The team behind the Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards is delighted to announce that the competition has been launched for its sixth year – and it’s bigger and better than ever.
The Awards, devised by 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, Explore Communications, Pidy UK, Steven Saunders VIP Hospitality, Whitco and Whitworth Bros Ltd and the addition of two new sponsors – Weetabix and Northamptonshire County Council – the competition has yet again expanded to an impressive 16 categories - those being:
‘Artisan Local Savoury Product of the Year’ – sponsored by Heygates Flour and Animal Feed with BBC Radio Northampton
‘Artisan Local Sweet Product of the Year’ – with BBC Radio Northampton
‘Artisan Local Drink of the Year’ – with BBC Radio Northampton
‘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
‘Booker Food Pub of the Year’ – sponsored by Booker with Great Food Club
‘Restaurant of the Year’ – sponsored by Whitco with Business Times
‘Spice Restaurant of the Year’ – sponsored by British Pepper & Spice in conjunction with
Northampton College and with WOW Magazine
‘Independent Café / Tea Room of the Year’ – sponsored by Explore Communications Ltd
‘Chef of the Year’ – with Northants Herald & Post
‘Young Chef of the Year’ – sponsored by Booker with Northants Herald & Post
‘Community Pub of the Year - Town’ – sponsored by Pidy UK with the Chronicle & Echo
and Northamptonshire Telegraph
‘Community Pub of the Year - Rural’ – sponsored by Pidy UK with the Chronicle & Echo and Northamptonshire Telegraph
‘Local Food Hero of the Year’ – sponsored by Weetabix with Northamptonshire CPRE (Campaign to Protect Rural England) and with
‘Healthy Eating Workplace of the Year’ – sponsored by Northamptonshire County Council
‘F&B Entrepreneur of the Year’ – sponsored by Steven Saunders VIP Hospitality
Crucial to Northamptonshire's economy
The details of the competition were revealed at the launch at Weetabix’s Burton Latimer headquarters (Friday 28th February) by NEP’s Chief Executive, Jo Lappin. Speaking before an audience made up of last year’s winners, sponsors, judges and competition partners, she explained the importance of the awards in recognising the important role that the sector plays in the county: “The food and drink sector is crucial to Northamptonshire’s economy, contributing £1.5 billion per year and providing employment to over 50,000 people.
"The Awards provide us with the opportunity to recognise the sector’s contribution by bringing together talented people from a broad range of businesses to celebrate the outstanding achievement that they have made. They also promote the sector as a great place to build a career.”
Meanwhile Weetabix’s Head of Procurement, Anthony Bowdidge, gave an insight into why the company is getting involved: “We are delighted to be supporting this year’s awards and to be hosting the launch. As a company, we are very proud of our Northamptonshire roots and in particular our commitment to sourcing our wheat within 50-miles, thereby supporting our local farmers.
“These awards present the perfect opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to the county and the depth and prosperity of the sector.”
A real dream come true
Among those present was Laura Gibbins of The World’s End at Ecton who won last year’s ‘Young Chef of the Year’ title and, thanks to category sponsor Booker, spent the day alongside her lifelong idol Michel Roux Jnr in the kitchens of his London restaurant. She spoke of what that day meant to her and for her career: “Going behind the scenes at Le Gavroche was just the most amazing experience and a real dream come true,” revealed Laura. “My favourite part, aside from meeting Michel himself of course, was watching the chefs in action and seeing how brilliantly they worked as a team to bring everything together to perfection.
“I also got the opportunity to do a bit of taste-testing, which was pretty special and it’s really opened my eyes to what I might achieve with hard work and dedication! I wouldn’t have experienced any of that without winning the award so it’s been very inspirational.”
Finally, the Awards’ Director, Rachel Mallows of The Mallows Company, thanked those who have enabled the expansion of the competition and revealed how that can only help to further the excellence of the sector: “We’re really excited to be able to update the categories and introduce some new ones this year as we know that means we’ll be able to encourage a greater number and variety of businesses to get involved and give them a chance to share in that success.”
“We’re also very keen to hear from those who want to make their recommendations and nominations, whether it’s for their favourite pub or tea room, or to tell us that they’re workplace has a great healthy eating offering. Indeed anyone can play their part by getting in touch with us and help this to be the best year yet!”
To set taste buds watering, guests were able to tuck into some of the breakfast company’s more traditional cereals including their eponymous biscuit, Weetos and Alpen as well as sample its newest offering, its range of ‘On The Go’ breakfast drinks.
Following the speeches, they were also treated to a tour of one of the Weetabix production facilities to watch the creation of the biscuit from start to finish, everything from seeing it take shape at the moulding tables to being cooked and dried, batched and wrapped and finally making its way to the packaging hall.
For more details on all 16 categories in the Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards 2014/15, including downloading entry forms or how to nominate in the ‘Community Pub’, ‘Local Food Hero’, ‘Independent Café / Tea Room’, ‘Healthy Eating Workplace’ and ‘F&B Entrepreneur 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
You can also follow the Awards on twitter at @foodawardsHQ or on Facebook at facebook.com/foodawards
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