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What does being a winner at the Northamptonshire Weetabix Food and Drink Awards really mean?

Award winning producers and creators reflect on their success

The organisers of the Northamptonshire Weetabix Food and Drink Awards have been gathering feedback from this year’s winners about the impact of having their achievements recognised.

The Mallows Company released the following details from some of the top food and drink venues and producers in the county:

Paul Hunt from The Curious Vegan Co who won Gold in Heygate’s sponsored Artisan Local Vegetarian/Vegan Product of the Year category for their delicious ‘Oinkin Patties’ was over the moon with his winnings.

“We’ve only been trading since March and to win an award, especially a local one that puts us on the map, it validates that we are doing everything right. We’ve got a tremendous team. To win the award in our first year is super important.”

Since winning Gold for British Pepper and Spice sponsored World Cuisine Restaurant of the Year, Alacati Grill has been booming, having seen a boost in bookings. Owner Pammy Raydemir said: “This was an amazing event for local businesses. The restaurant business is such hard work with long hours. It was especially much harder, the last few years, due to the pandemic. It was really awesome to connect with other business people in such a happy and exciting atmosphere!”

The venue has also had a whirlwind media promotional journey since receiving their prize. They had been contacted by BBC Radio Northampton and were interviewed on the early evening show and on the morning show, as well as by the local newspaper, The Chronicle and Echo. The article was also in the Daventry Express too!

Helen Fospero, Chris Jackson (The Curious Vegan), Devon Malcolm, Paul Hunt (The Curious Vegan), John Clarke (Daily Bread)

Winner of the Booker Dining Venue of the Year Award, The Snooty Fox, Lowick explained how much the award meant to them after a tough few years.

“Winning Gold Booker Dining Venue of the Year meant everything to us, we battled for two years to open the Snooty Fox through the pandemic which came at a huge cost, so to finally open and six months later to win Gold was simply the icing on the cake! All the hard work from the team, the long hours and dedication paid off and to now proudly hold this title. It has lifted the business to another level and to proudly display the Awards Logo next to ours, as we work closely with Bookers, is really the proudest moment of our careers to date.”

Things look set to get even more exciting for The Greedy Gordons Pub Company, who since the Awards have further expanded and opened a café in Woodford called ‘The Buttery’ with plans to add a farm shop in the New Year.

Whitco, sponsors of the Awards for another year saw Bart Polinski of T.H.E Hospitality Ltd Hibiscus Fine dining restaurant at Delapre Abbey, take the crown for their Whitco Chef of the Year Award.

Bart said: “It’s fantastic to see companies like Whitco sponsoring events that let chefs be noticed and step up in their careers. For me it was never about winning, it was about the experience, the chance of learning something and seeing other chefs in action and maybe a little test to see where I am in my career. Whitco made it possible for me and made me believe that I am better than I thought.”

Award winners of Whitworth sponsored One to Watch, The Flavour Trailer, have been reaping the rewards since taking Gold back in October, having now launched their third takeaway truck offering takeaway seven nights a week from across more than 15 locations across the county.

Mario Sheppard said: “The feedback and the response from our audience has been wonderful. It seemed for a few weeks we were being congratulated everywhere we turned. It was intense. We are so grateful and feel so honoured to have been part of a wonderful and memorable process.” 

The Awards team caught up with Towcester Community Larder, Gold winners of the Moulton College sponsored Local Food Hero Award who are now trying to launch new exciting initiatives that they have found a need for. Some of these great projects include Larder for Schools – providing breakfast provisions for Teachers and family support workers to distribute; Feed and Read, where volunteers can help young people to read and give them a healthy snack whilst the parents are shopping; And lastly, Larder Club, focusing on the elderly where they can come and have a chat and a warm lunch. 

Katie Steele from the Towcester Community Larder said: “We were over the moon to win this award and would sincerely like to thank the Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards and Moulton College for recognising what we do. Special thanks to South Northants Volunteer Bureau and Roade Community Larder for being our partners on this journey but most importantly I want to take this opportunity to thank all the volunteers, past and present, that give their time and energy so cheerily and willingly to make the Larder the special place that it is today. This award is for all of them as they are the true heroes.” 

Fresh from their interview with ITV, Weetabix Sustainability Gold Award winners Ian and Lauren Horton from Ganders Goat said: “Sustainability is not just an idea for us here at Ganders Goat, it is the foundation of all we wish to achieve and the continuation of every decision weighted towards nature and how we can do better. Ganders Goat is a dream come true as we set out to live sustainably to provide for our son, nature and the future. The Award we have received has given us another boost to keep going, keep working with nature and that our ethics and approach to production and wellbeing is on the right track. Being sustainable can pay through efficiency gains and the like but you don’t get the recognition, the pat on the back from nature to say thanks, that’s where the award really comes into its own.”

The successes and triumphs of this year’s awards has not only revealed the fantastic level of talent across the country but also the vital need to support and appreciate local! For more information on the Award winners and the spectacular evening back in October, please visit the Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards website

Steve
Steve
I'm the editor and owner of The NeneQuirer.

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