NEW categories and a new sponsor… The Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards is back for its 14th year.
The awards recognise and celebrate excellence within the Northamptonshire food and drink sector.
And this year’s competition features introduction of two debut categories: the Healthy Food and Wellbeing Award, which welcomes a fresh sponsor Delapré Abbey, and the Farming Environmental Award sponsored by Weetabix for the Weetabix Growers Group.
Weetabix is also headline sponsor of the awards for a third year – a sign of the Burton Latimer company’s commitment to the county’s flourishing food and drink sector. The breakfast giant will once again be joined by existing category sponsors Booker, British Pepper & Spice, Daily Bread, Whitco, Heygates Flour and Animal Feed, Howes Percival LLP, Moulton College and Whitworth Bros Ltd Flour Millers.
Launching the 2022-23 awards at The Falcon, Castle Ashby, Weetabix’s supply chain, procurement and technical director John Petre said: “The Farming Environment Award is an exciting new category, along with the Healthy Food and Wellbeing Award sponsored by Delapre Abbey – both of which capture the importance of sustainability.
“Weetabix is proud to once again be the headline sponsor for the Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards and we look forward to supporting the sector by celebrating the sector.”
The Farming Environmental Award aims to celebrate the work of the members of the Weetabix Growers’ Group, who provide wheat from within a 50-mile radius of the Burton Latimer site. The award will champion those farmers who are reducing the environmental impact of growing wheat, Mr Petre added.
The full details of the latest competition were revealed by awards director Rachel Mallows, including a change to the Café award, a category now named Community Café of the Year to celebrate great cafes and tea roomsooms that also support their local communities.
“We are asking our foodies of the county to buy local, shop local and eat locally and help the sector not just recover but thrive after the past two years,” Ms Mallows said.
Zak Perrin, owner and chef of The Falcon Inn at Fotheringay won a Gold award at the 2021-22 awards. “Winning Gold at the Food and Drink Awards is my proudest achievement in my career,” he said. “It has been a great thing for the business and for myself personally. It has also opened my eyes to the producers we have on our doorstep locally and a great network.”
Previous Gold award winner Simon Derrick from food manufacturer Blue Skies said: “I have always been aware of a strong food and drink sector in Northamptonshire but I do not think I was ever aware of just how much is here.
“You really get a sense of the passion, enthusiasm and the skills, whether it is the restaurants, food producers, or local pubs. The enthusiasts you have around food and drink in this county is amazing and I think we need to do more to celebrate that and to champion it across the county and further afield.”
The free-to-enter categories in this year’s Awards (with their respective sponsors) are:
Artisan Local Drink of the Year
Artisan Local Product of the Year (Heygates Flour and Animal Feed)
Artisan Local Vegetarian / Vegan Product of the Year (Daily Bread)
Booker Dining Venue of the Year (Booker)
Booker Young Chef of the Year (Booker)
Community Café of the Year (Supported by The Good Loaf)
Farming Environment Award (Weetabix Growers Group)
F&B Achiever of the Year (Howes Percival LLP)
Food and Drink College Student of the Year
Healthy Food and Wellbeing Award (Delapré Abbey)
Local Food Hero of the Year (Moulton College)
One To Watch (Whitworth Bros. Ltd Flour Millers)
Weetabix Sustainability Award (Weetabix)
Whitco Chef of the Year (Whitco)
World Cuisine Restaurant of the Year (British Pepper & Spice)
The Gold, Silver and Bronze award recipients will be announced at the Awards ceremony on October 20 at The Royal & Derngate Theatre in Northampton.
For more details on all the categories in the Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards 2022/23, including downloading entry and nomination forms, visit www.northamptonshirefoodanddrink.co.uk, email or call Sophie on 01933 664437. Follow the Awards on Facebook at @foodawards or Twitter and Instagram at @foodawardsHQ or on LinkedIn at @weetabixnfadawards