Success in Sussex as food and drink heroes crowned winners

Sussex Food and Drinks Awards 2015 at the AMEX.

Celebrations were in full flow on Thursday 29th January 2015 at the ninth Sussex Food & Drink Awards ceremony, where Sussex’s top food and drink producers were hailed as local heroes as they received their trophies at the Amex Stadium in Brighton.

Hosted by awards patron, Sally Gunnell OBE DL and Danny Pike of BBC Sussex, the evening was a sell out, with over 350 leaders in the food, drink and farming industry gathering for what is now dubbed as ‘the Sussex foodie event of the year’.  Guests were treated to a wonderful ‘Sussex bubbly reception’, sponsored by Harveys and Carr Taylor, followed by a stunning seven-course banquet created by stadium caterers, Sodexo Prestige, using top local ingredients supplied by various local businesses.

The awards are all about supporting and boosting local farmers, food and drink producers and the outlets which use and sell superb local fare. Starting from small beginnings, the awards have grown to become prestigious and respected, attracting 10,000 votes from members of the public this year and huge support from business in the county, bringing together the whole local food and farming community.

Said Sally Gunnell OBE DL, “This is my third year as patron for the Sussex Food & Drink Awards and yet again we have been treated to another impressive line up of winners and runners up. As a farmer’s daughter, I am a huge advocate of eating fresh, local food as well as supporting your community and these awards do exactly that. They raise awareness throughout the year and offer the opportunity to celebrate Sussex’s innovative, imaginative, sustainable and delicious food and drink producers.”

Former Sussex Young Chef of the Year and MasterChef Professional Champion, Steven Edwards, attended the awards ceremony and was absolutely delighted for fellow chef from South Lodge Hotel, Tim Sheed who won this year’s Sussex Young Chef of the Year category. “I’m delighted for Tim, he’s such a talented young chef and has an exciting future ahead of him. These awards continue to champion the very best in Sussex food and drink and gives us all an opportunity to come together once a year and really celebrate the best from across the county.”

The awards scheme is run by Natural Partnerships Community Interest Company (CIC), co-directed by Hilary Knight of the Sussex Food & Drink Network and Paula Seager, Managing Director of Natural PR Ltd, with support from a loyal and high ranking group of sponsor judges along with independent chairman of judges and prominent Sussex farmer, William Goodwin.

Said Paula Seager, “We are proud of the Sussex Food & Drink Awards and want to wish our winners, grand finalists and finalists this year our warmest congratulations. We would also like to thank our patron Sally Gunnell OBE DL and our sponsors, judges and media partners, who all share a vital role in making these awards a success.”

Sussex Food & Drink Awards 2014/15 Winners are:

Sussex Drink Producer of the Year, sponsored by Sussex Food & Drink Network

Winner – Wobblegate, Bolney, West Sussex

Runners up – Highdown Vineyard, Ferring, West Sussex and

Langham Brewery, Lodsworth, Petworth, West Sussex

Sussex Food Shop of the Year, sponsored by Veasey & Sons and Cheese Please

Winner – Rushfields Farm Shop, Poynings, West Sussex

Runners up – Charlie’s Farm Shop, Bury, nr Pulborough, West Sussex and

Tablehurst Farm Shop, Forest Row, East Sussex

Sussex Butcher of the Year, sponsored by Absolute Butchery

Winner – A C Coughtrey, Pulborough, West Sussex

Runners up – Bramptons Butchers, Kemptown, Brighton & Hove and

Leppards Family Butchers, Mayfield, East Sussex

Sussex Farmers Market of the Year, sponsored by Harveys Brewery

Winner – Steyning Farmers Market, West Sussex

Runners up – Horsham Local Produce Market, West Sussex and

Lewes Farmers Market, East Sussex

Sussex Eating Experience, sponsored by Natural PR

Winner – The Curlew, Bodiam, East Sussex

Runners up – Coach & Horses, Danehill, East Sussex and

Zari’s Restaurant & Lounge, Crawley, West Sussex

Sussex Young Chef of the Year, sponsored by Sodexo Prestige

Winner – Tim Sheed, The Pass, South Lodge Hotel, Lower Beeding, West Sussex

Runners up – Dan Cotton, The Crabtree, Lower Beeding, West Sussex and

Ryan Tomkinson, East Sussex National, Little Horsted, East Sussex

Sussex Farmer of the Year, sponsored by Spofforths Chartered Accountants

Winner – Tim Hassell, Goodwood Home Farm, Goodwood, West Sussex

Runners up – Charlie Hughes, Southview Farm Dairy and

The Goring family, Wiston Estate, Washington, West Sussex

Sussex Food Producer of the Year, sponsored by The Southern Co-operative

Winner – Cocoa Loco, West Grinstead, West Sussex –

Runners up – Caroline’s Dairy, Sidlesham, West Sussex and

Nell Ball Farm Foods Ltd, Plaistow, West Sussex

Over £2000 was raised for Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice through a prize raffle for a 20-piece classic knife set donated by Flint and Flame during the evening.

MORE DETAILS ON THE WINNERS: 

Sussex Drink Producer of the Year, sponsored by Sussex Food & Drink Network

The three grand finalists this year bring together all that is great about Sussex representing the brewers, vineyards and producers of non-alcoholic drinks across the county.

Wobblegate

Wobblegate is a young, fruity company and their ethos is to make quality, fun, pure, and natural drinks in a responsible and sustainable way, for all to enjoy. They work closely with other fruit farms across the Sussex region, to locally source different fruits and varieties that they don’t grow themselves. Their stunning growth and continuous innovation, developing new flavours, a quality brand and a successful new range of ciders put them at the very top of their game in Sussex and they are a deserved winner this year! www.wobblegate.co.uk

Sussex Food Shop of the Year, sponsored by Veasey & Sons and Cheese Please

Looking for an excellent food outlet that is creative in its approach to customers, offers a good range of local produce and has business principles that support local produce.

Rushfields Farm Shop

Rushfields Farm Shop is located at Poynings in the South Downs National Park and is run by the Langridge family within their thriving garden centre. Since opening in 2010, Rushfields has focused on sourcing its produce from Sussex using over 30 local suppliers and its beef, pork and lamb all come from within 15 miles. The farm shop has its own butchers, deli and pie counter and their award-winning pies and sausages are made in their own kitchens using local produce. What impressed the judges most was their innovation and commitment to continuous improvement. www.rushfields.com/farm-shop

Sussex Butcher of the Year, sponsored by Absolute Butchery

Looking for a top quality butchers shop, which offers a good range of locally reared meat and gives that little bit extra in terms of quality and service.

A C Coughtrey

A C Coughtrey butchers’ shop is in Stane Street in Pulborough and they have served their customers for over 25 years. The judges commended them on their wide range of locally produced meats, with knowledgeable staff and a clear demonstration to customers of where their produce is sourced from. Seasonal game is always available and a plentiful selection of sausages and barbecue meats awaits, as well as delicious sauces and chutneys. Excellent butchers with real quality running through all they do. www.accoughtrey.co.uk

Sussex Farmers Market of the Year, sponsored by Harveys Brewery

Looking for a farmers market that sells an exciting range of local produce and offers an experience which shoppers, producers and stallholders really enjoy.

Steyning Farmers Market

Judges described Steyning Farmers Market as having a fun and friendly atmosphere with real community spirit and an excellent range of local produce stalls, making visiting the market both enjoyable and a good shopping experience. Started by local farmers over 15 years ago, this delightful farmers market is well attended by locals but also draws visitors to the village high street, offering musical entertainment, cooking demonstrations and competitions and community support for local charities. Over 30 stalls of local produce offer shoppers a real taste of the local South Downs. www.steyningchamber.co.uk

Sussex Eating Experience, sponsored by Natural PR

Looking for a restaurant, pub or café that offers an exceptionally enjoyable eating experience whilst promoting and using local ingredients.

The Curlew

In a previous life The Curlew Restaurant at Bodiam, East Sussex was a Coaching Inn where travellers rested their weary, mustachioed heads and warmed their spirits while on rain-sodden route from Hastings to London. But now, Mark and Sara Colley have given The Curlew anotherlife, winning their first Michelin Star in 2011. It is a place where formal food meets informal dining, where the city and country brush shoulders and style meets stile. Judges were wowed by their stylish and delicious modern British food, using superb local ingredients, working with the seasons and served in a comfortable and relaxed environment. They offer something that really stands out in Sussex. www.thecurlewrestaurant.co.uk

Sussex Young Chef of the Year, sponsored by Sodexo Prestige

Looking for a young chef aged between 16-25yrs and working or studying in Sussex. Judging is based on the preparation and presentation of a locally sourced menu showing creativity, flair and future potential to succeed at the highest level.

Tim Sheed

Known for his methodical, reliable and precise approach, Tim Sheed from South Lodge Hotel in Lower Beeding certainly gave 100% in the finalists cook off with his mackerel, celery and watercress starter, venison and pear main course and delicious figs cooked inbeer with honey to finish. He has been working in The Pass at the South Lodge Hotel for just over a year and has shown himself to be the best chef de partie in the kitchen. www.southlodgehotel.co.uk

Sussex Farmer of the Year, sponsored by Spofforths Chartered Accountants

Looking for Sussex farmers who find innovative ways to bring produce to market, while contributing to the economic and sustainable management of the countryside.

Tim Hassell, Goodwood Home Farm

The farm nestles at the foot of the Sussex Downs and has soil which is ideal for the barley, used to brew their own ale and lager, and for the grazing of sheep and beef cattle. Their arable acreage provides their animals with organically grown cereals to balance home grown forage in the winter months. Crops are grown in rotation, helping prevent disease and maximising the soil’s nutrients. Their produce, including meat, milk, cheese and cured ham is sold in their own farm shop, across the estate and further. Tim manages the complex business with skill and huge knowledge and greatly impressed the judges this year with how he has managed the continuous innovation and diversity of the farm. www.goodwood.com

 

Sussex Food Producer of the Year, sponsored by The Southern Co-operative

Looking for the best Sussex Food Producer, which stands out for its delicious, quality products and has a strong business with vision.

Cocoa Loco

A great British business operating in West Grinstead, West Sussex, at the purpose-built and aptly named Chocolate Barn. The chocolate is single origin, lovingly handmade in small batches by skilled

chocolatiers. Cocoa Loco won’t be found in any of the major supermarkets. They do supply to some brands you’ll recognise including Abel and Cole, John Lewis, Oxfam and Jamie Oliver plus a growing number of fine food emporiums and delicatessens throughout the country. The range extends beyond bars and into exquisite truffles, big fat milk, dark and white chocolate buttons,intensely rich and dark chocolate brownies, nutty flapjacks, cookies and so much more. They make everything by hand with the same painstaking attention to detail and continuous innovation, using organic and fair trade ingredients. www.cocoaloco.co.uk