The team behind the Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards is delighted to announce that the competition has been launched for its fifth year – and it’s bigger and better than ever!
The Awards, devised by Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership (NEP), are 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.
Thanks to ongoing support from NEP, its other sponsors and partners, including headline sponsor Carlsberg UK, Booker, British Pepper & Spice, Whitco, Whitworth Bros Ltd, Explore Communications and Electrolux and the addition of four new sponsors – Aspire Hospitality, Collins Fresh Produce, Heygates Flour and Animal Feed and Newlands Farm – the competition has expanded yet again to an impressive thirteen categories - those being:
‘Artisan Local Product of the Year’ – sponsored by Heygates Flour and Animal Feed with Image Magazine
‘Artisan Local Drink of the Year’ – sponsored by Newlands Farm with Image Magazine
‘New Local Product of the Year’ – sponsored by Whitworth Bros. Ltd with BBC Radio Northampton
‘New Local Drink of the Year’ – with BBC Radio Northampton
‘Restaurant of the Year’ – sponsored by Whitco with Business Times
‘Booker Food Pub of the Year’ – sponsored by Booker with Great Food Club
‘Independent Café / Tea Room of the Year’ – sponsored by Explore Communications Ltd
‘Aspire Chef of the Year’ – sponsored by Aspire Hospitality with Northants Herald & Post
‘Young Chef of the Year’ – sponsored by Booker with Northants Herald & Post
‘Spice Chef of the Year’ – sponsored by British Pepper & Spice in conjunction with Northampton College and with WOW Magazine
‘Community Pub of the Year - Town’ – sponsored by Collins Fresh Produce with the Chronicle & Echo and Northamptonshire Telegraph
‘Community Pub of the Year - Rural’ – sponsored by Collins Fresh Produce with the Chronicle & Echo and Northamptonshire Telegraph
‘Local Food Hero of the Year’ – with Northamptonshire CPRE (Campaign to Protect Rural England)and with Aspire Magazine
The details of the new-look competition were revealed at the launch at Carlsberg UK’s Northampton headquarters by NEP’s Executive Director, Rob Purdie. Speaking before an audience made up of last year’s winners, sponsors, judges and competition partners, he explained the increasing value of the awards in supporting the economy in Northamptonshire; “Food and drink is worth £1.5bn to the Northamptonshire economy and the industry employs almost 50,000 people. Its value therefore speaks for itself. For us, the Awards are about securing and creating jobs and businesses in the sector; they’re also about safeguarding the future of the county’s young people as the industry is great for entry level jobs.”
Meanwhile David Bodily from Carlsberg UK gave an insight into why the company is lending its support again this year; “We are really delighted to once again be sponsoring the Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards. This is a fantastic initiative that recognises the very best Northamptonshire has to offer. As a prominent drinks producer in the county, we are delighted that the awards are being launched here, in the heart of the brewery.”
Among those present was Duncan Evans of The Saracen’s Head at Little Brington which won last year’s ‘Pub or Bar Restaurant of the Year’ title’ and whose chef, William Mountain, was also named ‘Young Chef of the Year’. He spoke of the significant impact that success in the competition is having; “In the week after the results were announced in November, we were getting seven times as many daily hits to our website as we had previously and that raised profile was demonstrated by the increase in the number of people coming through our doors. Even today we’re trading around twenty percent up on last year so winning the Awards has made a really positive impact on our business and I would strongly urge anyone to take part!”
Finally, the Awards’ co-ordinator, Rachel Mallows of The Mallows Company, thanked those who have enabled the expansion of the competition; “We are most grateful not only to our existing sponsors but also to those who have joined us this year as the last four years have demonstrated that this competition is invaluable in promoting our excellent food and drink sector here in Northamptonshire. We are very confident that this year’s awards can only build on that great work and we simply can’t wait for those entries and nominations to start flooding in!”
To set taste buds watering, guests enjoyed some special Comic Relief Awards biscuits and, in celebration of this year’s brand new category of ‘Independent Café / Tea Room of the Year’, a cake in the shape of a giant slice, all generously created by the team at The Stables Tea Room at the National Trust property of Canons Ashby.
Following the speeches, they were also treated to a cookery master class from award-winning chef Steven Saunders of Aspire Hospitality, the man who created the BBC’s ‘Ready, Steady, Cook’. Thankfully Steven had rather more time than the TV series’ contestants to prepare his menu, having been set the challenge of creating a delicious healthy-option dish to pair with Carlsberg UK’s Tuborg beer. With ingredients provided by Awards sponsors Booker, Steven shared top tips and tales of his life in catering as he cooked up his chicken skewers, satay sauce and papaya salsa before guests tucked into his menu, kindly prepared by Carlsberg UK’s catering team under the watchful eye of their manager Joanne White.
For more details on all thirteen categories in the Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards 2013/14, including downloading entry forms or how to nominate in the ‘Community Pub of the Year’ ‘Local Food Hero of the Year’ and ‘Independent Café / Tea Room of the Year’ categories, please visit the Awards website at www.northamptonshirefoodanddrink.co.uk or contact Rachel Mallows on 01933 664437 or email email@example.com
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