Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards: ‘Second course’ winners announced

Winners of the ‘Local Food Hero of the Year’, ‘Chef of the Year’ and ‘Booker Young Chef of the Year’ were announced in an online virtual ceremony on Tuesday evening.

By Megan Hillery
Thursday, 25th February 2021, 7:37 pm
Kenny Markham gets to grips with his cook-off ingredients.
Kenny Markham gets to grips with his cook-off ingredients.

The long-awaited ‘second course’ of the Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards took place on Tuesday evening with winners announced across three further categories.

The competition celebrates all that is great about local produce and drink, recognising excellence within the county’s culinary sector and those who ensure its continuing success, particularly in the current challenging circumstances.

The winners of six of the award’s categories were announced in the ‘first course’ back in November. The ‘second course’ took place on Tuesday evening this week in an online virtual awards ceremony.

Judge Christian Day watches Hibiscus Chef, Samuel Squires, in action

Weetabix Marketing Director, Francesca Theokli, said: “At Weetabix we have a very strong focus on our people, because we know that people make the difference and this has been a year more than any other in which the character of the people who feed the nation has shone through.

“The dedication that has been on display day in, day out through the past year has been truly inspiring and it’s fair to say that the nation owes a debt of gratitude to you all.”

The results in presentation order are as follows:

Local Food Hero of the Year (sponsored by Northampton College):

GOLD: The Plough at Shutlanger, Shutlanger

SILVER: The Fox and Hounds, Whittlebury

BRONZE: Elliott Family of Noborough Lodge Farm Shop, Norton

BRONZE: Hamm Tun Fine Foods Deli, Long Buckby

Chef of the Year (sponsored by Dawn Farms):

GOLD: Samuel Squires – Restaurant Hibiscus, Northampton

SILVER: Zak Perrin – The Falcon, Fotheringhay

BRONZE: Jim Millar – The Willow and Brook, Apethorpe

BRONZE: Michael O’Gorman – Side Order Catering, Wellingborough

Booker Young Chef of the Year (sponsored by Booker):

GOLD: Kenny Markham – Burnt Lemon Chefs, Woodford

SILVER: Louis Scott – Stanford-on-Avon

SILVER: David Arthur Smith – The Palmichael, Burton Latimer

BRONZE: Austin Howsam – The Spencer Arms, Chapel Brampton / Cheeky Chomp, Northampton

Among those celebrating is one of Northampton’s Burnt Lemon Chefs, Kenny Markham, who was surprised when finding out he achieved the top spot in ‘Booker Young Chef of the Year’ after competing for the prestigious culinary title twice in the past.

Mr Markham said: “I’m genuinely shocked but very happy to have won as I really only entered again for the experience, so to take the gold at last is fantastic!

“I have met some great chefs of my age and made some positive connections through the awards while -perhaps even more importantly - I learnt so much from the amazing judges who were part of the cook-offs in the previous years I took part.

“I’ve taken on their feedback to really progress and improve my skills, so I feel that the competition has helped me to become a better chef and I guess this proves it!”

Booker’s catering development controller, Nathan Portess, said that the company is “proud” to be supporting Northamptonshire’s rising culinary talent by sponsoring the ‘Young Chef of the Year’ category once again.

He said: “However tough the challenges being faced by the sector currently are, Booker is here to help and support all chefs and the advanced skills by all four finalists at the cook-off suggest that the future of food and drink in the county is in very safe hands.

“It is also fantastic that our winner was a former finalist and indeed runner-up last year, which just goes to show that this is a title worth fighting for and one which we hope will help to act as a great springboard to Kenny for a successful career ahead.”

The results of the remaining categories will be announced at the ‘third course’ of the awards celebration on Wednesday, March 17. These categories are ‘Food and Drink College Student of the Year’, ‘Booker Dining Venue of the Year’ and ‘World Cuisine Restaurant of the Year’.

The full list of the first and second course results and details of the remaining category finalists can be found on the Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards website. Videos of the first and second courses can be found on YouTube.Further details on how you can virtually attend the ‘third course’ of the awards can be found by following the Awards on Facebook at @foodawards or Twitter and Instagram at @foodawardsHQ or on LinkedIn at @weetabixnfadawards.