EDP Food and Drink Award Winners revealed

Galton Blackiston (right) was among the north Norfolk winners at the EDP Norfolk Food and Drink Awar

Galton Blackiston (right) was among the north Norfolk winners at the EDP Norfolk Food and Drink Awards. - Credit: Archant

After months of anticipation and deliberation it was time for celebration last night at the EDP Norfolk Food and Drink Awards 2013 gala ceremony where the best of the best 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 best chef to best customer service, best restaurant or pub to the best school food project.

Guests were met with a glass of fizz from EDP Adnams Norfolk Food and Drink Festival sponsor Adnams and were able to visit a range of market stalls set up in the arena by local producers such as Bray's Cottage Pork Pies, Buns of Fun, Candi's Chutney and the English Whisky Company.

Other stallholders included Fielding Cottage, Jumberwacky and Apitherapy, Norfolk Cordial, Norfolk Farmhouse Ice Cream, Norfolk Finest Foods and Yare Valley Oils, 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.

'Everyone sitting here this evening has played their part in ensuring that Norfolk's reputation as a centre of excellence for food and drink is upheld. You are all doing your bit to keep the county's rich food heritage alive and in doing so are ensuring its future success,' he said.

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'By highlighting the very best of the best in the food and drink industry, 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 plough to plate.

'We know how hard you work to ignite a passion within people to eat better and to cook more, to value integrity above convenience and flavour above everything.'

Guests then tested their taste buds with a food quiz involving vegetarian amuse bouche – tables were fighting for the chance to win a magnum of Champagne and competition was fierce in a room packed with the county's most superior palates.

It was then time for a sumptuous three-course dinner prepared by Julie Abbs Catering, based at East Lexham. The starter was a carpaccio of venison loin from Houghton Estate with Smoked Dapple cheese and a juniper-spiced terrine of venison dressed with capers, rocket and a lemon dressing and the main was sage and spice rubbed loin of Norfolk pork with an apple and Norfolk cider sauce, celeriac puree and roasted seasonal roots.

Vegetarians ate a carpaccio of Elveden beetroot with Norfolk Mardler goats' cheese, rocket, home-grown walnuts and walnut oil dressing followed by griddled squash layered with a fresh herb and spinach bourrage, lemon and rosemary crumb and a balsamic reduction.

For dessert, the guests enjoyed a tower of homemade meringues with Norfolk raspberry and lavender curd and a light elderflower cream adorned with Norfolk soft fruits. Red and white wine was provided by Adnams.

The ceremony itself then began as hosts David Whiteley, from BBC East, and Angi Kennedy, editor of EDP Norfolk 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.

The EDP Norfolk Food and Drink Awards' Winners:

Norfolk's Food and Drink Hero: sponsored by BBC Radio Norfolk:

FINALISTS: Sarah Pettegree, Bray's Cottage Pork Pies; Philip Cutter, landlord, The Murderers', Norwich; Delaval Astley, Back to the Garden; Mary Kemp.

WINNER: Mary Kemp.

Judges said: 'Mary is a well-known and well-respected advocate of local food. It's something she's been talking about for more than 20 years, long before it became the fashion to do so. Her passion is based on knowledge, interest and she has worked selflessly, often without pay, to talk up Norfolk and Norfolk food.'

Best Drink Producer: sponsored by Crisp Maltings Group:

FINALISTS: Winbirri Vineyards, Surlingham; English Whisky Company, Roudham; Redwell Brewing, Bracondale, Norwich; Norfolk Brewhouse, Fakenham.

WINNER:English Whisky Company:

Judges said: 'We congratulate a company that broke the mould by being the first English Whisky producer in more than 100 years, produces a quality product using local ingredients, is committed to environmental responsibility, markets itself successfully and champions Norfolk in the process.'

Best Independent Food and Drink Retailer: sponsored by Adnams:


Goodies Farm Shop, Pulham Market; Back to the Garden, Letheringsett; Arthur Howell, Wells-next-the-Sea; Truly Local, Stalham.

WINNER: Back to the Garden.

Judges said: 'Back to the Garden has developed a really special concept to the Norfolk market – growing produce, pulling it from the ground and putting it straight on to the shelves, quite simply taking us back to the garden and reminding us of the importance of fabulous, honest food.'

Beautiful Baking: sponsored by Marshalls Foods:

FINALISTS: CoCoes Café and Delicatessen, Swaffham.; Bread Source, Horsham St Faith and Aylsham; Macarons and More, Watton and Royal Arcade, Norwich; Dozen Artisan Bakery, Gloucester Street, Norwich.

WINNER: Macarons and More.

Judges said: 'Tim Kinnaird totally understands the world of baking and patisserie and is quietly passionate about everything he does and creates. Tim has introduced the finest patisserie and cakes to Norfolk – the quality of food that he and his team create would rival anything you could buy in Paris. And we have it here in Norfolk!'

Plough to Plate Champion: sponsored by Easton and Otley College:

FINALISTS: Larchwood Foods, Fincham; Norton's Dairy, Frettenham; Candi's Chutney, Dereham; Fielding Cottage, Honingham.

WINNER: Larchwood Foods.

Judges said: 'Larchwood Foods is a family-run business which has been farming in Norfolk for more than 200 years. It prides itself on producing an excellent product which has the taste and feel of a local, artisan food but is sold to a national market.'

Best School Food Project: sponsored by the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association:

FINALISTS: Norwich City College Hotel School; Lodge Lane Infant School and Norse; Norfolk Food Discovery; Taverham Hall Preparatory School.

WINNER: Lodge Lane Infant School and Norse.

Judges said: 'The winning school has shown a true commitment across the whole school to use every opportunity to develop understanding of food production and cookery and to link diet to health. The work done has an impact across the curriculum and into the community.'

Chef of the Year: sponsored by City College Norwich:

FINALISTS: Chris Busby, Brasted's; Rob Tragarz, The Lavender House; Mark Dixon, The Imperial Hotel, Great Yarmouth; Eric Snaith, Titchwell Manor.

WINNER: Mark Dixon

Judges said: 'Mark's menu was well-balanced throughout the three dishes with good flavours and well-presented, clean dishes full of local flavours. He showed good craft skills across a variety of techniques.'

Best Food and Drink Expertise: sponsored by Waitrose:

FINALISTS: Mary Kemp, East Harling; Relish Bar and Restaurant, Newton Flotman; Bakers and Larners of Holt; Jon Gay Food, Norwich.

WINNER: Relish Bar and Restaurant.

Judges said: 'Relish has been committed to local-sourcing from its start. The monthly menu has a good local narrative and there is an excellent relationship with and commitment to local food.' They also praised Relish's online recipe book, engagement with local schools and colleges and use of social media.

Best Restaurant or Dining Pub: Sponsored by the Eastern Daily Press and EDP Norfolk Magazine:

FINALISTS: The Duck, Stanhoe; Titchwell Manor, Titchwell; The Last Wine Bar, Norwich; The Mulberry Tree, Attleborough.

WINNER: Titchwell Manor.

Judges said: 'Titchwell Manor is a true gem on the north Norfolk coast that sparkles with first class modern cuisine from the kitchen of Eric Snaith. The AA three rosettes awarded this year are certainly deserved by this superb example of Norfolk's finest dining experience.'

Outstanding Customer Service: sponsored by Norse:

FINALISTS: The Assembly House, Norwich; Roger Hickman's, Norwich; Café Blah Blahh, Hunstanton; Brasted's, Framingham Pigot.

WINNER: Brasted's.

Judges said: 'Brasted's is the worthy winner: a unique group of knowledgeable people offering a wide variety and breadth of first-class service from a young team who make any visit a joy. They create memories that live on forever through their great customer service.'

The Pride of Norfolk Award: sponsored by Bernard Matthews Farms:

FINALISTS: Norfolk Cordial, Wood Dalling; Morston Hall, Morston; Mrs Temple's Cheese, Wighton.

Winner: Morston Hall.

Judges said: 'Over the last 20 years, Morston Hall and chef patron Galton Blackiston have helped to put North Norfolk on to the national culinary map. This started with a Michelin star, but has moved beyond this as Galton's national media profile, cookery books and enthusiasm for all things Norfolk have had a very significant impact on the area by acting as a halo business that attracts people from across the UK to come to Norfolk and eat at his restaurant. Recently Galton has become the owner of a fish and chip shop in Cromer, and by using his passion for food and Norfolk the new venture has the chance of being as successful as Morston Hall remains today.'

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

WINNER: Steve Thorpe, Head of Hotel, Hair and Beauty School, Norwich City College. Steve is responsible for the development and management of hospitality training within the college and has helped train around 10,000 students during his 20 years at the college. He works tirelessly to raise the profile of the hospitality, catering and tourism industry locally, regionally and nationally and is a great advocate of local produce.

Judges said: 'There can be very few kitchens in the county that haven't had an influence from Steve Thorpe. He has cajoled, instructed and inspired a generation of chefs, service staff and hotel managers and continues to work tirelessly to promote the hospitality trade and his adopted county. Passionate about the industry, he has been at the forefront of improving standards and continually highlighting the tourism industry as a positive career choice. He is respected by his peers across the national educational system, by his students both past and present and by Norfolk's employers. A richly deserved award.'

Thanks to:

Posh Plants and the floristry department at the Easton campus of Easton and Otley College.

Production Services Entertainment.

Norfolk Young Musician 2013 Finn McEwan and Nick Fitch.

The Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association.

Norwich Print Solutions.

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