Thomasina Miers has been looking forward to meeting the food and drink business folk of Northamptonshire as the special guest at the Carlsberg Food and Drink Awards.
The former Masterchef winner and the co-creator of the Wahaca Mexican food chain has not spent much time in the county but has one overriding impression: “it’s so pretty”.
She said: “Northamptonshire is an undiscovered gem, right in the countryside, lovely landscapes and yet it is an hour from London on the train.
“I remember some breathtaking views, I went to have lunch with some friends and the countryside is so pretty.
“It’s what people write about when they write about England.”
Thomasina or Tommi, as she is known to friends, often hears Northamptonshire being praised by those friends so she is finally getting the chance to find out what the food and drink sector is all about in the county.
“William Sitwell is a friend. William said the produce is really great and there are really great food businesses,” she said.
“I also have an 85 year old friend I have lunch with regularly and he tells me all about it too.”
“I am looking forward to meeting the food and drink business people. I spend a lot of time travelling round the country to food festivals, I find it fascinating.
“It’s also great that now food is such a sexy subject that there is room for bright passionate people to start something up. I am looking forward to meeting them. I find it very inspiring.”
Thomasina 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.
Awards Director Rachel Mallows MBE DL reflected 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.
“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!”
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
The finalists in all the categories in the Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards 2018/19, can now be viewed on the News section of the Awards’ website – www.northamptonshirefoodanddrink.co.uk
You can also follow the Awards on Twitter and Instagram at @foodawardsHQ or on Facebook at facebook.com/foodawards