Nominations open for 2016 Sussex Food and Drink Awards

Patron of the Sussex Food and Drink Awards, Sally Gunnell OBE
In celebration of its tenth birthday, the prestigious Sussex Food & Drink Awards has added two new categories to the competition this year, Sussex Street Food and Sussex Newcomer of the Year and public nominations are now open to find the top ten Sussex favourites at www.sussexfoodawards.biz

Thanks to two new sponsors, Food Rocks and Hepworth Brewery the latest gourmet trend of ‘street food’ to hit the Sussex scene can finally be given the recognition it deserves. The county is bursting with passionate chefs preparing incredible dishes of every imaginable cuisine, using local, seasonal ingredients and serving them in style from converted vintage trucks and bespoke stalls.

Said Simon Teesdale of Food Rocks, “Street Food has come a long way in the past few years and we are really excited to be sponsoring this brand new category in the tenth year of these fantastic awards.

“We will be highlighting the awards and offering people the opportunity to nominate their favourites at the South of England Food & Drink festival on 24 May, which is the perfect place to come along and sample some of the hidden treasures that Sussex has to offer.”

The Sussex Food and Drink Awards are the only awards that highlight, recognise and support Sussex farmers and producers and the businesses that sell and promote their produce. Over the last ten years the awards have encouraged more and more people to discover and explore local markets and food shops where they can sample the very best local produce and see for themselves why it tastes so much better.

It therefore seems fitting that the other new category for 2016 is Sussex Newcomer of the Year, sponsored by Spofforths and Natural Partnerships CIC. Judges will be seeking out the best young businesses, operating for no longer than three years by the end 2015, across the food and drink industry.

More new sponsors have stepped up to the plate for the awards this year in the form of Rix & Kay Solicitors for Sussex Drink Producer of the Year and Wealden District Council for Sussex Food Shop of the Year.

Sussex Food Producer of the Year will once again be sponsored by The Southern Co-operative; Sussex Farmers Market of the Year by Harveys Brewery; Sussex Butcher of the Year by Absolute Butchery and Sodexo Prestige will be sponsoring the Sussex Young Chef of the Year category for the third year running.

The plough to plate story will also continue this year with both the Sussex Farmer of the Year and Sussex Eating Experience of the Year categories taking their place in the line up.

Paula Seager and Hilary Knight, co-directors of Natural Partnerships CIC, who run the awards as a not-for-profit scheme, thanked all the sponsors, saying that the support and enthusiasm received from them are crucial to the awards’ continued success and the last ten years simply would not have been possible without them.

Business owners can nominate themselves or their customers can nominate, with all entries reviewed by the judging panel, chaired by leading Sussex dairy farmer William Goodwin, and a shortlist for most of the categories will be announced for public voting in July. Last year 10,000 people voted for their foodie heroes.

Winners and runners up will go on to receive their awards in January 2016 at a glittering tenth birthday 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.

Without a nomination, a hidden jewel in the crown might just be missed, so ensure your favourite is on the list at www.sussexfoodawards.biz