These prestigious awards are now in there 12th year and celebrate all that is great and good in the British Food and Farming industry, I was lucky enough to be invited to the reception and presentation of the awards at the NEC Birmingham during the BBC Good Food Show at the end of November.
After a puncture & seemingly endless fight against the tide of the M6 motorway we arrived at the NEC and conducted a whirlwind tour of the stands at the show before heading to the super-theatre to enjoy the awards presentation and hospitality. My initial impression of the BBC Good Food Show was how incredibly commercial it appeared to have become, with lots of big brands in attendance and less of the more interesting small artisan producers, a sign of the cost of attending me thinks. I was also surprised to notice how dedicated some of the visitors have become, arriving with shopping buggies and trolleys to ease the burden of all those purchases! They even sell BBC Good Food Show shopping trolleys!
BBC Food & Farming Awards – The Winners
Best Producer category: Too tight to call therefore Joint Winners, Westcombe Dairy – Tom Calver, who produces a traditional cloth-bound cheddar cheese, described by the judges as “like eating a slice of the Somerset landscape”; and The Pump Street Bakery – father and daughter team Chris and Joanna Brennan.
Best Takeaway or Streetfood: Moroccan Soup Stand, Mohammed and Ibrahim Sitari, cooking soups, tagines and great street food out of a trailer parked on Golborne Road, west London. Great Merguez sausage in fresh tomato sauce!
Best Food Market: Sutton Bonington Farmers’ Market, University of Nottingham a group of students set up their own farmers’ market, with great producers, inside a university’s grounds.
Best Drinks Producer: Once Upon A Tree, Ledbury, Herefordshire.
The Radio 4 “You And Yours” Best Local Food Retailer: Eurospar, Dolgellau
Best Public Caterer: Excelsior Academy, Newcastle upon Tyne
Best Big Food Idea: Growing Communities, Hackney, East London
BBC Farmer Of The Year: Guy Watson, Riverford Organics, Buckfastleigh, Devon
The Derek Cooper Special Award: Mike Duckett for twenty years improving food served in the Royal Brompton Hospital. Hopefully his experience can be rolled out across the NHS.
Arthur Potts Dawson, chef and of Peoples Supermarket fame cooked up some great regional food for the reception, the buffet tables were split by British geographic region so we had some fantastic eclectic mixes of food. I didn’t get to try everything as much as I tried! but my favourites were the delicious shin of beef ragu and the spicy Shalham Gosht washed down with The Kernel IPA.
South East Table: Moroccan Murgehr Sausages with a fresh tomato sauce, Pork Balchao with green apple curry from Inder’s Kitchen, Cambridge, Shalham Gosht, a Kashmir dish with diced lamb, shallots & turnips in a tomato paste and breads from Pump Street Bakery.
South West Table: Cornish Coppa di Parma with fresh horseradish, crème fraiche, capers and warm salad potatoes. Candy Beetroot Salad with aged unpasteurised Westcombe Cheddar & Gwenen Apiaries honey dressing. Cornish shin of beef ragu with smashed parsnips and mustard mayonnaise. Westcombe Dairy Cheeses, Westcombe unpasteurised Mature Cheddar, Ducketts Caerphilly. Freshly baked breads from Emma’s Bread of The Real Food Store, Exeter.
Midlands: Melton Mowbray pork pies with plum chutney. Smoked mackerel with golden beetroot and horseradish. Cropwell Bishop Stilton, Sparenhoe Red Leicester. Bread from Hambleton Bakery.
Wales: Porthgain crab cakes with lobster tail and melted chilli butter. Roasted shoulder of Welsh lamb with roasted vegetables. Local cheeses and freshly baked breads provided by Eurospar, Dolgellau.
Desserts: Didn’t see many of the desserts but the light pastry Eccles Cakes were divine and these chocolates from the Bittersweet chocolate company superb, chilli & lime.
The Kernel IPA (C.S.C.) [Centennial, Simcoe, Chinook] 7.1% abv. American hops meet English malt. Burnished golden colour. Aromas of tropical fruits, hints of grass. The sweetness of the malt gives them the impression of fruit salad on the palate, juicy, then followed up with a big bitterness, with some pepper and spice.
The Kernel Export Stout (1890 London) 7.8% abv, Based on a recipe from a London Brewery in 1890.
Simple recipe massive taste. Dark, dark black. Oily texture. Loads of rich dried fruit and alcohol warmth rum and raisin. Then a herbal hop bitterness on top of huge lingering espresso. Hints of leather, tar, smoke, vanilla and chocolate. Roasty.
The Kernel TABLE BEER, 3.2%
Once upon a Tree, apple juice, 0.0%
You can listen to the Awards online or download the podcast.
Judges: This year’s judging panel was chaired by Angela Hartnett – chef, restaurateur and broadcaster – and features: Arthur Potts-Dawson – chef, restaurateur and food writer; Adam Henson, farmer and broadcaster; Kath Dalmeny – Policy Director, Sustain, the alliance for better food and farming; Valentine Warner, food writer and broadcaster; Charles Campion, food writer; Pete Brown, beer and cider expert and author of numerous books on British drinks; Victoria Moore, wine writer for The Telegraph; Dr Helen Crawley, public health nutritionist and Director of the Caroline Walker Trust; Christine Tacon, MBE, former head of Co-operative Farms; Simon Parkes, food journalist, broadcaster and former Michelin inspector; and Sheila Dillon, food journalist and presenter of Radio 4’s The Food Programme.