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, writes Anna Murby.
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
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,
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 Nothampton’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.
For more details on the competition, including the chance to watch the videos of Atul Kocchar and the cook-offs, please visit the Awards’ website at www.northamptonshirefoodanddrink.co.uk or contact Rachel Mallows on 01933 664437 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also follow the Awards on twitter and Instagram at @foodawardsHQ or on Facebook at facebook.com/foodawards