Food and drink heroes announced at awards dinner

Jason Atherton, Ria Chambers and Rob Purdie from category sponsors Explore Communications. NNL-141017-160617001

Jason Atherton, Ria Chambers and Rob Purdie from category sponsors Explore Communications. NNL-141017-160617001

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The finest foodies in Northamptonshire were rewarded for their efforts at the annual county Food and Drink Awards.

The winners of the 17 categories in the Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards 2014/15 were announced at an awards dinner in Derngate, Northampton last night (Thursday, Octboer 16).

The competition, founded by Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership (NEP), is now in its sixth year and celebrates 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.

Special guest was Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton.

The results were

Community Pub of the Year – Town (sponsored by Pidy UK)

Winner: The Malt Shovel Tavern, Northampton

Runner-up: The Golden Horse, Northampton

Community Pub of the Year – Rural (sponsored by Pidy UK)

Winner: The Sun Inn, Hardingstone

Runner-up: The Sun Inn, Kislingbury

Young Chef of the Year (sponsored by Booker)

Winner: Tom Croxford from Thrapston

Runner-up: Sophie Fountain of Brasserie 23 at The Kings Head, Spratton

Chef of the Year

Winner: Carl Long – formerly of Oundle Mill, Oundle

Runners-up: James Ingram of Mercedes AMG, Brixworth

and: Harvey Lockwood of Murrays at Whittlebury Hall, Whittlebury

F&B Entrepreneur of the Year (sponsored by Steven Saunders VIP Hospitality)

Winner: Tom Hewer of Tom Hewer Enterprises, Northampton

Runner-up: Alaric Neville of Phipps NBC, Northampton

Local Food Hero of the Year (sponsored by Weetabix)

Winner: Waterloo Cottage Farm, Great Oxendon

Runners-up: Hamm Tun Fine Foods, Northampton

and: Squisito Butchers and Provisions, Yelvertoft

Healthy Eating Workplace of the Year - Private Sector (sponsored by Northamptonshire County Council)

Winner: Avon Cosmetics, Northampton

Runner-up: Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains, Brixworth

Healthy Eating Workplace of the Year - Health & Education (sponsored by Northamptonshire County Council)

Winner: Corby Business Academy, Corby

Runner-up: Kettering General Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Kettering

Spice Restaurant of the Year (sponsored by British Pepper & Spice)

Winner: Exotic Dining, Kettering

Runners-up: Bengal Brasserie, Thrapston

and: The Raj, Kettering

Booker Food Pub of the Year (sponsored by Booker)

Winner: The Walnut Tree Inn, Blisworth

Runner-up: The Hopping Hare, Northampton

Restaurant of the Year (sponsored by Whitco)

Winner: Brasserie 23 at The Kings Head, Spratton

Runner-up: Franks Steakhouse, Northampton

Independent Café / Tea Room of the Year (sponsored by Explore Communications)

Winner: Ria’s Rosy Lee Tearoom, Wellingborough

Runner-up: Dreams Coffee Lounge, Northampton

New Local Product of the Year (Whitworth Bros. Ltd)

Winner: Cobblers Nibble – Hamm Tun Fine Foods, Northampton

Runner-up: Incredible Onion and Seeds Loaf – Incredible Bakery Company, Warkton

New Local Drink of the Year

Winner: Rose Hill - Vale of Welton Cider, Welton

Runner-up: Big Bang Theory – Nene Valley Brewery, Oundle

Artisan Local Savoury Product of the Year (Sponsored by Heygates Flour and Animal Feed)

Winner: Brixworth Pâté – Brixworth Foods, Brixworth

Runner-up: Potato, Leek and Stilton Pie – The Moulton Pie Company, Moulton

Artisan Local Sweet Product of the Year (sponsored by Moulton College)

Winner: Honeyed Damson Preserve – Nature’s Fayre, Thrapston

Runner-up: Dark Chocolate with Chilli – Belflair Chocolates, Thrapston

Artisan Local Drink of the Year

Winner: Harrington Sloe Gin – Warner Edwards Distillery, Harrington

Runner-up: Booze Hound – Gun Dog Ales, Woodford Halse

Jason, who as Patron of the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation kindly donated his appearance fee to aid the charity in its funding of research into finding a cure for spinal injury said: “I had the pleasure of being at the dinner in 2010 and it’s quite incredible to see how the awards have grown in stature and the prestige that they now command.

“It’s been amazing to come back to Northamptonshire and to witness firsthand the passion that the county’s producers, restaurant owners, chefs and all those here tonight have for the work that they do and I can only say well done to them all. They should feel very proud.”

Among the victors was Ria Chambers from Ria’s Rosy Lee Tearoom in Wellingborough which was named ‘Independent Café / Tea Room of the Year’ after Ria impressed the panel of judges at a Great British Bake Off-style cook-off against five other cafés at Northampton College.

She said: “I just couldn’t believe it when our name was announced and I was really shaking as I made my way up to the stage to collect my award from Jason.

“The experience of the whole competition has just been amazing and winning has topped it all so I really hope that there’ll be lots of new customers wanting to come in to enjoy our wonderful home-baked treats and join our celebrations.”

The winners were each presented with a ceramic plate, beautifully created and hand-painted by Rob Bibby of Woodnewton Pottery, and those presentations were made by Jason and the categories’ respective sponsors as well as Awards Patrons William Sitwell and Steven Saunders from Steven Saunders VIP Hospitality.

Jo Lappin, NEP Chief Executive, said: “Tonight is a celebration of everything that is fabulous about Northamptonshire’s food and drink sector industry – its vibrancy, creativity and sheer breadth of operations. The industry is worth £1.5 billion to our economy and employs some 46,000 people across Northamptonshire, bucking national trends by actually growing jobs over the past few years.”

For more details, visit the Awards’s website here