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It’s not too late to nominate your favourites for Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards

Finalists in chef categories are revealed

The fourteenth year of Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards is now in full swing with many of its categories now closed and judging well under way. However, there are still three exciting categories 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 The Good Loaf 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, CEO 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 12th October 2022. It’s therefore also an exciting time for the keen foodie who love to frequent dining venues as the NFADA Awards team seek for 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 Sophie@themallowscompany.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 have now been revealed: 

Nicole Wicks from Rushton Hall, Shawn Monk and Matthew Heritage from The Falcon Inn at Fotheringhay, David Smith from The Palmichael, and Hannah Dunne from James Peck’s new flagship Ember.

Finalists for Whitco Chef of the Year have been revealed:

Bartlomiej Polinski from Hibiscus, Arturs Dzerins from Electric Pavillion, Ben Dury from The Red Lion in Cranford and Michael O’Gorman from The University of Northampton- Waterside Campus.

Gold award winners for the ‘Booker Young Chef of the Year’ and ‘Whitco Chef of the Year’ categories will receive a prize ‘money can’t buy’ 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. 

The results of the categories in competition, will see finalists awarded Gold, Silver or Bronze, will be announced at the Awards celebrations taking place on 12th 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 sophie@themallowscompany.com

You can also follow the Awards on Facebook at @foodawards or Twitter and Instagram at @foodawardsHQ or on LinkedIn at @weetabixnfadawards

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