Celebrations as Grand Finalists announced

Patron of the Sussex Food and Drink Awards, Sally Gunnell OBE
The Grand Finalists in the Sussex Food & Drink Awards 2015/16 have been revealed this week, following an eight-month intensive process, including several phases of expert judging and the verification of over 10,000 votes from members of the public.

These inspirational Sussex food and drink heroes can now look forward to an exciting night of celebrations at ‘the Sussex Foodie event of the year’, the spectacular Sussex Food and Drink Awards Banquet on 28 January at the Amex Stadium, hosted by Sally Gunnell OBE and BBC’s Danny Pike.

Celebrating its tenth year, the awards are all about supporting and boosting local farmers, food and drink producers and the outlets that use and sell this superb local fare. Starting from small beginnings, the awards have grown to become prestigious and respected, with huge support from business in the county, bringing together the whole local food and farming community.

Sussex farmer and Nuffield scholar, William Goodwin, who is chairman of the judges, said: “Over the last ten years the awards have encouraged more and more people to discover and explore local Sussex markets, food shops and restaurants where they can sample the very best local produce and see for themselves why it tastes so much better.

“It is so exciting to see the growth across the region which has really delivered Sussex as one of the leading counties in the UK for producing superb food and drink. This year’s Grand Finalists line up offers an impressive range of first class, diverse businesses and individuals, 19 from West Sussex, eight from East Sussex and three from Brighton, and we are so proud of everyone who has made it through to this final stage in the competition.”

All the winners and runners up will be revealed and receive their trophies at the glittering tenth birthday ceremony on 28 January 2016, hosted by patron to the awards, Sally Gunnell OBE and Danny Pike from BBC Sussex. Tickets are now on sale for this very special awards ceremony, which includes a spectacular seven-course Sussex produce banquet created by Sodexo Prestige at the Amex Stadium.

The three grand finalists in each of the ten awards categories, strictly in alphabetical order, are:

Sussex Food Producer of the Year, sponsored by The Southern Co-operative
Higgidy, Shoreham-by-sea, West Sussex
Springs Smoked Salmon, Edburton, West Sussex
The Traditional Cheese Dairy, Stonegate, East Sussex

Sussex Drink Producer of the Year, sponsored by Rix & Kay
Dark Star Brewing Co Ltd, Partridge Green, West Sussex
Nutbourne Vineyards, Pulborough, West Sussex
Ridgeview Wine Estate, Ditchling Common, East Sussex

Sussex Food Shop of the Year, sponsored by Wealden District Council
Charlie’s Farm Shop, Bury, West Sussex
Rushfields Farm Shop, Poynings, West Sussex
Sharnfold Farm Shop, Stone Cross, East Sussex

Sussex Butcher of the Year, sponsored by Absolute Butchery
A C Coughtrey Butchers, Pulborough, West Sussex
Barfields Butchers, Brighton
S K Hutchings, Partridge Green, West Sussex

Sussex Farmers Market of the Year, sponsored by Harveys of Lewes
Horsham Local Produce Market, West Sussex
Lewes Farmers Market, East Sussex
Shoreham Farmers Market, West Sussex

Sussex Eating Experience of the Year, co-sponsored by Natural PR and Sussex Food & Drink Network
The Cat Inn, West Hoathly, West Sussex
The Curlew Restaurant, Bodiam, East Sussex
The Sussex Ox, Polegate, East Sussex

Sussex Newcomer of the Year, sponsored by Spofforths
Coggings & Co, Brighton
Eggs to Apples, Hurst Green, East Sussex
Etch Food, Billingshurst, West Sussex

Sussex Farmer of the Year, in partnership with Farmers Weekly
Charlie and Sarah Hughes, Southview Farm, Pulborough, West Sussex
Julia and Simon Feakes, Sussex Lamb, Horsham, West Sussex
Tim and Rupert Hoare, Adsdean Farm, Funtingdon, West Sussex

Previously announced, Sussex Street Food Vendor of the Year, co-sponsored by Food Rocks and Hepworth Brewery
Boca Loco, Arundel, West Sussex
Jah Jyot, Southwater, West Sussex
The Trolls Pantry, Brighton

Previously announced, Sussex Young Chef of the Year, sponsored by Sodexo Prestige
Michael Sutherland, The Sussex Ox, Polegate, East Sussex
Ryan Tomkinson, The Pass, Lower Beeding, West Sussex
Stephanie Hayward, Ockenden Manor, Cuckfield, West Sussex

For more information about the awards and ticket sales go to www.sussexfoodawards.biz