Passion for food gives winners just desserts

The county's culinary delights and very best in hospitality were celebrated at the EDP Norfolk Food Awards last night. Bakers, greengrocers, chefs and butchers showed off their individual talents and real passion for food that has made Norfolk one of the best areas in the country for fresh seasonal produce.

The county's culinary delights and very best in hospitality were celebrated at the EDP Norfolk Food Awards last night .

Bakers, greengrocers, chefs and butchers showed off their individual talents and real passion for food that has made Norfolk one of the best areas in the country for fresh seasonal produce.

And tea rooms, restaurants, pubs and hotels showed that the county is the cream of the crop when it comes to good quality hospitality, too.

Whether growing it, making it, selling or serving, those involved in great food in Norfolk were honoured at the annual extravaganza of all things gastronomic.

Iconic Norfolk chef David Adlard, who is due to semi-retire from his eponymous restaurant in Norwich, was the toast of the evening when he was given a special and surprise award in recognition of services to the Norfolk food and hospitality industry.

Presenting the award, EDP deputy editor Peter Waters said: “He opened his restaurant 24 years ago, offering unrivalled dishes and championing the produce of local growers and suppliers, the very reason we're here tonight.

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“He was the first. He blazed the trail for everyone else. He was the brave man who first said that it could work in Norfolk.”

The seventh EDP Norfolk Food Awards spawned more nominations than ever before with magazine readers sending in more than 2,000 entries for the 14 different categories, all of which were hotly contested.

Among the winners were the Tudor Bakehouse in Diss - described by the judges as “a delight” - and the Golden Triangle Farmers'

Market in Norwich, which only began in February.

Refurbishing was obviously a good move for the owners of the Wiveton Bell, which reopened in Easter and last night scooped Best Food Pub. Judges said it “rapidly established a reputation for good pub food at affordable prices”.

Additive-free jams, marmalades, pickles and chutneys are the Essence of Best Retail Product, while Bawburgh School and Nursery was praised for growing its own greens, opening its kitchens to pensioners and cooking healthy meals.

V's in Reepham walked away with Coffee Shop/Tea Room of the Year, and Walshingham Farm Shops Initiative snapped up two gongs, for Food Retailer of the Year and the Best of Norfolk Award.

A pleasant, friendly service and knowing exactly where his produce comes from made Mel Taylor of G Taylor and Son on Norwich Market the Greengrocer of the Year.

Mike Thurlow of Letheringsett Watermill, which produces flour from locally-grown wheat, was honoured for his outstanding achievements since he transformed the mill from ruins 20 years ago.

EDP Norfolk magazine editor Carolyn Bowden said: “This evening gives us the chance to thank all of the winners and finalists for their dedication and professionalism which ensure that Norfolk's food and drink scene continues to evolve for the future.

“In an age where reducing food miles and supporting local businesses matter more than ever before, we are lucky to have a wealth of freshly grown produce on our doorstep, a host of fabulous farmers' markets, creative chefs, responsible retailers and enterprising publicans and restaurateurs.

The awards were presented by Chris Bailey, an organiser of many major events around the county including the charity balls and the evening entertainment at the Royal Norfolk Show.

Baker of the Year sponsored by Marriage's the Master Millers: The Tudor Bakehouse, Diss.

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