Nominate your food heroes for the Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food and Drink awards

The awards find the best food businesses in the Northamptonshire.
The awards find the best food businesses in the Northamptonshire.
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Entries are now open for the Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food and Drink awards 2017.

Small businesses across the county can enter for free for a chance to win in one of 16 categories.

The 2017/2018 awards were launched by Dawn Farms food today (March 30).

The 2017/2018 awards were launched by Dawn Farms food today (March 30).

Members of the public can also nominate businesses and celebrate their favourite pubs and food heroes.

The awards are aimed at celebrating local produce and drink and 'reward those who work hard in the culinary sector', organisers say.

Categories include 'Spice Restaurant of the Year', the 'Weetabix Local Food Hero of the Year' award and the 'Healthy Eating Workplace of the Year' award.

All runner-ups also get free advice from the awards body about how to improve and grow their business.

The Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food & Drink Awards 2017/18 logo.

The Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food & Drink Awards 2017/18 logo.

Most Marvellous Baking, based in Kingsley, Northamptonshire, won the 2016 New Local Product of the Year Award for their 'Munchable' multiseed gluten-free crackers.

Vicky Robertson, who runs Most Marvellous Baking out of her home kitchen, said: "Winning the award has been fantastic. Even as a finalist, it was great for exposure and let me get me product out there on social media.

"I would recommend other businesses to enter it. It's free of entry and you've got nothing to lose except the hour it takes to fill in the form.

"I'm really proud of the food and drink industry we have here in Northamptonshire."

Winners and runner-ups get invited to an awards dinner at a yet-to-be-announced venue.

Jim Kay, co-owner of the current 'Booker Food Pub of the Year', The Plough, in Shutlanger, said: "Aside from having such a great night at the awards dinner itself, the resulting publicity has meant the phones have not stopped ringing for the last few months. We're taking bookings weeks in advance."

The competition was launched today (March 30) at Dawn Farms food factory, in Lodge Way, Northampton, and announced the new 'One to Watch' category for businesses less than five years old.

Awards director Rachel Mallows said: "The awards are here to celebrate what's great about Northamptonshire food and drink industry. It started nine years and it helps ensures that local businesses are celebrated, while also promoting excellence and levels of service.

The awards have opened this year with some really exciting categories. This is the ninth year of the awards and we get bigger and better every time.

"We get bigger and better every year. I think the awards carry a lot of reputation now and that 's great for the businesses who enter and even better for those that win.

"We want to support Northamptonshire's food and drink businesses and help them grow, from our town pubs to our county hotels to our artisan bakers."

This marks the ninth year the awards have been sponsored by Northampton-based brewers Carlsberg.

Andrew Roache, head of external affairs of Carlsberg, said: "Nothing beats word of mouth and when people direct others to this 'great little place I've heard about' it's fantastic for business. These awards really help raise those businesses profile.

"It's great to go into town and see the awards' logo on cafe walls or in pub windows."

Closing date for most entries is May 30, while Spice Restaurant of the Year 2017, Booker Food Pub of the Year 2017, Independent Cafe or Tea Room of the Year 2017 and Restaurant of the Year 2017 close on June 26. See the Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards website for more details.

Entry forms can be downloaded from the Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food and Drink awards website at http://northamptonshirefoodanddrink.co.uk/entry-forms/, or contact the awards team on 01933 664437.

The full list of categories this year include:

- Artisan Local Drink of the Year

- Artisan Local Savoury Product of the Year

- Artisan Local Sweet Product of the Year

- Booker Food Pub of the Year 2017

- Booker Young Chef of the Year 2017

- Chef of the Year 2017

- Community Pub of the Year 2017

- F&B Achiever of the Year 2017

- Farming Innovation Award 2017

- Healthy Eating Workplace of the Year 2017

- Healthy Eating Workplace of the Year 2017

- Independent Cafe or Tea Room of the Year 2017

- New Local Drink of the Year 2017

- One to Watch 2017

- Restaurant of the Year 2017

- Spice Restaurant of the Year 2017

- Weetabix Local Food Hero of the Year 2017