Last chance to back your favourite in the Northamptonshire Food & Drink Awards
THIS year’s Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards is now in full swing with many of its categories now closed and judging well under way. Three categories, however, remain open for nominations.
One of the award’s longest standing categories, Booker Dining Venue of the Year is still open for entries from pubs and restaurants across Northamptonshire.
Last year saw The Falcon, Castle Ashby, Greedy Gordons Pub Company, The Pig & Waffle at Grafton Underwood all take Gold and they have been reaping the benefits of the competition ever since.
World Cuisine Restaurant sponsored by British Pepper & Spice, defined as a venue whose menu offers predominantly international cuisine, is also still open for submissions. Last year’s winner was Indian cuisine, Saffron last year.
Finally one of the awards newest categories, Community Café of the Year supported by bakery The Good Loaf – a previous winner of the local Food Hero award – is still seeking nominations for tea rooms and cafes that are not only the best for its produce, but are a “stand-out-from-the-crowd” venue, providing noteworthy support within their communities.
Suzy Van Rooyen, chief executive of The Good Loaf, said: “We are delighted to be supporting the Community Café category this year. As winners of the Local Food Hero Award in years gone by, we know what an uplift the recognition means to small businesses and are so pleased to be a part of this for others who will see the benefit. “
Dining venues will be “mystery shopped” twice before the finalists are decided. Gold, Silver and Bronze winners will then be announced at The Royal & Derngate Theatre on October 12. It is therefore also an exciting time for any keen foodie who loves to frequent dining venues as the NFADA Awards team seek volunteers (no experience necessary, just an appreciation of excellent service and food) to be mystery shoppers for the above categories.
All interested gourmet gurus can contact the Awards Manager email@example.com for more information.
There have been two exceptional cook offs for both Booker Young Chef of the year, hosted by Northampton College and Whitco Chef of the year hosted by Tresham College, over the past two weeks which delivered passionate performances from a number of talented chefs.
Vita from Whitco, sponsor of the Whitco Chef of the Year category, emphasised just how important chefs are; ‘it’s all about the people and it’s the people that can make it all matter and happen. Our country really needs to value them more and we as clients need to value them more. They need to be celebrated! We want to be able to say to the chef well done, whether that be a casual, a very quick, easy dinner, or a fine dining experience. We all should say thanks to the chef because it’s an amazing skill and it’s so undervalued in this country’.
Finalists for Booker Young Chef: Nicole Wicks (Rushton Hall); Shawn Monk and Matthew Heritage (The Falcon Inn at Fotheringhay); David Smith (The Palmichael); Hannah Dunne (Ember).
Finalists for Whitco Chef of the Year: Bartlomiej Polinski (Hibiscus); Arturs Dzerins (Electric Pavillion); Ben Dury (The Red Lion, Cranford) and Michael O’Gorman (The University of Northampton – Waterside Campus).
Gold award winners in each category will receive a prize in the form of a special culinary experience. Although details of this year’s prizes are yet to be confirmed in previous years winners have spent the day with some of the country’s top chefs.
All the winners will receive their awards at the gala awards ceremony on October 12 at the Royal & Derngate Theatre in Northampton.
For more details on all the categories in the Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards 2022/23, including downloading entry and nomination forms, visit www.northamptonshirefoodanddrink.co.uk/. Or call Sophie on 01933 664437 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Judges wowed by quality of finalists
Eighteen of the county’s finest artisan food and drink products have been shortlisted as finalists in the fourteenth Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards and will now battle it out for Gold, Silver and Bronze in their respective categories.
Sponsors Heygates and Daily Bread were delighted with the significant number of entries received across the three artisan producer categories: Artisan Local Drink, Artisan Local Product and Artisan Local Vegan/Vegetarian Product. The artisan classification includes products from companies that make a high-quality or distinctive product in small quantities, usually by hand or using traditional methods.
Alison Cox, from Green Kitchen Preserves, shortlisted for the firm’s Tomato & Chilli Chutney, said:
“I was so pleased to hear I had been shortlisted on the evening of my 50th Birthday. The competition standard is very high, I’m immensely proud. The Tomato & Chilli Chutney has got to be my bestseller at the moment – customers are loving it and it seemed an obvious product to enter. Although I don’t naturally shout about my products, it’s fabulous to be recognised amongst other great products.”
Laurence Conisbee, from Wharf Distillery, shortlisted for Lactodurum Gin and Solstice Malt Whisky, said:
“Wharf Distillery is delighted to have two products in the finals of the Artisan Local Drink at this year’s Weetabix Northamptonshire Food & Drink Awards. Having one product reach the final is fantastic, but two is amazing and testament to the hard work of our small team here in Towcester. We are particularly delighted that our Solstice English Whisky has made the finals as this has truly been a long labour of love – almost four years – bringing Northamptonshire’s first ever whisky to the market. These awards are so important to help small producers raise their profile across Northamptonshire and beyond and we are honoured to be part of them.”
Rachel Mallows MBE DL, Awards Director, said:
“I’m delighted to see the county’s food and drink sector continue to flourish after a couple of very challenging years. The entries in the artisan categories have made for tough judging even at the shortlisting stage, which sets a great precedent of what’s to come and reflects the fantastic level of produce and drink within the category. I do hope that our county foodies will seek out these products and try them.”
The prestigious awards aim to celebrate all that is great about local produce and drink, recognising excellence within the county’s dining venues and reward those who work so hard within the culinary sector.
Finalists for all three categories are:
Artisan Local Drink of the Year:
• Stonyfield Wine – Sparkling Rose
• Three Hills Brewing – Heidrun Session NEIPA
• Wharf Distillery – Lactodurum Gin and Solstice Malt Whisky
• Lutton Farm – Blue Aurora Ice
• Wild and Furrow – Oat Drink
Artisan Local Product of the Year, sponsored by Heygates:
• Whittlebury Bakery – White Sourdough
• Northamptonshire Charcuterie Company – Garlic & Fennel Salami
• Green Kitchen Preserves – Tomato & Chilli Chutney
• Your Cool – Elderflower Sorbet
• Naked Dairy – Rocky’s Gelato
• Mee Farmers– Blueberry & Lavender Jam
• Hamm Tun Fine Foods – Northamptonshire Blue
Artisan Local Vegetarian/ Vegan Product of the Year, sponsored by Daily Bread:
• Salma Shah – Almond & Coconut Granola
• The Food Library – Spiced Rhubarb Chutney
• Millie’s Pickles – Cucumber & Cabbage
• The Curious Vegan – Oinkin Patties
• Sweet Lounge – Vegan Blue Raspberry Bottles
• Northampton Cheese Company – Tongue Taster
The winners and runners-up in each category will be decided by a second stage judging process and winners will be announced later in the summer.
For more information on the Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards 2022/23, visit Northamptonshire Food and Drink or call Sophie Smith on 01933 664437 or email email@example.com
Back for their Fourteenth Year, the 2022/23 Culinary Awards Revealed!
The Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards is back for its fourteenth year with another sensational set of categories and sponsors.
The Awards are a celebration and recognition of excellence within the Northamptonshire food and drink sector. It is a toast to all that is great about local produce and drink and rewarding those who work so hard to achieve the best within the culinary sector.
The team behind the Awards are delighted to announce the introduction of two debut categories: the Healthy Food and Wellbeing Award which welcomes a fresh sponsor, Delapré Abbey; and the Farming Environmental Award sponsored by Weetabix for the Weetabix Growers Group.
Thanks to ongoing support from headline sponsor, Weetabix will be supporting for their third year a sign of the Burton Latimer company’s commitment to the county’s flourishing food and drink sector. The breakfast giant will once again be joined by existing category sponsors Booker, British Pepper & Spice, Daily Bread, Whitco, Heygates Flour and Animal Feed, Howes Percival LLP, Moulton College and Whitworth Bros Ltd Flour Millers.
John Petre, Supply Chain, Procurement and Technical Director at headline sponsor Weetabix welcomed everyone to The Falcon in Castle Ashby, one of the two Booker Dining Venue Gold Winners of 2021. He announced a new category aimed at celebrating the work of the members of the Weetabix Growers’ Group, who provide wheat from within a 50 mile radius of the Burton Latimer site. The Award will champion those farmers who are reducing the environmental impact of growing wheat. ‘The Farming Environment Award is an exciting new category, along with the Healthy Food and Wellbeing Award sponsored by Delapre Abbey – both of which capture the importance of sustainability. Weetabix is proud to once again be the headline sponsor for the Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards and we look forward to supporting the sector by celebrating the sector’ John added.
Sally West, Corporate Consumer Service Manager at Weetabix asked Zak Perrin, Owner and chef of The Falcon Inn (Fotheringhay) and last year’s Gold award winner, what the Awards had meant to him. Zak said “winning Gold at the Food and Drink Awards is my proudest achievement in my career. It’s been a great thing for the business and for myself personally. It has also opened my eyes to the producers we have on our doorstep locally and a great network.”
Another previous Gold award winner, Simon Derrick from Blue Skies who picked up the Sustainability Award was also present at the launch and when asked how aware he was of the wider food and drinks sector in the county and its breadth. Simon responded with “I have always been aware of a strong food and drink sector in Northamptonshire but I don’t think I was ever aware of just how much is here. You really get a sense of the passion, enthusiasm and the skills, whether it’s the restaurants, food producers, or local pubs. The enthusiasts you have around food and drink in this county is amazing and I think we need to do more to celebrate that and to champion it across the county and further afield”.
The full details of the latest competition were revealed by Awards Director, Rachel Mallows MBE, at the launch which took place (Tuesday 5 April) at The Falcon in Castle Ashby, one of the Gold Winners of the Booker Dining Venue of the Year 2021. Rachel revealed a change to the Café award which this year is supported by The Good Loaf, a category now named Community Café of the Year to celebrate great Cafes and Tea Rooms that also support their local communities.
Rachel added ‘We are asking our foodies of the county to buy local, shop local and eat locally and help the sector not just recover, but thrive after the past two years’.
The free-to-enter categories in this year’s Awards (with their respective sponsors) are:
Artisan Local Drink of the Year
Artisan Local Product of the Year (Heygates Flour and Animal Feed)
Artisan Local Vegetarian / Vegan Product of the Year (Daily Bread)
Booker Dining Venue of the Year (Booker)
Booker Young Chef of the Year (Booker)
Community Café of the Year (Supported by The Good Loaf)
Farming Environment Award (Weetabix Growers Group)
F&B Achiever of the Year (Howes Percival LLP)
Food and Drink College Student of the Year
Healthy Food and Wellbeing Award (Delapré Abbey)
Local Food Hero of the Year (Moulton College)
One To Watch (Whitworth Bros. Ltd Flour Millers)
Weetabix Sustainability Award (Weetabix)
Whitco Chef of the Year (Whitco)
World Cuisine Restaurant of the Year (British Pepper & Spice)
The results of the competition, which will again see finalists awarded Gold, Silver or Bronze,
will be announced at the Awards celebrations taking place on 20th October 2022 at The Royal & Derngate Theatre.
For more details on all the categories in the Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards 2022/23, including downloading entry and nomination forms, please visit the Awards’ website – www.northamptonshirefoodanddrink.co.uk - or call Sophie on 01933 664437 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
A Celebration and Recognition of Excellence within
Northamptonshire's Food and Drink Sector