WITH less than two weeks left to nominate for six out of ten categories, organisers of the Sussex Food & Drink Awards 2015/16 are calling all businesses to get involved.
In celebration of the awards’ tenth birthday, there are ten categories up for grabs this year.
Nominations for Best Sussex Food Producer, Drink Producer, Food/Farm Shop, Farmers’ Market, Eating Experience and Butcher all need to be in by the closing date of Monday, June 8.
All entries will be reviewed by the judging panel, chaired by leading Sussex dairy farmer William Goodwin, and finalists will be announced for public voting on July 6. It is expected more than 10,000 people will vote for their food and drink heroes again this year.
The other four categories, Best Sussex Young Chef, Newcomer, Street Food and Farmer. are judged by a team of professionals and nominations are welcome until early September.
Paula Seager, co-director of Natural Partnerships CIC, the not-for-profit company which runs the awards, said: “Sussex is blessed with a wealth of glorious food and drink, from the beautiful South Downs and its coastal waters, to the huge number of creative and hard-working producers and manufacturers in the county who are creating award-winning food and drink every day and we are encouraging businesses and customers to nominate their favourites so that we can celebrate the very best that Sussex has to offer.”
From traditional family butchers who have passed down their skills from generation to generation, to resourceful outlets who specialise in organic and locally sourced meats or farm shops that have managed to diversify and build a reputation in quality and zero carbon footprint – all nominations are welcomed in this year’s Sussex Butcher of the Year category, sponsored by Absolute Butchery.
For Sussex Drink Producer of the Year, sponsored by Rix and Kay, judges are looking for high quality and mouth-watering products from the breweries, vineyards and other drink producers of the county, with a great business behind them.
Young chefs aged 25 or under on December 31, 2015, working or studying in Sussex, with a strong appreciation of all things local, can be nominated for the Sussex Young Chef of the Year category, sponsored by Sodexo Prestige.
Sussex Food Producer of the Year, sponsored by The Southern Co-operative, will be a strong business producing a single food ingredient (eg, meat, fish, vegetables, fruit) or a prepared food product (eg, pies, cakes) that is delicious and local to Sussex.
Sussex is blessed with a wealth of glorious food and drink, from the beautiful South Downs and its coastal waters, to the huge number of creative and hard-working producers and manufacturers in the countyPaula Seager, co-director of Natural Partnerships CIC
Providing an exciting and varied range of local produce and offering an experience which shoppers, producers and stallholders really enjoy, is the criteria that Harveys Brewery will be looking for as sponsors of Sussex Farmers Market category.
Judges for the Sussex Eating Experience of the Year, co-sponsored by Natural PR and Sussex Food & Drink Network, will be looking for a restaurant, hotel, pub or cafe which uses and promotes mainly Sussex produce and offers consistently high quality food in an enjoyable atmosphere.
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. These are the food heroes that Food Rocks and Hepworth Brewery will be looking for as sponsors of new category, Sussex Street Food of the Year.
Another new category for 2015 is Sussex Newcomer of the Year, sponsored by Spofforths and Natural Partnerships CIC, who will be looking for an innovative business from any part of the food and drink sector, supporting local produce, which has been trading for up to three years by the end of 2015; has the ambition and determination to succeed; and can demonstrate a realistic and sustainable business plan.
Sussex Food Shop of the Year, sponsored by Wealden District Council will be looking for a delicatessen or independent local shop or maybe a farm providing locally grown produce through gate sales, a farm shop or someone who delivers great local food direct to your door.
Sussex Farmer of the Year is always a special category and the winner will be a farmer who works to enhance the reputation of Sussex as a significant and creative agricultural county. Someone who recognises and accepts the challenge of farming in an economic and environmentally sustainable manner.
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.
Visit www.sussexfoodawards.biz for more information.
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