen Chutney – Evergreen Art Café, Daventry

 

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

Winner: Fruity Raspberry Chocolate – Belflair Chocolates, Brackley

Runner-up: Honey, Orange & Whisky Marmalade – Nature’s Fayre, Thrapston

 

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

Winner: Zucchini and Walnut Cake – SophistiCake Creations, Northampton

Runner-up: Chocolate & Cherry Cake with Coconut Cream – Sol Laug Havens CIC, Moulton

Runner-up: Savoury Crumble Pie – The Moulton Pie Company, Moulton

 

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

Winner: Xachoh, Silverstone

Runner-up: What’s Poppin’, Northampton

 

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

Winner: Shena Cooper – Fruitful Abundance, Crick

Winner: Cheryl Thallon – Viridian Nutrition, Daventry

 

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

Winner: Jack Matthews – The White Horse, Kings Sutton

Runner-up: Kenny Markham – KDR Events, Northampton

 

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

Winner: Up The Field, Little Irchester

Runner-up: Shop Zer0, Northampton

Runner-up: Steve Reid – Friars Farm, Northampton

 

Chef of the Year (sponsored by Dawn Farms and Route 1 express couriers)

Winner: Danny Tompkins – Danny Tompkins Chef, Harlestone

Runner-up: Seamus Bryans – Freelance Chef, Irchester

Runner-up: James Peck – Burnt Lemon Catering, Northampton

 

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

Winner: The Red Lion, Thornby

Runner-up: The Lamplighter, Northampton

 

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

Winner: Jynja Jynja, Northampton

Runner-up: Truva Charcoal Grill & Bar, Towcester

 

 

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

Winner: The Plough, Shutlanger

Winner: The Red Lion, Cranford

Runner-up: The Red Lion, East Haddon

 

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

Winner: Murrays at Whittlebury Hall, Whittlebury

Winner: Tresham Restaurant at Rushton Hall, Rushton

Runner-up: The Hopping Hare, Northampton

 

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

Winner: Ten Hands Café Bar, Towcester

Runner-up: Evergreen Art Café, Daventry

 

Great Service Award (sponsored by Northampton College):

Winner: The Apothocoffee Shop, Earls Barton

Runner-up: Nuovo, Northampton

 

Dining For All Award (supported by NAB – Sight Support for Northamptonshire):

Winner: Nuovo, Northampton

Runner-up: The Red Lion, Cranford

 

The winners of all the categories were presented with a specially-commissioned trophy, designed by New Cottage Creative of Little Brington, by the evening’s special guest, multi award-winning wine expert and Saturday Kitchen star Olly Smith, who was clearly bowled over by the whole experience; “I’m absolutely amazed by the passion, creativity, dedication and talent that I’ve witnessed here tonight and it’s been an absolute privilege to be part of such a magnificent and amazing celebration of Northamptonshire” said Olly.

“In food and drink terms, the county has been a hidden gem, but the last decade or so of these awards just goes to prove what you can achieve when everyone pulls together and supports each other and I shall certainly be doing my bit to try to raise its profile and give it the glory it deserves!” he enthused.

Receiving the last trophy of the night – which was introduced with the support of the charity NAB - Sight Support for Northamptonshire and designed to recognise those eateries which ensure a pleasurable dining experience for those with sensory impairments for whom dining out can be more challenging - was Stewart Wright of Nuovo in Northampton, who explained what winning the competition’s newest award meant to him and his team; “We were delighted that, having been named runner-up in the ‘Great Service Award’ category, we were then announced as the winner of the ‘Dining For All Award’, because we absolutely pride ourselves in making sure that everyone who dines with us not only enjoys fabulous food but also receives the best possible care and attention and this accolade just backs that up” explained Stewart.

“It’s also got us thinking very carefully about all the elements on offer at the restaurant and I guess that’s why this competition has made such a difference because it’s making everyone strive to be better and is driving up standards in the process – which has to be great for us all!” he added.

The evening began with formal welcomes from Awards Director, Rachel Mallows MBE DL of The Mallows Company, Jo Gordon from Royal & Derngate and Bruce Ray, VP Global Government Relations and UK Corporate Affairs at headline sponsors, Carlsberg UK, before guests then enjoyed a sumptuous three course meal designed and created by Lee Scott, Business Development Chef at Wellingborough-based Billington Foodservice, and aided by a team of culinary students from Northampton College.

 

Befitting a celebration of the excellence of the county’s food and drink sector, the menu included a wealth of Northamptonshire ingredients, including a starter of meats from Waterloo Cottage Farm at Great Oxendon served with potted beef from Sauls of Spratton, cheeses from Hamm Tun Fine Foods at Hannington and Stanwick’s Neneview Dairy, chutney from Friars Farm in Northampton and breads from Moulton College and the Incredible Bakery Company at Warkton.

The main course was a steak and ale pie using Black Gate beef from category sponsor Booker and Black Star from Northampton’s Phipps NBC, while the local offering also continued into the dessert, which was a twist on a marmalade bread and butter pudding, made using Whittlebury Buns from Whittlebury Bakery, marmalade from Nature’s Fayre at Thrapston and white chocolate from Corby’s Seed and Bean, served with a white chocolate and blackberry ripple ice cream from Cottingham’s Ganders Goat and a dessert wine generously provided by Amps Wine Merchants of Oundle.

The culinary offering concluded with petits fours from Belflair Chocolates of Brackley, who’d proudly received their ‘Artisan Local Sweet Product of the Year’ trophy earlier in the evening, and tea courtesy of the Nothampton’s Tea Lab Company.

 

As well as revealing the results of the 17 categories, there was also a special presentation to the Lord-Lieutenant for Northamptonshire, David Laing, in recognition of his generous support of the county’s food and drink sector, as he prepares to step down from the role of HM The Queen’s representative in the county next year.

For more information about the competition, please contact Rachel Mallows on 01933 664437 or email rachel@themallowscompany.com

 

You can also follow the Awards on twitter and Instagram at @foodawardsHQ or on Facebook at facebook.com/foodawards

Meanwhile, to watch the videos of the cook-offs in the two chefs categories, please visit the gallery page of this website.

PROBABLY THE WORLD'S FINEST CULINARY COMPETITION COMES TO A CLIMAX!

Fabulous food, superlative service, mouthwatering menus and even top-notch toilets – all elements needed to ensure finalist status in the four dining categories in this year’s Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards!

 

And in just over a month’s time, those venues which have been shortlisted in the ‘Restaurant of the Year’, ‘Booker Food Pub of the Year’, ‘World Cuisine Restaurant of the Year’ and ‘Independent Café / Tea Room of the Year’ categories will discover if they will be receiving one of the winners’ trophies from award-winning wine expert and Saturday Kitchen star Olly Smith, who is the special guest at the Awards Dinner taking place on Thursday 14th November at Northampton’s Royal & Derngate.

 

For three months over the summer, a veritable army of Mystery Shoppers have taken their expert taste buds and appraising eyes to visit all of the entries across the four prestigious categories 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

Tap and Kitchen, Oundle

The Hopping Hare, Northampton

Tresham Restaurant at Rushton Hall, Rushton

 

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

The Griffin’s Head, Mears Ashby

The Plough, Shutlanger

The Red Lion, Cranford

The Red Lion, East Haddon

The Saracen’s Head, Little Brington

The Walnut Tree Inn, Blisworth

 

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

Ali’s Restaurant, Wellingborough

Jynja Jynja, Northampton

Lasaan, Northampton

Saffron, Northampton

Truva Charcoal Grill & Bar, Towcester

 

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

Brackley Central, Brackley

Evergreen Art Café, Daventry

Forget Me Not Café, Moulton

Ten Hands Café Bar, Towcester

The Apothocoffee Shop, Earls Barton

Vegan House Café, Rushden

 

Despite not being shortlisted, Hibiscus Restaurant in Northampton was also awarded a ‘Highly Commended’ in the ‘Restaurant of the Year’ category.

 

It has come as no surprise to Awards Director, Rachel Mallows MBE DL, that, alongside a number of new names, the shortlists are made up of former winners, runners-up and finalists, further indicating the esteem in which the competition is held: “Last year, the winner of our café category, who couldn’t enter this year as the reigning champion, went on to employ eight more staff to cope with the increase in custom that its victory prompted and it’s clear that our previously successful eateries want to enjoy the business benefits that glory brings again“ explained Rachel.

 

“I’m also thrilled that we have some new venues vying for the titles, so whether you’ve spotted an old favourite among the shortlists or are tempted to try somewhere you’ve never been before, I’d urge you to go out and enjoy any of the 23 finalists in these impressive line-ups!” she enthused.

 

Having already been secretly assessed twice as part of the shortlisting process, the finalists in each category are currently being 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!

 

In addition to their respective venue title, the finalists will also be vying for the ‘Great Service Award’, sponsored by Northampton College, and the ‘Dining For All Award’, the latter having been introduced for the first time this year thanks to a partnership with NAB – Sight Support for Northamptonshire, which will recognise the best eatery for its efforts in ensuring a pleasurable dining experience for those with sensory impairments for whom eating out can be more challenging.

Culinary celebration set to be a vintage year!

The team behind the Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards is thrilled to announce that multi award-winning wine expert, TV personality, author and columnist Olly Smith is the special guest at this year’s Awards Dinner taking place at Northampton’s Royal & Derngate in November.

 

The vivacious presenter, who regularly appears on BBC 1’s Saturday Kitchen, hosts his own podcast A Glass With…. in which he drinks with the stars and who published his latest book on cocktails and mocktails, Fizz, earlier this year, has himself picked up numerous titles, including both ‘Drinks Business Young Achiever of the Year’ and ‘International Wine & Spirits Communicator of the Year’ in 2009, ‘UK Vineyards Association Communicator of the Year’ in 2012, while he was also named ‘Best Drinks Writer’ in the ‘Great British Food Awards’ in both 2016 and 2017.

 

As wine columnist for The Mail on Sunday, with a listing in Debretts as one of the 500 most influential people in the UK, and one of P&O Cruises’ Food Heroes, curating the wine list and hosting events across the fleet in his Glass House bars, Olly, will follow in the footsteps of fellow culinary luminaries Jason Atherton, Marcus Wareing and Michel Roux OBE in presenting the trophies at the competition’s end-of-year celebration and says he’s delighted to be heading to the county: “I’m absolutely thrilled to be coming to Northamptonshire to be part of this special event because, for me, wine and food is an ever-evolving journey of discovery, packed with innovative techniques, passionate craft and immersive history” explained Olly.

 

“It takes you straight to the heart of any destination and gives a real taste of what it’s like to be a part of that community so I’m looking forward to getting to know Northamptonshire’s increasingly successful food and drink community rather better!”

 

“After all, life’s greatest pleasure is to share a glass and a bite of something local, so how fabulous to be able to do so with a throng of those who feel the same at what will I know will be a fabulous  celebration!” he enthused.

 

Among those waiting to discover if they will be receiving their winner’s trophy from Olly are the quintet 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):

 

Jelley Distilleries, Brixworth

Racing Chocs, Bugbrooke

What’s Poppin’, Northampton

Whittlebury Bakery, Whittlebury

Xachoh, Silverstone

 

Meanwhile, as the finishing touches are put the big night, the next two months remain as busy as ever in the Awards calendar with the results in the last categories being determined, including those for ‘F&B Achiever’ (sponsored by Howes Percival LLP), ‘Restaurant’ (sponsored by Whitco Catering and Bakery Equipment) and ‘World Cuisine Restaurant of the Year’ (sponsored by British Pepper & Spice).

 

In addition, the seven products vying for the title of ‘Artisan Local Vegetarian / Vegan Product of the Year’ will face their third stage of judging by an expert panel from The Vegetarian Society, while former Northampton College student, Daniel Innes-Fitzhugh, who is now Assistant Development Chef to Raymond Blanc OBE at Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons, joins The Telegraph’s restaurant critic and Awards Patron William Sitwell on the panel deciding which treats will be named ‘Artisan Local Savoury Product’ and ‘Artisan Local Sweet Product of the Year’ (sponsored by Heygates Flour and Animal Feed and Moulton College respectively).

 

As the Awards reach the culmination of their eleventh year, Director Rachel Mallows MBE DL is reflecting on another successful twelve months and believes that Olly’s presence will be the perfect way to celebrate: “We’ve been blessed to enjoy the company of some of the greatest names in the food world at the dinner over the last decade, but it shouldn’t be forgotten that this is a drinks competition too, so what better way to raise a toast to some of the county’s best eateries, chefs and producers than with a man at the top of that game!” said Rachel.

 

“You’ve only got to look at the wealth of new drink producers in the mix for their two titles and indeed the depth of culinary talent across the board in the competition this year to appreciate that this year’s dinner promises to be a cocktail of Northamptonshire delights that Olly will never forget!“ she added.

 

The Awards Dinner is taking place at Northampton’s Royal & Derngate on Thursday 14th November, with tickets priced at £120 (plus VAT) or £1,320 (plus VAT) for a table of 12.

Meanwhile for more information about Olly Smith, including details of his forthcoming events and TV appearances, please visit www.ollysmith.com

Toasting the county’s tastiest tipples and treats!

If ever you needed confirmation that the county’s food and drink sector is flourishing, look no further than the record number of those producers vying to take the latest prestigious titles in the Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards!

 

The competition, now in its eleventh 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 recent shortlisting of the ‘New Local Drink’ and ‘Artisan Local Drink’ categories, staged at Barratt’s Club in Northampton, as reigning ‘Community Pub of the Year’, saw a panel of judges come together to sample their way through the competition’s largest number and widest variety of tipples – everything from beers to ciders, spirits to juices.

 

They included Jon Elks, Master Brewer at headline sponsor Carlsberg UK, CAMRA’s Company Secretary, Ken Owst, and Tina Keogh-Warner and Tom Warner, co-founders of the internationally award-winning craft gin distillers and the categories’ sponsor, Warner’s.

 

Indeed, with standards so high, the judges were simply unable to reduce their selection to the usual shortlists of just 4 to 6, with the resulting finalists being (in alphabetical order within the category):

 

Artisan Local Drink of the Year:

Bad Bitch – Bad Boy Cider, Pipewell

Black Star – Phipps NBC, Northampton

Cheeky Charlie – Healy’s of Winwick, Winwick

Classic IPA – Silverstone Real Ale, Syresham

Stonyfield Rosé – Painter’s Vineyard, Blisworth

Sundance American Amber Ale – Boot Town Brewery, Burton Latimer

Triple ‘F’ Medley – Floyers’ Fruit Farm, Flore

 

New Local Drink of the Year:

Frutas Do Bosque Catharina Sour – Boot Town Brewery, Burton Latimer

Kinky Boots – Phipps NBC, Northampton

Mulled Cider – Healy’s of Winwick, Winwick

Organic Elderflower Vodka – Jelley Distilleries Organic Vodka, Brixworth

Roly’s Ginger Beer – Manor Farm Drinks, Hardwick

Strawberry & Lime Cider – Bad Boy Cider, Pipewell

Triple ‘F’ Mr. Pippin – Floyers’ Fruit Farm, Flore

Xachoh Blend No. 7 – Xachoh, Silverstone

 

Meanwhile with a twenty percent increase in the number of entries, those at the second stage judging of the three equally hotly-contested product categories, held at Holdenby House, faced just as difficult a task. They included former cookery school owner and Awards Patron Mary Laing, chef Gavin Austin, who fed the England Lionesses on their way to World Cup semi-final glory in France earlier this summer and Vanessa Brown, who is Head of Business and Catering Services at the Vegetarian Society as well as representatives of each of the category sponsors, Heygates Flour and Animal Feed, Moulton College and Daily Bread. The finalists are (again in alphabetical order within the category):

 

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

Cobblers Nibble – Hamm Tun Fine Foods, Hannington

Evergreen Chutney – Evergreen Art Café, Daventry

Little Bertie – Hamm Tun Fine Foods, Hannington

Olive and Spinach Bread – Whittlebury Bakery, Whittlebury

Steak and Ale Pie – Butler’s Pie Company, Brackley

Togglers – Neneview Dairy, Stanwick

 

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

Honey, Orange & Whisky Marmalade – Nature’s Fayre, Thrapston

Raspberry Fruity Chocolate – Belflair Chocolates, Brackley

Strawberry Jam – Green Kitchen Preserves, Northampton

Whittlebury Bun – Whittlebury Bakery, Whittlebury

 

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

Chocolate & Cherry Cake with Coconut Cream (vgn) – Sol Laug Havens CIC, Moulton

Cocoa Caramel Popcorn (vgn) – What’s Poppin’, Northampton

Creamy Leek and Mushroom Pie (vgn) – Butler’s Pie Company, Brackley

Savoury Crumble Pie (vgn) – The Moulton Pie Company, Moulton

Stanwick Blue (vgt) – Neneview Dairy, Stanwick

Sweet Potato, Spinach & Tomato Pie (vgn) – Sol Laug Havens CIC, Moulton

Zucchini and Walnut Cake (vgn) – SophistiCake Creations, Northampton

 

Among those to be celebrating are David and Kathryn Butler from Butler’s Pie Company in Brackley who, as first time entrants into the competition, are thrilled to have pies in the shortlists of both of the categories they entered: “As a small, family run business we are extremely proud, overjoyed and amazed at being double finalists in this prestigious competition and find it really humbling to know that all of the hard work that goes into producing our high quality products paid off with the judges” said Kathryn.

 

“Entering the Awards has definitely raised our business’s profile so we’re excited for the future and are now keeping everything crossed that one if not both pies go on to take their respective titles!” she added.

Caribbean chef returns to the county for culinary challenge!

While most professional chefs endure the heat of the kitchen on a daily basis, one former local catering student has taken welcome respite from his usual Caribbean temperatures, coming back to the county to help determine the destination of one of the prestigious titles in this year’s Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards!

 

Simon Dyer, who learned his craft at Awards category sponsor Northampton College, now works as Sir Richard Branson’s private chef on Necker Island, but was delighted to return to home territory to help judge the ‘Booker Young Chef of the Year’ category aimed at budding stars aged under 25.

 

The cook-off, staged in the impressive kitchens of the college on Booth Lane, saw the young chefs battle it out in the semi-final, at which they had to demonstrate their culinary skills by creating a main course in just ninety minutes using a basket of general ingredients as well as their key local ingredients of stout from Phipps NBC in Northampton, sourdough from Whittlebury Bakery, smoked ham hock from Great Oxendon’s Waterloo Cottage Farm and duck eggs from Smiths Farm Shop at Chapel Brampton, all carefully selected by Simon.

 

Among those joining him in the tricky but enjoyable task of choosing the finalists were fellow former Northampton College student, Dean Hoddle, who has also climbed to culinary excellence, being Head Chef at Silverstone Circuit, and Awards Patron and former cookery school owner, Mary Laing.

 

Having acted as a judge in this category for the last two years, Simon said he was amazed by the increase in standards he witnessed yet again this year; “Speaking on behalf of the rest of the panel, I know we were all really blown away by the skills shown by the young chefs and I was delighted that, in choosing ingredients that I really loved, they all rose to the challenge brilliantly and created dishes that wouldn’t have been out of place in a fine-dining venue” explained Simon.

 

“None of them seemed at all nervous despite being watched by us throughout the morning and so our task was particularly hard this year but I hope that they can all take inspiration from the likes of Dean and me in seeing how far cooking can take them and indeed if any of them wants a work placement with me in the Caribbean, I’d be delighted to have them!” he added.

 

The four 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):

 

Charlie George Garrett – The Plough, Shutlanger

Kenny Markham – The Church Restaurant, Northampton

Jack Matthews – The White Horse, Kings Sutton

David Arthur Smith – The Palmichael, Burton Latimer

 

Just a week later, the finalists in the ‘Chef of the Year’, co-sponsored by Dawn Farms and Route 1 express couriers and aimed at those aged 25 and over, gathered again at the college to compete in a similar ‘Ready Steady Cook’ style challenge, this time with three hours to plan, prepare and serve a two course meal, having no prior knowledge of the ingredients. The main course was their own creation while their pudding had to be a summer berry roulade and for which they were also given the additional local ingredients of strawberries from Harpole’s Grange Farm and raspberry gin from Awards category sponsors Warner’s in Harrington.

 

The six aiming for the senior title were (in alphabetical order):

 

Reece Brooks – Freelance Chef, Northampton

Seamus Bryans – Greens Restaurant at Collingtree Park Golf Club, Northampton

Michael O’Gorman – The Granary at Fawsley, Fawsley

James Peck – Burnt Lemon Catering, Finedon

Danny Tompkins – Danny Tompkins Chef, Harlestone

Richard Walker – Fawsley Hall, Fawsley

 

Throughout the entire process, the sextet were watched by an expert panel of judges including Aaron Melly and Lee Haines, representing category co-sponsors Dawn Farms and Route 1 express couriers respectively, Northampton College’s Head of Catering, Phil Martin, and the chef-owner of the Paris House in Woburn, Phil Fanning, who then tucked into the various and imaginative range of dishes produced, including a poussin pearl barley risotto and a spinach and wild mushroom risotto served with ham hock and tarragon bonbons.

 

The finalists in both categories now have until Thursday 14th November to discover their fate, when the winners and runners-up in all the categories of this year’s competition will be announced at the Awards Dinner, taking place at Northampton’s Royal & Derngate. Tickets are now available at £120 (plus VAT) or £1,320 (plus VAT) for a table of 12.

 

The finest culinary competition in the world (probably) is back!

The team behind the Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards is delighted to announce that the competition has been launched for 2019/20 for its eleventh 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, Daily Bread, Dawn Farms, Heygates Flour and Animal Feed, Howes Percival LLP, Moulton College, Northampton College, Pidy UK, Warner’s (formerly Warner Edwards), 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 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 firm, Route 1 express couriers Ltd, specialist couriers in frozen and chilled food, which partners Dawn Farms in co-sponsoring the ‘Chef of the Year’ category, while a new partnership with NAB – Sight Support for Northamptonshire (Northamptonshire Association for the Blind) is enabling the introduction of the ‘Dining For All Award’, which will recognise those eateries which ensure a pleasurable dining experience for those with sensory impairments for whom dining out can be more challenging.

 

The full details of the 2019/20 competition were unveiled at the launch (Thursday 14th March) at Warner’s, the internationally award-winning craft gin distillers based at Harrington, following a warm welcome from Maria O’Brien of Carlsberg UK.

 

Awards’ Director, Rachel Mallows MBE DL of The Mallows Company began by paying tribute to all those who had helped in the success of the first decade of the competition before underlining its 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 2020 at the Northamptonshire Awards’ cost.

 

In addition, guests, including Awards Patrons William Sitwell and Sophie Grigson, Emma MClarkin MEP, the High Sheriff of Northamptonshire, James Saunders-Watson, and the Deputy Leader of Northamptonshire County Council, Cécile Irving-Swift as well as sponsors, supporters and reigning champions, learned of the considerable business benefit that success in the competition can bring, firstly from Iona Campbell of The Water Mill Tearooms in Ringstead, winner of the ‘Independent Cafe / Tea Room of the Year’ category, who explained the impact their win had had: “We welcomed many new customers as a result of our victory and even continuing into this year, our weekends have been twice as busy as the same time last year.

 

“So we’re thrilled to have been crowned champions, especially as we were up against some amazing venues and, having taken on eight extra staff to cope with the increase in demand, are now set to open our second venue!” she added.

 

Meanwhile Hendrik Dutson-Steinfeld of The White Horse in Kings Sutton revealed how winning the ‘Booker Food Pub of the Year’ title had similarly led to an increase in customers, and encouraged other potential entrants to get involved: “We’ve had many more first timers visit us since picking up this accolade and indeed, in the month after the win, like for like sales were up an incredible 17 per cent.

 

“It’s also given us the inspiration to evolve so that we can continue to impress our diners and, while we can’t defend our title this year, we’ll be looking at some of the other categories in the hope of competing again and would urge other food businesses to enter and take advantage of the considerable publicity that success brings” he enthused.

 

The Awards were then officially opened by William Sitwell, who spoke of his personal admiration of the passion shown by so many of those in the sector in his home county, after which guests enjoyed a tour of the Warner’s distillery, before finally repairing to Harrington’s The Tollemache Arms – itself a finalist in the ‘Booker Food Pub of the Year’ in the 2018/19 competition – for a rather special lunch created by the pub’s co-owner, Joe Buckley.

 

Indeed, the food had been generously supplied by Fruitful Abundance CIC, a county organisation which seeks to minimise food waste by recycling food that would otherwise be thrown away and which saw one of its venues, Elsie’s Café in Northampton, named the ‘Weetabix Local Food Hero of the Year’ in the 2016/17 Awards.

Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards

The Mallows Company (07103621)

Award News 2019

Award News 2019

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PROBABLY THE WORLD'S FINEST CULINARY COMPETITION COMES TO A CLIMAX!

Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards

The Mallows Company (07103621)

Olly Smith toasts Northamptonshire’s finest food and drink!

PROBABLY THE WORLD'S FINEST CULINARY COMPETITION COMES TO A CLIMAX!

Culinary celebration set to be a vintage year!

Toasting the county’s tastiest tipples and treats!

Caribbean chef returns to the county for culinary challenge!

The finest culinary competition in the world (probably) is back!