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Norfolk Food and Drink Awards: Full list of winners

PUBLISHED: 08:43 15 September 2015 | UPDATED: 13:07 15 September 2015

EDP Norfolk Food Awards 2015 at the Norfolk Showground. Host s Darren Eadie and Angi Kennedy with some of the winners. Photo: Angela Sharpe

EDP Norfolk Food Awards 2015 at the Norfolk Showground. Host s Darren Eadie and Angi Kennedy with some of the winners. Photo: Angela Sharpe

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The waiting is over and the winners of the EDP Norfolk Food and Drink Awards 2015 have been announced at a spectacular awards ceremony held at the Norfolk Showground. STACIA BRIGGS presents this year’s Norfolk food and drink superstars.

Hosts Darren Eadie, left, and Angi Kennedy, right, at the EDP Norfolk Food and Drink Awards 2015 at the Norfok Showground with Nick Mills of Brasteds, winner of outstanding achievement award. Picture: Angela SharpeHosts Darren Eadie, left, and Angi Kennedy, right, at the EDP Norfolk Food and Drink Awards 2015 at the Norfok Showground with Nick Mills of Brasteds, winner of outstanding achievement award. Picture: Angela Sharpe

After months of anticipation and deliberation it was time for celebration last night at a gala ceremony for the EDP Norfolk Food and Drink Awards 2015 in association with the East of England Co-op. The best of the best in the county’s spectacular food, drink and hospitality businesses were crowned.

Hundreds of guests from Norfolk’s incredible food and drink scene gathered at the Norfolk Showground Arena for a night showcasing the cream of the county’s crop, from Independent Food and Drink Retailer to Outstanding Front of House, Best Pub to the Best School Food Project.

After arrival, guests visited a range of market stalls set up in the arena by local producers, all of whom offered delicious samples and tasters for those attending.

After the drinks reception, guests took their seats and heard a short speech from EDP editor Nigel Pickover, who said: “All our finalists play their part in ensuring that Norfolk is the envy of Britain 
when it comes to spectacular produce, artisan enterprises, fabulous dining experiences and top-drawer service. Here at the Eastern Daily Press and EDP Norfolk magazine, we are very proud to support the county’s endlessly impressive food and drink industry and by highlighting the very best of the best in Norfolk, we hope to encourage even more people to get behind our local producers, support our economy and think about the journey their meals make from field to fork.”

“These awards allow us to showcase the very best that Norfolk has to offer, from the food champions whose produce puts the county on the culinary map to the chefs that make our local food sing on the plate and our unbeatable range of eateries we have right here on our doorstep to the inspirational teachers that encourage children to ‘eat local’.”

It was then time for a sumptuous three-course dinner prepared by Julie Abbs Catering, based at East Lexham. After home-baked breads made with flour from Heygates at Downham Market, the starter was sweet cantaloupe melon, ripe figs and Claxton-based Marsh Pig Coppa with fresh rocket and a balsamic reduction before a main of either a duo of Houghton Estate organic lamb – tender noisette and pressed lamb shoulder – with butternut squash puree and a rich lamb jus or red onion tarte tatin with Fielding Cottage goats curd, butternut squash puree and a sweet onion reduction both served with Pink Fir 
Apple potatoes and a selection of organic vegetables from the Houghton Estate.

Dessert was Norfolk blackberries from Sharrington, Melton Constable with dark chocolate and sour cream Pavlova and then locally-roasted coffee from Grey Seal Coffee in Glandford was served – wine was kindly provided by Cawston-based Broadland Wineries.

After dinner, the Norfolk Food and Drink committee presented its own award, the Champion of Norfolk Food and Drink Award sponsored by Adnams, which recognised outstanding service to the development of exceptional food and drink in the county.

Shortlisted were Jamie Archer, Martin Billings and Roger and Jill Willis.

“The board of Norfolk Food and Drink were presented with three very worthy nominations for our Champion of Norfolk Food and Drink Awards this year,” said Norfolk Food and Drink chairwoman Sarah de Chair.

“Roger and Jill Willis were chosen in recognition of the incredible work they have done in Aylsham to put Slow Food on the map and to bring together a small local community in celebrating local food and drink which very much involves participation with the local school. They work together as a team, working tirelessly behind the scenes to make things happen for no financial gain. Roger has also been a very active member of our Norfolk Food and Drink Steering Committee for many years.”

The ceremony itself then began as hosts Darren Eadie from Mustard TV and Angi Kennedy, editor of EDP Norfolk magazine, announced each category and the finalists before revealing the overall winner and inviting them on to the stage. Here are this year’s winners – our congratulations to them all.

There will be full coverage of the EDP Norfolk Food and Drink Awards 2015 in October’s edition of EDP Norfolk magazine

Outstanding Front of House sponsored by Broadland Wineries:

Finalists: The Bedingfeld Arms in Oxborough, Brasted’s in Framingham Pigot, The Assembly House, Norwich.

Winner: The Assembly House.

Judges said: “The entries for 2015 made this a particularly difficult category to judge. This year, we felt the standard and quality of service had risen enormously and it was fantastic to see the number of establishments recognising that outstanding service is an expectation from all customers. This year, our winner excelled in all elements of service, whether that was food and drink enjoyment, customer aftercare, answering the phone or even helping visitors make the most of our great region. At The Assembly House, whether celebrating a special occasion, enjoying a leisurely lunch, quick coffee or simply dropping in to take shelter from the rain and enquire about the architecture, visitors are met with a warm and friendly team which is attentive, thoughtful and very accommodating.”

Best Restaurant sponsored by Steele Fine Foods – chosen by the public:

Finalists: The Last Wine Bar and Restaurant, Norwich, Café Britannia, Norwich and The Gardeners’ Kitchen at Green Pastures, Bergh Apton.

Winner: The Gardeners’ Kitchen at Green Pastures, Bergh Apton.

This unique experience, based in a family-run garden centre, farm and farm shop, has been described as Norfolk’s own River Cottage. Nominations praised bringing together growing, cooking and dining under one roof.

Outstanding Achievement Award sponsored by Hansells Solicitors and Financial Advisers:

This award recognised an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the local food industry. Judges Roger Holden and Richard Hughes were looking for an expert in their chosen field with a proven track record who inspires their colleagues, educates the young and sets standards others aim to emulate.

Winner: Nick Mills, Brasted’s.

Pride of Norfolk Award sponsored by Bernard Matthews:

Finalists: Creake Abbey in North Creake, Redwell Brewery in Norwich and Place UK in Tunstead.

Winner: Redwell Brewery.

Judges said: “Redwell Brewery was set up by a group of beer lovers with the aim of creating lagers and beers that would reignite the city’s rich brewing heritage. It has a strong commitment to making craft beers and lagers from the best malting barley available, which comes from across Norfolk and this is combined with a passion for putting Norwich back on the brewing map. In two-and-a-half years, the company has seen astronomical growth with its beer having been drunk in more than 460 pubs nationwide with more than 75 per cent of these out of the county. The operation, which employs 14 people, currently produces more than 800,000 pints per year and there are ambitions for growth overseas and canned beer markets.”

Norfolk’s Best Pub sponsored by EDP Norfolk magazine and the Eastern Daily Press – chosen by the public:

Finalists: The Banningham Crown, The George Hotel at Cley and The Cliff Hotel at Gorleston.

Winner: The Cliff Hotel.

This non-traditional pub was described as a central community hub that serves the local and tourist trade while encompassing the lovely views of Gorleston’s expansive beaches.

The Children’s Choice Award sponsored by Norse.

Finalists: The Waffle House in Norwich, Wroxham Barns and The Georgian Townhouse in Norwich.

Winner: The Waffle House.

Judges said: “A very difficult category to choose an overall winner in, the judges were absolutely blown away with the passion, personality and care that goes into every delicious dish produced on the children’s menu. Almost every ingredient is sourced locally, even down to the plates and bowls the meals are served in. The team at The Waffle House are fantastic ambassadors for feeding children great, nutritious food without compromising on taste.”

Best Norfolk Producer Award sponsored by Anglia Farmers:

Shortlisted are: Traditional Norfolk Poultry in Shropham, Marsh Pig in Claxton and The Norfolk Brewhouse in Hindringham.

Winner: Traditional Norfolk Poultry.

Judges said: “TNP grows only free-range poultry of the highest standard, focusing very much on the production process and ensuring poultry are free to roam. It has its own breed of chicken which is firmly-established in the retail sector and included on the menus in some very high-profile hotels and restaurants. It supplies many restaurant chains and food service outlets and the business has grown to include 50 supply farms. The investment and growth continues with plans to upgrade the farming base with a newly-designed mobile poultry house to give the birds a better environment in which to live. TNP has also been awarded some grant funding to install a new state-of-the-art poultry packing machine that will allow it to ‘skin pack’ poultry portions, the first company to produce poultry in this format.”

Made in Norfolk Award sponsored by Kettle Foods:

Finalists: Traditional Norfolk Poultry in Shropham, Grey Seal Coffee in Glandford and Lacons brewery in Great Yarmouth.

Winner: Grey Seal Coffee.

Judges said: “It’s exciting to see an entrepreneur really make his mark within the Norfolk food industry and the deserved success that tasty, quality products coupled with style and innovation can bring. David Lane is a great ambassador for Norfolk’s food scene and has really put himself and his company on the map in the last 18 months. His tireless efforts to produce the perfect cup of coffee and innovative development ideas, for example coffee cocktails and helping to host coffee-themed meals, deserve recognition. Branding inspired by the company’s roots reflects a real passion for the product which has now received international recognition.”

Chef of the Year sponsored by City College Norwich:

Finalists: Chris Mann of Titchwell Manor, Roger Hickman of Roger Hickman’s Restaurant, Norwich and Nicholas Parker of The King’s Head Hotel in Great Bircham.

Winner: Chris Mann.

Judges said: “The skills observed in producing every element of all the dishes was of a high standard, he worked in a clean, hygienic and methodical way from start to finish. All three dishes were consistent in terms of clean presentation, good balance of flavours with that element of ‘wow’ in one form or another. Chris has an enthusiasm for ensuring the knows the provenance of every item and how it will interact on the plate, it was clear from his comments that he had eaten and enjoyed the dishes that he was presenting to the judges, his professional attitude in terms of cost management, use of resources and waste within a kitchen will enable him to progress well in his career – definitely a chef to watch for in the future.

Field to Fork sponsored by Easton and Otley College:

Finalists: Fielding Cottage in Attleborough, Nortons Dairy in Frettenham and The Herbary in King’s Lynn.

Winner: Fielding Cottage.

Judges said: “It’s always incredibly difficult to judge one person’s business against another and while the two runners-up were both just a whisker away from winning, it was felt that in terms of the criteria and category, Fielding Cottage had the whole package and is an excellent example of what can be achieved in a short space of time with ingenuity, passion, commitment that all leads to an award-winning product and business that appears to have great scope for expansion into new markets.”

Best Independent Food or Drink Retailer sponsored by Durrants:

Finalists: Back to the Garden in Letheringsett, The Norfolk Deli in Hunstanton and The Norfolk Gluten Free Company at Hellesdon Barns.

Winner: The Norfolk Deli.

Judges said: “The owners’ passion for great Norfolk produce clearly shines through, making them aspire to be the very best at what they do and to offer an outstanding service to their customers. The Norfolk Deli was chosen for its vast range of products ranging from coffee to confit with everything in between plus an excellent wet fish counter. The additional services provided, such as a provision of hampers and picnic baskets for day-trippers and the ability to order online makes it an excellent resource for the local community. Staff were friendly, engaging and knowledgeable, giving our secret shoppers extra information about products on offer without need for prompting.

Best School Food Project sponsored by the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association.

Finalists: Heather Avenue Infants School in Hellesdon, Parkside School in Norwich and Rollesby Primary School and Nursery.

Winner: Rollesby Primary School and Nursery

Judges said: “We were very impressed with the way the whole school has embraced food and farming throughout the curriculum and the wider community. There has been a solid commitment to improving the food education and experience for all pupils and the project has grown quickly and has made strong links that are sustainable for the future.”

Thanks to:

Headline sponsors the East of England Co-op and all our category sponsors.

Expert judges: Michelle Steele, Jason Whittleton, Sally Church, Tim Kinnaird, Sarah de Chair, Stacia Briggs, Steve Thorpe, Mary Kemp, Anna Stevenson, Richard Hughes, Joe Mulhall and Charlie Hodson.

Also thanks to: Darren Eadie, Julie Abbs Catering, Production Service Entertainment, Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association, Norfolk Food and Drink Ltd, Broadland Wineries, Norwich Print Solutions, Posh Plants and the floristry department at Easton Campus of Easton and Otley College.

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