Three Sussex Street Food vendors were announced as Grand Finalists in the Sussex Food & Drink Awards 2019 at the Street Food Finals held at the Carfax in Horsham yesterday [Sunday October 21]. Glorious Autumn sunshine attracted record crowds to come and enjoy delicious taster plates from the top ten Sussex Street Food finalists together with great live music and local produce stalls.

Garlic Wood Events in Shipley, Mann & Moore in Horsham and The BBQ Project in St Leonards on Sea, Hastings were declared Grand Finalists and congratulated by award winning super chef, Matt Gillan who led the judging panel, alongside Ian Swainson, Head Chef from The Pass at the South Lodge Hotel and Cllr Kate Rowbottom, Deputy Chairman of Horsham District Council, supported by the public votes on the day.

Sponsors of the Street Food category, Horsham District Foodies supported by Food Rocks, organised the exciting market day, which saw current reigning Sussex Street Food champions Garlic Wood Events creatively marry their top quality meats with seasonal local ingredients to earn them another spot as Grand Finalists this year. New contestants Mann & Moore offered an array of excellent barbequed and smoked meats to join the top three alongside The BBQ Project, who also presented some incredibly tasty slow barbequed dishes and some delicious fishcakes with cheese sauce.

Matt Gillan said, “Today has been just great, a fantastic atmosphere with some incredibly talented Street Food vendors and the opportunity for everyone to sample a multitude of amazing dishes.  I have been hugely impressed with the very high standard that has been presented to us today. Having been lucky enough to travel and experience some of the best street food in the world, including renowned places such as Austin, Texas, some of these superb dishes today were absolutely on that level.

“I commend everyone who took part in this competition, but the three Grand Finalists really shone through with not just incredibly tasty food, but also their use of local ingredients, value for money, presentation and their whole ethos.  I have thoroughly enjoyed being part of the judging process for the Street Food category in the Sussex Food and Drink Awards.”

Other finalists who participated in this exciting event included a tempting global feast from Boca Loco in Arundel; ethically sourced, delicious global tacos from Box Trot in Worthing; gorgeous Asian fusion dishes from Chu Chu Burmese Kitchen in Hove; inventive vegan and vegetarian filled flat breads from Finbar’s Flatbreads in Chichester; delicious slow roasted meats from Forgotten Cuts in Brighton; delectable home-made delights with award winning sauces from Ginger Rookes in Horsham and perfect pork dishes from the Pig & Jacket in Lewes.

Ian Swainson, Head Chef of The Pass at South Lodge Hotel said, “I’m so thrilled to be returning to this fantastic competition for the second year running and I have to say my job was made much harder today as the food was even better this year.  It’s great to see such passion in the cooking and use of local ingredients which are showcased at their absolute best.”

Said Cllr Kate Rowbottom, “We are delighted to be supporting the Sussex Food and Drink Awards for the third year running with this hugely exciting and growing category of Street Food. I am not a food expert, but I have been so impressed and thoroughly enjoyed tasting delicious and beautifully presented food today.  My congratulations to all the Grand Finalists and everyone who took part.”

The three Grand Finalists will join 400 guests at a BAFTA-style ceremony on May 15 2019at the Amex Stadium in Brighton, where the winners will be revealed and guests will enjoy a seven-course Sussex produce banquet, hosted by awards patron Sally Gunnell OBE and Danny Pike from BBC Sussex.

Entries close this week on October 24 for most categories in the awards, including Sussex Food Producer, Drink Producer, Eating Experience, Farmers Market, Butcher and Food Shop and the public will be invited to vote for their favourites when finalists are announced next month.  Sussex Young Chef of the Year, Young Sussex Famer of the Year and Sussex Newcomer of the Year remain open until January 17 2019.

Photo credit: www.tobyphillipsphotography.com