Ten out of ten for Sussex Food & Drink Awards

Sussex Food and Drink Awards 2016 at the Amex Stadium.

Celebrations were in full flow last night [Thursday 28 January 2016] as the Sussex Food & Drink Awards marked its tenth birthday with ten of Sussex’s top food and drink producers hailed as local heroes as they received their winning trophies at the Amex Stadium in Brighton.

Hosted by awards patron, Sally Gunnell OBE DL and Danny Pike of BBC Sussex, the glittering tenth awards ceremony was a sell out with nearly 400 leaders in the food, drink and farming industry gathering for what is now dubbed as ‘the Sussex foodie event of the year’ and a fantastic celebration of the crème de la crème of Sussex food and drink producers.

Guests were treated to a wonderful ‘Sussex bubbly and ale reception’, sponsored by Harveys, Carr Taylor and Wobblegate, accompanied by delicious canapés from Rushfields Farm Shop. This was followed by a stunning seven-course banquet created by stadium caterers Sodexo Prestige, using the very best local and seasonal ingredients supplied by Lighthouse Bakery, Bookham & Harrison, Southview Farm Dairy, Hoads Farm, Veasey & Sons Fishmongers, Absolute Butchery, T G Fruits, The Cheese Man and Cocoa Loco.

These 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 over 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 fourth year as patron of the Sussex Food & Drink Awards and yet again we have been treated to an impressive line up of winners and runners up. I continue to support these awards because they positively encourage people to buy local and to support their local producers. Over the last ten years the awards have received over 3,000 nominations and 100,000 public votes, promoting 246 Grand Finalists. It’s a remarkable achievement.”

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, Sussex farmer and Nuffield scholar, William Goodwin.

Said Paula Seager, “We are so proud of the Sussex Food & Drink Awards and want to wish our winners, grand finalists and finalists this year our warmest congratulations. Celebrating our tenth birthday is very exciting and is testament to the amazing food and drink businesses in Sussex. 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.”

Winners and Runners up for 2016 are:
Sussex Food Producer of the Year, sponsored by The Southern Co-operative
Winner: The Traditional Cheese Dairy, Stonegate, East Sussex
Runners up: Higgidy, Shoreham-by-sea, West Sussex and Springs’ Smoked Salmon, Edburton, West Sussex

Sussex Drink Producer of the Year, sponsored by Rix & Kay Solicitors
Winner: Ridgeview Wine Estate, Ditchling Common, East Sussex
Runners up: Dark Star Brewing Co Ltd, Partridge Green, West Sussex and Nutbourne Vineyards, Pulborough, West Sussex

Sussex Young Chef of the Year, sponsored by Sodexo Prestige
Winner: Ryan Tomkinson, The Pass, South Lodge, Lower Beeding, West Sussex
Runners up: Michael Sutherland, The Sussex Ox, Polegate, East Sussex and Stephanie Hayward, Ockenden Manor, Cuckfield, West Sussex

Sussex Farmer of the Year, in association with Farmers Weekly
Winner: Charlie and Sarah Hughes, Southview Farm, Pulborough, West Sussex
Runners up: Julia and Simon Feakes, Sussex Lamb, Horsham, West Sussex and Tim and Rupert Hoare, Adsdean Farm, Funtingdon, West Sussex

Sussex Butcher of the Year, sponsored by Absolute Butchery
Winner: S K Hutchings, Partridge Green, West Sussex
Runners up: A C Coughtrey Butchers, Pulborough, West Sussex and Barfields Butchers, Brighton

Sussex Farmers Market of the Year, sponsored by Harveys of Lewes
Winner: Horsham Local Produce Market, West Sussex
Runners up: Lewes Farmers Market, East Sussex and Shoreham Farmers Market, West Sussex

Sussex Eating Experience of the Year, co-sponsored by Natural PR and Sussex Food & Drink Network
Winner: The Cat Inn, West Hoathly, West Sussex
Runners up: The Curlew Restaurant, Bodiam, East Sussex and The Sussex Ox, Polegate, East Sussex

Sussex Food Shop of the Year, sponsored by Wealden District Council
Winner: Sharnfold Farm Shop, Stone Cross, East Sussex
Runners up: Charlie’s Farm Shop, Bury, West Sussex and Rushfields Farm Shop, Poynings, West Sussex

Sussex Newcomer of the Year, sponsored by Spofforths Chartered Accountants
Winner: Eggs to Apples, Hurst Green, East Sussex
Runners up: Coggings & Co, Brighton and Etch Food, Billingshurst, West Sussex

Sussex Street Food Vendor of the Year, co-sponsored by Food Rocks and Hepworth & Co Brewers Ltd
Winner: The Trolls Pantry, Brighton
Runners up: Boca Loco, Arundel, West Sussex and Jah Jyot, Southwater, West Sussex

NOTES TO EDITORS

Sussex Food Producer of the Year, sponsored by The Southern Co-operative
The best Sussex Food Producer, which stands out for its delicious, quality products and has a strong business with vision.

The Traditional Cheese Dairy
Set within the lush green fields of the Sussex Weald, the Traditional Cheese Dairy uses delicious free-range, grass-fed raw milk from award-winning local farms, to create fine-quality artisan cheeses, ranging from tasty traditional cheddars to the critically acclaimed ewe’s milk cheese. This dedicated, family-run dairy has spent decades painstakingly refining and adapting centuries-old cheese making techniques to perfect a selection of cheeses that offer both exceptional flavours and broad appeal.
www.traditionalcheesedairy.co.uk

Sussex Drink Producer of the Year, sponsored by Rix & Kay Solicitors
The three grand finalists this year bring together all that is great about Sussex representing the brewers and vineyards across the county.

Ridegview Wine Estate
Ridgeview is a family company dedicated to the production of the highest quality sparkling wine using traditional sparkling grape varieties and methods. The Roberts family have been making wines at Ridgeview since their first vintage in 1996 and are now assisted by a professional and dedicated team. Following the traditional winemaking methods used by their neighbours in France, they have developed expert knowledge of producing sparkling wines in England. This has ensured that Ridgeview wines are highly regarded around the globe for their consistent quality.
www.ridgeview.co.uk

Sussex Young Chef of the Year, sponsored by Sodexo Prestige
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.

Ryan Tomkinson
Ryan Tomkinson from The Pass at South Lodge Hotel in Lower Beeding has been working in kitchens from a young age and has developed a real passion for cooking. His menu consisted of beautiful rainbow trout with cucumber, lime, samphire and clam to start, an autumnal New Barn Farm saltmarsh lamb, garlic and chestnut main course followed by a comforting dessert of Wobblegate apples, honey and yoghurt. This young, driven chef from West Hoathly studied catering at Sussex Downs College. www.southlodgehotel.co.uk

Sussex Farmer of the Year in association with Farmers Weekly
A Sussex farmer who finds innovative ways to bring produce to market, while contributing to the economic and sustainable management of the countryside.

Charlie and Sarah Hughes, Southview Farm
Southview Farm at Bury has been farmed by the Hughes family since 1919. Since Charlie and Sarah took over the business seven years ago, they have made dramatic and positive impacts on this family farm, including opening a successful farm shop. The farm shop was an extension of Charlie’s parents’ philosophy to add value to their farm produce and sell direct to the customer. They employ a local butcher and local farm shop staff. Charlie has incorporated state of the art robotic milkers and feeding equipment, which he believes is more welfare friendly – less strain on cows if they are milked several times a day, rather than having to wait until their udders are full to bursting! He is also adamant that he and his staff need to have a proper work-life balance and wants to take an active part in raising his children.
www.charliesfarmshop.co.uk

Sussex Butcher of the Year, sponsored by Absolute Butchery
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.

S K Hutchings
S K Hutchings butchers and graziers in Partridge Green has been trading for over 25 years. Their beef, lamb and pork are sourced from their own family farm in East Sussex and other local farms, ensuring traceability. S K Hutchings cure and smoke bacon on the premises as well as making their own home baked pies and sausages. They also supply outlets with pre-packed fresh meats. They are a real family business with their six children involved either on the farm or in the shop serving, butchering, working and showing their own cattle, sheep and pigs at various shows throughout the year.

Sussex Farmers Market of the Year, sponsored by Harveys Brewery
A farmers market that sells an exciting range of local produce and offers an experience which shoppers, producers and stallholders really enjoy.

Horsham Local Produce Market
Every Thursday and Saturday in the Carfax, 9am – 5pm, this unique market is like no other in the country – a local market with all their traders and produce coming from within a 40-mile radius of the town. Their fresh, local produce includes fruit and vegetables, free range eggs, artisan bread, plants, specialist herbs, wild game, rare breed meats, Sussex cheeses, cakes and pastries, jams & chutneys, mustards and honey, sausages produced in Horsham and local chocolate.
www.horshammarkets.co.uk

Sussex Eating Experience, sponsored by Natural PR and Sussex Food & Drink Network
A restaurant, pub or café that offers an exceptionally enjoyable eating experience whilst promoting and using local ingredients.

The Cat Inn
The Cat Inn is a 16th century free house, with four bedrooms, set in the picturesque village of West Hoathly, a hilltop village set in the heart of the Sussex countryside. The pub, with its oak beams and two inglenook fireplaces, offers a warm and cosy atmosphere in the winter, whilst their terrace is perfect to enjoy a drink and food in the summer months. Being a free house they pride themselves on the quality of their real ale and concentrate on local breweries. Their superb food is cooked to order, using fresh, seasonal and locally sourced ingredients, with an emphasis on promoting local which can be seen on their specials boards and exciting menus.
www.catinn.co.uk

Sussex Food Shop of the Year, sponsored by Wealden District Council
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.

Sharnfold Farm Shop
Shopping is a gentle and enjoyable experience at Sharnfold. Not only do you have peaceful surroundings, but the relaxed atmosphere, colourful and juicy fruit and veg and gorgeous range of products make it an equally fruitful experience. The team in the farm shop and on the butcher’s counter are very happy to help you find what you need and provide you with cooking ideas. A friendly and helpful face is never far away.
www.sharnfoldfarm.co.uk

Sussex Street Food of the Year, sponsored by Food Rocks and Hepworth & Co Brewers Ltd
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.

The Troll’s Pantry
“Local, seasonal, ethical” – this is The Troll’s Pantry motto and they deliver every time. They use small, local farms who practice the highest standards of animal welfare. They use local, seasonal and organic produce whenever it is available. The Troll’s Pantry use non-GM ingredients, their disposables are sustainably resourced and fully compostable. They have a zero food waste kitchen and make all sauces, pickles and pretty much everything else from scratch. And their burgers are delicious too!
www.thetrollspantry.co.uk

Sussex Newcomer of the Year, sponsored by Natural Partnerships CIC and Spofforths Chartered Accountants
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.

Eggs to Apples
Eggs to Apples’ principles are quality, traceability and affordability with customer service and informed, educated staff at their core. They aim to trade both ethically and sustainably, making partnerships with and investing in their staff, suppliers and their many loyal customers. Eggs to Apples highlight products that are organic or pesticide free and offer an ordering service for requests for harder to find produce or organic boxes. They have minimal packaging so you can touch, smell and choose exactly what you need.
www.eggstoapples.co.uk