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Sussex Food and Drink Awards 2018 Winners Announced

Winners of the Sussex Food and Drink Awards 2018 with actress Julie Graham, centre

Celebrations were in full flow last night on Wednesday 7 February as the Sussex Food & Drink Awards revealed the county’s top food and drink producers for 2018, all hailed as local heroes as they received their winning trophies at the Amex Community Stadium in Brighton.

Hosted by Danny Pike of BBC Sussex and actress Julie Graham, representing the charity Chestnut Tree House, the glittering 12th awards ceremony saw 400 leaders in the food, drink and farming industry gather together for what is dubbed as ‘the Sussex foodie event of the year’, celebrating the cream of Sussex food and drink producers.

Over the last 12 years the awards have received over 4,000 nominations and 133,000 public votes promoting hundreds of businesses as Grand Finalists. The awards scheme is run by Natural Partnerships Community Interest Company (CIC), co-directed by Hilary Knight of the Sussex Food & Drink Network and Paula Seager, Managing Director of Natural PR Ltd, with support from a loyal and high ranking group of sponsors and expert judges along with independent chairman of judges, Sussex farmer and Nuffield scholar, William Goodwin.

Said William, “It’s been a truly fantastic evening. These awards are all about supporting and boosting local farmers, food and drink producers and the outlets which use and sell superb local fare. Starting from small beginnings, the awards have grown to become prestigious and respected, attracting a record 15,000 votes from members of the public this year and huge support from business in the county, bringing together the whole local food and farming community.”

Guests were treated to a wonderful ‘Sussex bubbly and ale reception’, sponsored by NFU Mutual Pulborough, with Harveys Ale, Carr Taylor sparkling wine, Wobblegate apple juice and Brighton Gin accompanied by delicious canapés from The Naked Food Company. This was followed by a stunning seven-course banquet created by stadium caterers Sodexo Prestige, using the very best local and seasonal ingredients supplied by Lighthouse Bakery, Real Patisserie, Bookham & Harrison, Southview Farm Dairy, Hoads Farm, Veasey & Sons Fishmongers, Plumpton College, R P Meats (Wholesale), T G Fruits, The Cheese Man, Deerview Fine Foods, Just Brownies, The Raw Chocolate Company, South Downs Water Co Ltd and Edgcumbes Coffee Roasters and Tea Blenders.

Said Paula Seager, “We are incredibly proud of the Sussex Food & Drink Awards and want to wish our 2018 winners, grand finalists and finalists our warmest congratulations. The line up was hugely impressive this year and the awards are all about celebrating our Sussex food and drink heroes – we know the future is bright for all of them. Several new sponsors and supporters have come on board this year alongside our loyal, longstanding partners and we want to thank them all for sharing a vital role in making these awards such a great success.”

Guests also had the opportunity to enter a fantastic prize draw with the chance of winning a unique VIP Foodie Tour of Sussex worth over £1,200, kindly donated by several of the Grand Finalists and partners at the awards ceremony. The winning package includes a year’s worth of juice from Wobblegate, a year’s worth of pies from The Real Pie Company, a hamper from Rushfields Farm Shop, lunch for two at etch., lunch for two at The Parsons Table, a gift voucher and picnic hamper from New Street Butchers & Deli and a tasting tour and picnic at Ridgeview Wine Estate.

For further information on the awards and winners in all ten categories including Sussex butcher, food producer, drink producer, young chef, farmers market, food shop, eating experience, newcomer, street food vendor and young Sussex farmer of the year visit www.sussexfoodawards.biz

Winners and Runners up for 2018 are:

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

Winner: Bookham Harrison Farms, Rudgwick, West Sussex

Runners up: Just Brownies, Shipley, West Sussex; Lighthouse Bakery & School, Robertsbridge, East Sussex; The Raw Chocolate Company, Henfield, West Sussex; The Real Pie Company, Crawley, West Sussex

Sussex Drink Producer of the Year, sponsored by Natural PR with support from The Pass at South Lodge Hotel

Winner: Ridgeview Wine Estate, Ditchling Common, East Sussex

Runners up: Brighton Gin, Brighton and Hove and Wobblegate, Bolney, West Sussex

Sussex Young Chef of the Year, sponsored by Sodexo Prestige with support from super chef Matt Gillan

Winner: Michael Notman-Watt from 64 Degrees, Brighton and Hove

Runners up: George Boarer from etch., Brighton and Hove and Michael Sutherland, The Star Inn, Alfriston, East Sussex

Young Sussex Farmer of the Year, sponsored by Plumpton College in association with Farmers Weekly

Winner: Jack Stilwell, Forestside, West Sussex

Runners up: Christopher Appleton, Arlington, East Sussex and Luke Spalding, Ridgeview, Ditchling Common, East Sussex

Sussex Butcher of the Year, sponsored by RP Meats Wholesale Ltd

Winner: New Street Butchers & Deli, Horsham, West Sussex

Runners up: Archers of Westfield, Westfield, East Sussex and Garlic Wood Butchery, Steyning, West Sussex

Sussex Farmers Market of the Year, sponsored by Harveys Brewery

Winner: Chichester Farmers Market, West Sussex

Runners up: Shoreham Farmers Market, West Sussex and Steyning Farmers Market, West Sussex

Sussex Eating Experience of the Year, sponsored by Blakes Foods

Winner: The Artisan Bakehouse, Ashurst, West Sussex

Runners up: 64 Degrees, Brighton and Hove and The Parsons Table, Arundel, West Sussex

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

Winner: The Sussex Produce Company, Steyning, West Sussex

Runners up: Plaw Hatch Farm Shop, Sharpthorne, West Sussex and Rushfields Farm Shop, Poynings, West Sussex

Sussex Street Food of the Year, sponsored by Horsham District Foodies with support from Food Rocks and judging from super chefs Steven Edwards and Ian Swainson

Winner: Garlic Wood Farm, Steyning, West Sussex

Runners up: Jah Jyot, Henfield, West Sussex and The Pig and Jacket, Lewes, East Sussex

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

Winner: etch., Brighton and Hove

Runners up: Greyhound Brewery, West Chiltington, West Sussex and The Parsons Table, Arundel, West Sussex

2018 WINNERS NOTES:

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

For the best Sussex Food Producer, which stands out for its delicious, quality products and has a strong business with vision.

Winner: Bookham Harrison Farms, Rudgwick, West Sussex

Bookham Harrison Farms, based in Rudgwick, West Sussex is led by top dairy farmers and cheesemakers and earlier this year they won Best British Cheddar at the Quality Food Awards 2017 – beating even the top Somerset cheddars. Sussex Charmer can be bought at farm shops throughout the UK and it can also be found at their hugely popular Sussex Charmer Cheese on Toast trailer, with which Bookham Harrison made it into the top 10 Sussex Street Food category.

“Our winner stands out for their award-winning product, their creative marketing and their continuous improvement and innovation.”

www.bookhams.com

Sussex Drink Producer of the Year, sponsored by Natural PR with support from The Pass at South Lodge Hotel

The three grand finalists this year bring together all that is great about Sussex representing the brewers, vineyards and producers of non-alcoholic drinks across the county.

Winner: Ridgeview Wine Estate, Ditchling Common, East Sussex

Ridgeview is a family company dedicated to the production of the highest quality sparkling wine using traditional methods. The Roberts family have been making wines at Ridgeview, West Sussex since their first vintage in 1996 and are now assisted by a professional and dedicated team. Their ground-breaking partnership work with farmers in the region has benefitted the whole food & drink community.

“A thriving, sustainable wine business, which is also a centre of excellence bringing huge benefits to many others in the food & drink community around them.”

www.ridgeview.co.uk

Sussex Young Chef of the Year, sponsored by Sodexo Prestige with support from super chef Matt Gillan

A young chef aged between 16-25yrs and working or studying in Sussex. Judging is based on the preparation and presentation of a locally sourced menu showing creativity, flair and future potential to succeed at the highest level.

Winner: Michael Notman-Watt from 64 Degrees, Brighton and Hove

Michael is from 64 Degrees in Brighton. His menu was praised for its surprisingly good flavour combinations starting with a delicious starter of foraged gems, including cobnuts and apples from the Wiston Estate and beetroot from Nama Yasai Farm in Lewes. His main course was lamb from Saddlescombe Farm and his dessert cleverly married three of his favourite things in life: doughnuts, tea and gin.

“Standing out for technical excellence, creative flair and a true understanding of local sourcing and how to create a stunning seasonal menu.”

www.64degrees.co.uk

Young Sussex Farmer of the Year, sponsored by Plumpton College in association with Farmers Weekly

For farmers aged 35 or under who make a real difference in any sector within agriculture, horticulture or viticulture.

Winner: Jack Stilwell, Forestside, West Sussex

Jack Stilwell is a new entrant to agriculture and it has been his mission over recent years to build and create his own farm. As well as following the traditional approach of working and saving hard to grow and develop his business, he used crowdfunding, under the moniker GETJACKFARMING, as well as BBC’s Countryfile coverage to gain capital for his project. When he was 21 he was given two calves to rear; now, at the age of 26, Jack has graduated from Harper Adams University and in 2017 he reared 4000 calves.

“Embracing modern technology, excellent husbandry and a focused desire to succeed, Jack is a great ambassador for the farming industry, showing creativity and innovation.”

www.getjackfarming.com

Sussex Butcher of the Year, sponsored by RP Meats Wholesale Ltd

A top quality butchers shop, which offers a good range of locally reared meat and gives that little bit extra in terms of quality and service.

Winner: New Street Butchers & Deli, Horsham, West Sussex

Their simple aim at New Street Butchers is to “Do what we do and do it well!” Run by Rob Ayling in Horsham, West Sussex, this family butches provides quality, local, free range meat and seasonal fruit and vegetables — as well as superb customer service.

“Demonstrating true passion for local produce with a very busy and successful shop, which is continuously innovating and developing new and exciting elements.”

www.newstreetbutchers.co.uk

Sussex Farmers Market of the Year, sponsored by Harveys Brewery

A farmers market that sells an exciting range of local produce and offers an experience which shoppers, producers and stallholders really enjoy.

Winner: Chichester Farmers Market, West Sussex

The first Chichester District Farmers’ Market was held in 1998. They have been held regularly every month since then, growing in size and frequency. Today the markets are held on the first and third Friday each month. All the stallholders are required to grow, rear, bake, and/or preserve all their produce and are based within 30 miles of Chichester. Stallholders sell a selection of meat, fruit, vegetables and eggs as well as fish, cheeses, honey, cakes, chutneys and plants.

“Chichester Farmers Market has developed in recent years to become an excellent community event. It compliments local shops and more than 90% of its stalls offer a fantastic range of local produce.”

www.chichester.gov.uk/farmersmarket

Sussex Eating Experience, sponsored by Blakes Foods

A restaurant, pub or café that offers an exceptionally enjoyable eating experience whilst promoting and using local ingredients.

Winner: The Artisan Bakehouse, Ashurst, West Sussex

The Artisan Bakehouse in Ashurst, West Sussex is an independent family-owned business run with passion and vision by husband and wife team Les & Louise Nicholson. Five years ago they returned home to Sussex and fell in love with the beautiful 16th century cottages, pretty gardens & woodlands here and set about creating what is now their home and The Artisan Bakehouse. The Artisan Bakehouse’s vision has always been to embrace the natural, tranquil, idyllic location here and to create an experience where people can learn to make delicious bread & foods and to spend time enjoying local seasonal Sussex produce, relaxing and restoring themselves in this beautiful, special location.

“A truly unique, exciting and ‘immersive’ foodie experience, which stands out for its quality and creativity.”

www.theartisanbakehouse.com

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

An excellent food outlet that is creative in its approach to customers, offers a good range of local produce and has business principles that support local produce.

Winner: The Sussex Produce Company, Steyning, West Sussex

The Sussex Produce Company is an independent food shop and café owned based in Steyning, West Sussex Nick Hempleman opened the business in 2007 with two main aims; to champion the very best Sussex farmers and producers and to establish a business that invests in its local economy and infrastructure. Sourcing local and seasonal food is hugely important to both the shop and café.

“A shining example of a local food shop that really takes care to stock superb, local, seasonal fare and presents it to customers in a beautiful and appealing way.”

www.thesussexproducecompany.co.uk

Sussex Street Food of the Year, sponsored by Horsham District Foodies with support from Food Rocks and judges from super chefs Steven Edwards and Ian Swainson

An excellent food outlet that is creative in its approach to customers, offers a good range of local produce and has business principles that support local produce.

Winner: Garlic Wood Farm, Steyning, West Sussex

From Steyning, West Sussex, Garlic Wood Farm’s catering team can offer everything from a simple barbecue using their own hand-made sausages, sea-salt and cracked black pepper steak burgers, butterflied legs of lamb right through to setting up a full street food steak burger stall. They also offer hog and lamb-roasts using rare-breed conservation pork and pasture-fed lamb. Enjoy their food at their regular stall on Thursdays and Saturdays at Horsham Farmers Market.

“Delicious, well thought out and beautifully presented food using fantastic local ingredients.”

www.garlicwoodfarm.co.uk

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

An excellent food outlet that is creative in its approach to customers, offers a good range of local produce and has business principles that support local produce.

Winner: etch., Brighton and Hove

Located at 216 Church Road in Brighton & Hove etch. is a 12-table British tasting menu only restaurant by MasterChef: The Professionals winner Steven Edwards. Previously a bank, etch. has a contemporary look with views of an open kitchen & bar, dark blue walls & modern art. etch. offers a choice of six or eight course monthly changing menus. Dishes are ingredient led and use quality produce from in and around the surrounding Sussex countryside. etch. currently holds a Michelin Plate and 2 AA Rosettes.

“A true advocate of local ingredients and superb business plan made our winner stand out from the crowd.”

www.etchfood.co.uk