After a hugely successful 10th anniversary year, Sussex Food & Drink Awards 2017 is now open to take online nominations at www.sussexfoodawards.biz seeking the best Sussex food and drink producers and the outlets that sell and serve the best in the county.
Patron of the awards, Sally Gunnell OBE, has welcomed new sponsors ETI Ltd, Worthing-based makers of Thermapen, for Sussex Eating Experience of the Year category and Plumpton College with its butchery trailblazer apprenticeships and Brighton meat wholsesaler, RP Meats Wholesale Ltd, as co-sponsors for Sussex Butcher of the Year.
They join other loyal supporters of the awards including Harveys for Sussex Farmers Market, The Southern Co-operative for Sussex Food Producer, Spofforths and the Sussex Food & Drink Network for Sussex Newcomer and Sodexo Prestige for Sussex Young Chef of the Year. Rix & Kay has returned to sponsor Sussex Drink Producer for a second year, as has Food Rocks and Natural PR for the Sussex Street Food Category and Wealden District Council, sponsoring Sussex Food Shop of the Year. Sussex Farmer of the Year will be run in association with Farmers Weekly.
Paula Seager and Hilary Knight, co-directors of Natural Partnerships CIC, who run the awards as a not-for-profit scheme to boost the local and artisan food and drink industry, thanked all the sponsors, saying that their support and enthusiasm are crucial to the awards’ continued success.
Said Paula Seager, “Sussex Food and Drink Awards is the only awards scheme which highlights, recognises and supports Sussex farmers and producers and the businesses that sell and promote their produce. Over the last eleven years the awards have encouraged more and more people to discover and explore local markets, food shops and restaurants where they can sample the very best local produce and see for themselves why it tastes so much better.”
Everyone is welcome to nominate their favourites and businesses can also nominate themselves. Six of the categories including Sussex Food Producer, Drink Producer, Butcher, Food Shop, Farmers Market and Eating Experience, nominations will close on 8th June. All entries are reviewed by the judging panel, chaired by Sussex farmer and Nuffield Scholar William Goodwin, with a shortlist announced for public voting in July. Last year over 10,000 people voted for their foodie heroes.
Nominations for the other four categories including Sussex Newcomer, Street Food, Farmer and Young Chef of the Year will remain open until 8th September and the Grand Finalists for all ten categories will be announced in November.
All winners and runners up will go on to receive their awards in February 2017 at a BAFTA-style awards ceremony hosted by Sally Gunnell OBE and Danny Pike from BBC Sussex, including a spectacular seven-course Sussex produce banquet produced by Sodexo Prestige at the Amex Stadium.
Hilary Knight from Sussex Food & Drink Awards said, “Nominations are so important to these awards, without them a hidden jewel in the crown might just be missed, so make sure your favourite is on the list at www.sussexfoodawards.biz.”