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Record breaking year for Sussex Food & Drink Awards

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The Sussex Food and Drink Awards 2017 has had a record-breaking year, attracting over 13,000 public votes and tickets now sold out for the spectacular awards banquet, which takes place on Wednesday 1 February at the American Express Community Stadium in Brighton.

Hosted by awards patron, Sally Gunnell OBE and BBC Sussex’s Danny Pike, the ceremony is dubbed as ‘the Sussex Foodie event of the year’. Guests will join hundreds of leaders in the food, drink and farming industry and be treated to a wonderful ‘Sussex bubbly and ale reception’ followed by a stunning seven-course banquet specially created by Sodexo Prestige Principal Chef, Malcolm Emery and his catering team at the Amex Stadium.

Said Paula Seager, co-director of Natural Partnerships CIC, which runs the awards, “Tickets for the banquet sold out in record time this year and we are now very busy getting everything ready for the big night which is only a couple of weeks away. We thoroughly enjoy organising these awards, which of course couldn’t happen without the support of all our amazing sponsors.

“The awards ceremony offers a great networking opportunity, where our superb Grand Finalists can meet the judges and get to dress up and spend an evening with fellow foodies who are passionate about local Sussex produce which forms an integral part of the delicious banquet. We are so excited to see who will be crowned our winners for 2017 and I’m sure they are all anxious to finally find out the results after waiting since the Grand Finalists were announced back in November.”

This wonderful event offers a rare opportunity for winners and runners up to step into the spotlight and enjoy being admired and praised for their efforts in what is a hugely competitive and tough industry. Many have managed to use this opportunity as a stepping stone to go on to achieve greater things and to raise the profile of their products, services and businesses.

Previous Sussex Young Chef of the Year winner, Steven Edwards went on to be crowned winner of the 6th series of BBC’s MasterChef: The Professionals in 2013 and has since managed to forge a hugely successful career here in Sussex and is planning to open up his own restaurant ‘etch’ in Brighton and Hove in Spring 2017.

Steven has always been an avid supporter of the awards, mentoring other young chefs who have entered the competition and for the last two years he has joined the judging panel for the ‘Sussex Street Food of the Year’ category. Said Steven, “These awards continue to champion the very best in Sussex food and drink and gives us all an opportunity to come together once a year and really celebrate the best from across the county.”

Now in its eleventh year, the awards are all about supporting and boosting local farmers, food and drink producers and the outlets that use and sell this superb local fare. Starting from small beginnings, the awards have grown to become prestigious and respected, with huge support from business in the county, bringing together the whole local food and farming community.

Winners in all ten categories including Sussex butcher, food producer, drink producer, farmer, young chef, farmers market, food shop, eating experience, newcomer and street food vendor of the year will be announced on the night. For further information and to find out the results after the event visit www.sussexfoodawards.biz

The 2017 Grand Finalists, strictly in alphabetical order, are:

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

Noble and Stace Chocolatiers, Midhurst, West Sussex

Ouse Valley Foods, Piltdown, East Sussex

The Real Pie Company, Crawley, West Sussex

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

Nyetimber Vineyard, West Chiltington, West Sussex

Ridgeview Wine Estate, Ditchling Common, East Sussex

Wobblegate, Bolney, West Sussex

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

Cowdray Farm Shop, Midhurst, West Sussex

Eggs to Apples, Hurst Green, East 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

Glyn Thomas & Son Ltd, Lindfield, West Sussex

Nick the Butcher, Hartfield, East Sussex

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

Forest Row Village Market, East Sussex

Lewes Food Market, Market Tower (weekly), East Sussex

Shoreham Farmers Market, West Sussex

Sussex Eating Experience of the Year, sponsored by SuperFast Thermapen®

The Crown, Hastings, East Sussex

The Earl of March, Lavant, West Sussex

The Sussex Ox, Polegate, East Sussex

Sussex Newcomer of the Year, co-sponsored by Spofforths and Sussex Food and Drink Network

The Artisan Bakehouse, Ashurst, West Sussex

The Bluebird Tea Co Shop, Brighton

The Set Restaurant, Brighton

Sussex Farmer of the Year, sponsored by Natural PR in association with Farmers Weekly

Jeremy Davis and Lynne Curtis, Lynne’s Organic Farm, Eridge, East Sussex

Andrew and Joanne Knowles, Trenchmore Farm, Cowfold, West Sussex

Camilla and Roly Puzey, Saddlescombe Farm, Poynings, West Sussex 

Sussex Street Food of the Year, co-sponsored by Food Rocks and Horsham District Food and Wine Festival

Garlic Wood Farm, Steyning, West Sussex

Jah Jyot, Southwater, West Sussex

Pig and Jacket, Lewes, East Sussex

Sussex Young Chef of the Year, sponsored by Sodexo Prestige

Rachel Burroughs, Camelia Restaurant, South Lodge Hotel, Lower Beeding, West Sussex

Anna Shopland, The Fountain Inn, Plumpton Green, East Sussex

Michael Sutherland, The Sussex Ox, Polegate, East Sussex