Finalists of food and drink awards revealed

The finalists of six categories in the Sussex Food and Drink Awards were announced yesterday (July 4) at Ridgeview Wine Estate, Ditchling. Front four, from left, Danny Pike, Steven Edwards, Paula Seager and Hilary Knight. Picture: Simon Dack
The finalists of six categories in the Sussex Food and Drink Awards were announced yesterday (July 4) at Ridgeview Wine Estate, Ditchling. Front four, from left, Danny Pike, Steven Edwards, Paula Seager and Hilary Knight. Picture: Simon Dack
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The finalists of six of the ten categories in the Sussex Food and Drink Awards 2017 have been announced.

More than 100 restaurateurs, butchers, market organisers, producers, shop keepers and brewers from across the county were at Ridgeview Wine Estate, Ditchling, yesterday evening (Monday, July 4) for the awards’ Big Reveal celebration.

BBC Sussex radio presenter Danny Pike hosted the event, entertaining the audience and congratulating the finalists of the best Sussex food producer, drink producer, food/farm shop, farmers’ market, eating experience and butcher categories.

Earlier in the year, the public were invited to nominate their favourites for the categories and those in the industry could nominate themselves. The deadline for nominations closed on June 8 and a panel of judges selected the ten finalists of each category at a meeting later in the month hosted by the pub Shepherd and Dog, in Fulking.

Yesterday, guests, including chef Steven Edwards, winner of Masterchef: The Professionals 2013 and Sussex young chef of the year 2010 in the Sussex Food and Drink Awards, were treated to platters of local food, ales, juices ciders and Ridgeview sparkling wine. Finalists, both familiar and new, celebrated getting to the next stage of the competition and were able to chat with the sponsor judges and previous winners. They also celebrated the first birthday of www.southdownsfood.org, a guide on the local food and drink producers and places to eat and buy local fare in the region.

The finalists of the six categories will now be put to a public vote that will close on September 24.

Paula Seager and Hilary Knight, co-directors of Natural Partnerships CIC, run the awards as a not-for-profit scheme. Ms Seager said: “This has been a wonderful evening and we are so grateful to Ridgeview for allowing us to host it at their stunning premises and officially open the public voting in this year’s awards.

“The quality is consistently high in this competition with yet another impressive set of finalists this year, so we are urging people to visit them and try out the produce in order to vote for their favourites to win. The public vote is a vital part of the judging process and the top three will become grand finalists, so please do get voting!”

More than 10,000 people voted in the 2016 awards; the judging panel, chaired by local dairy farmer, William Goodwin, is hoping even more people will vote for their favourites this year.

As well as recognition, the winners and runners-up of the ten categories will receive their trophies on February 1, 2017 at a BAFTA-style ceremony at the Amex Stadium, Falmer. Olympic gold medallist Sally Gunnell OBE, patron to the awards, and Danny Pike will host the ceremony and it will include a seven-course Sussex-produce banquet.

Nominations for the final four categories – street food vendor, young chef, farmer and newcomer – will remain open until September 8.

For more details about the awards, including how to vote and how to make a nomination, visit www.sussexfoodawards.biz

The finalists of the six categories are:

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

Beal’s Farm Charcuterie, North Chailey, East Sussex

Brontie & Co, Ferring, West Sussex

Mud Foods, Midhurst, West Sussex

Noble and Stace Chocolatiers, Midhurst, West Sussex

Ouse Valley Foods, Piltdown, East Sussex

Seriously Real, Pulborough, West Sussex

Slindon Bakery, Ford, West Sussex

Tablehurst Farm, Forest Row, East Sussex

The Hearth Bakehouse, Lewes, East Sussex

The Real Pie Company, Crawley, West Sussex

Sussex Drink Producer of the Year, sponsored by Rix & Kay

Albourne Estate, Albourne, West Sussex

Brighton Gin, Hove, East Sussex

Firebird Brewing Co, Rudgwick, West Sussex

Langham Brewery, Lodsworth, West Sussex

Nyetimber Vineyard, West Chiltington, West Sussex

Ridgeview Wine Estate, Ditchling Common, East Sussex

SeaCider, Ditchling Common, East Sussex

Silly Moo Cider, Cowfold, West Sussex

Stopham Vineyard, Stopham, Pulborough, West Sussex

Wobblegate, Bolney, West Sussex

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

Adsdean Farm Shop, Funtington, West Sussex

Charlie’s Farm Shop, Bury, West Sussex

Cowdray Farm Shop, Midhurst, West Sussex

Crossbush Farm Shop, Arundel, West Sussex

Dyke Farm Shop, Pulborough, West Sussex

Eggs to Apples, Hurst Green, East Sussex

Perryhill Orchards Farm Shop, Hartfield, East Sussex

Sharnfold Farm Shop, Stone Cross, East Sussex

Swains Farm Shop, Henfield, West Sussex

Tablehurst Farm Limited, Forest Row, East Sussex

Sussex Butcher of the Year, co-sponsored by Plumpton College & RP Meats Wholesaler Ltd

A C Coughtrey Butchers, Pulborough, West Sussex

Archers of Westfield, Westfield, East Sussex

Barfields Butchers, Brighton, East Sussex

Bramptons Butchers, Brighton, East Sussex

Glyn Thomas & Son Ltd, Lindfield, West Sussex

May’s Farm Cart, Lewes, East Sussex

New Street Butchers, Horsham, West Sussex

Nick the Butcher, Hartfield, East Sussex

Steyning Butchers, Steyning, West Sussex

The Hungry Guest Butcher, Petworth, West Sussex

Sussex Farmers’ Market of the Year, sponsored by Harveys of Lewes

Chichester Farmers’ Market, West Sussex

Forest Row Farmers’ Market, East Sussex

Heathfield Farmers’ Market, East Sussex

Horsham Local Produce Market, West Sussex

Lewes Farmers’ Market, Cliffe Precinct (monthly) East Sussex

Lewes Farmers’ Market, Market Tower (weekly) East Sussex

Pulborough Farmers’ Market, West Sussex

Shoreham Farmers’ Market, West Sussex

Steyning Farmers’ Market, West Sussex

The Great Little Farmers’ Market, Worthing, West Sussex

Sussex Eating Experience of the Year, sponsored by ETI Ltd

Rushfields Café, Poynings, West Sussex

The Cat Inn, West Hoathly, West Sussex

The Coach and Horses, Danehill, East Sussex

The Countryman Inn, Shipley, West Sussex

The Crown, Hastings, East Sussex

The Dorset Arms, Withyham, East Sussex

The Earl of March, Lavant, West Sussex

The Leconfield, Petworth, West Sussex

The Ram Inn, Firle, East Sussex

The Sussex Ox, Polegate, East Sussex