Former Olympian Sally Gunnell OBE launched the Sussex Food & Drink Awards at the South of England Show VIP opening breakfast on 7th June 2012, revealing the 75 finalists in this year’s awards and declaring public voting open.
She posed with Sussex children representing local sporting achievement and highlighted how important it is to eat fresh, locally-grown food to achieve the best health and physical performance.
 
Said Clive Beddall OBE, chairman of the judges for the Sussex Food & Drink Awards: “We can justifiably boast that we have some of the country’s best food and drink producers here in Sussex and our farmers, producers and sellers work hard to provide and promote high quality local produce to their local communities.”
Over a hundred leading lights in the agricultural, food and farming community enjoyed ‘Eggs Jubilee’, specially created by Paul Peach of the Horse Guards Inn at Tillington, who is the reigning Sussex Young Chef of the Year, followed by interesting debate around the topic of food sustainability and sport.
Speakers on the panel included Sally Gunnell OBE; Clive Beddall OBE; Nick Hempleman, the current winner of Best Sussex Food/Farm Shop; and Gwyn Jones, former VP of the NFU, chaired by David Allam, High Sherriff of East Sussex and Member of the South of England Agricultural Society.  
Voting is now open for the public to choose their favourites from the Sussex Food & Drink Awards 2012/13 finalists list, either online or through SMS text voting, with all details at www.sussexfoodawards.biz. Voting closes at midnight on October 14 and winners will be revealed at the awards dinner in January 2013.
The finalists are:
Sussex Farmer of the Year Award sponsored by Knill James:
Sir Sebastian Anstruther, the Barlavington Estate, Petworth
Michael Browing and Sarah Wareham, Tottingworth Farm, Heathfield
John & Alison Ford, Priors Byne Farm, Partridge Green
Harry Goring, the Wiston Estate, Steyning
Tim and Charles Harrison, R Harrisons & Sons, Rudgwick
Chris, Caroline and Robert Hodgkins, Locks Farm, Washington
Martin and Gundrada Hole, Montague Farm, Pevensey
Phil and Steve Hook, Longleys Farm, Hailsham (last year’s winners)
John Robinson, J & H Robinson (Iford Farms), Iford
Tom Tupper, Bignor Farm, Bignor
Best Sussex Food Producer sponsored by The Southern Co-operative
Bangers Galore, Horsham
Besmoke, Arundel
Caroline’s Dairy, Sidlesham
Chocoholly, Brighton
Ginger’s Kitchen, Partridge Green
Goodwood Home Farm, Goodwood
High Weald Dairy, Horsted Keynes
Just Brownies, Partridge Green
Piglets Pantry, Worthing
Prosperity Brownies, Lancing
Best Sussex Eating Experience sponsored by Mayo Wynne Baxter
The Cat, West Hoathly
The Coach and Horses, Danehill
The Foragers, Hove
Ockenden Manor, Cuckfield
The Ram Inn, Firle
Simply Delicious, Bognor Regis
Stanmer House, Brighton
Tottington Manor, Edburton
Wabi, Horsham
Wessons Café, Horam
Best Sussex Farmers Market sponsored by Harveys
Arundel Farmers Market
Chichester Farmers Market
Lewes Farmers Market
Rye Farmers Market
Shoreham Farmers Market
Steyning Farmers Market
Sussex Butcher of the Year sponsored by Natural Farms
Archers, Westfield
Bramptons Butchers, Brighton
Canham and Sons, Hove
Clive Miller, Hurstpierpoint
John Murray, Loxwood
Meads Village Butchers, Eastbourne
New Street Butchers, Horsham
Frank Richards & Sons, Lewes
S K Hutchings, Partridge Green
Westdene Butchers, Brighton
Sussex Young Chef of the Year sponsored by Gram (UK) Ltd and Cheese Please
Blake Chrysanthou, Sam’s of Brighton
Charlie Miles, The Gingerman, Brighton
Charlie Tayler, South Lodge Hotel, Horsham
Jimmy Gray, Jeremy’s Restaurant, Borde Hill
Jonathon Wheatland, Ardington Hotel, Worthing
Paul Peach, The Horse Guards Inn, Tillington 
Ryan Hunter, Wingrove House, Alfriston
Steven Pelling, Felbridge Hotel, East Grinstead
Tom Goodchild, The Crabtree Inn, Lower Beeding  
Sussex Drink Producer of the Year sponsored by Natural PR
Bolney Wine Estate, Bolney
Court Garden Vineyard, Ditchling
Dark Star Brewery, Partridge Green
Gran Stead’s, Brighton 
Hepworths Brewery, Horsham
Ridgeview Wine Estate, Ditchling
Ringden Farm Apple Juice, Etchingham
Stopham Vineyard, Pulborough
W J King Brewery, Horsham
Wobblegate, Bolney
Best Sussex Food/Farm Shop sponsored by the Sussex Food & Drink Network
Cowdray Farm Shop, Midhurst
Holmansbridge Farm Shop, Barcombe
The Hungry Guest, Petworth
Lodsworth Larder, Lodsworth
Plaw Hatch Farm Shop, Sharpthorne
Rushfields Farm Shop, Poynings
Sharnfold Farm Shop, Pevensey
The Sussex Produce Company, Steyning
Veasey & Sons Fishmongers, Forest Row
The Village Larder, Washington