Over 12,000 votes have already been counted for the Sussex Food & Drink Awards 2020 Finalists, which is seeking the best food and drink producers, farmers, butchers and places serving and selling local produce. With just a few days left, organisers are urging people to vote for their favourites by midnight on 18 January 2020 at www.sussexfoodawards.biz.
Said Paula Seager, co-director of Natural Partnerships CIC, who runs the awards, “We are absolutely thrilled to see so many people voting and giving our superb food and drink producers in the region the recognition that they deserve, which is what these awards are all about.
“Businesses from across the county have made it onto the list including 31 from West Sussex, 19 from East Sussex and seven from Brighton & Hove. Please do go online and vote for your favourites to win, it’s really quick and easy and could make all the difference.
“The competition is incredibly tight again this year and we would love to beat our record number of votes from last year. The results of the public vote are so important and will help our expert judges to select the top three Grand Finalists 2020 in each category, who will be announced in March.”
Sussex is renowned for its innovation in making artisan food products and this year’s Sussex Food Producer of the Year category, sponsored by Southern Co-op, represents so much of what is special about the region. The impressive finalist line up includes an award-winning chocolatier, Sussex honey, fantastic fudge-makers, mouthwatering ice cream, superb farm produce, brilliant bakers, hand-crafted sausage makers, delectable preserve producers and hand made beef biltong.
Farmers Markets are a familiar fixture in many of the towns and villages across the county and have grown enormously in popularity over the last decade. They are one of the best advocates in supporting local and regional food and drink producers and offer a great opportunity to sample some of the very best that Sussex has to offer. Seven of the best Sussex Farmers’ Markets have made it through as finalists for this category sponsored by Harvey’s Brewery.
From traditional family butchers who have passed down their skills from generation to generation, to resourceful outlets who specialise in locally sourced meats or farm shops that have managed to diversify and build a reputation in quality and zero carbon footprint, they are all well represented in this year’s Sussex Butcher of the Year category sponsored by RP Meats Wholesale Ltd.
Sussex Food Shop of the Year sponsored by Sussex Food & Drink Network presents a delightful spread of both new and old from across the region, each offering its own unique take on bringing plough to plate. Some familiar names as well as some exciting new can be found on the shortlist this year.
Residents of Sussex have an outstanding choice of where they choose to dine out from Michelin star restaurants, country pubs, elegant fine dining and trendy cafés, all of which are reflected in the finalist line up in this year’s Sussex Eating Experience of the Year category, sponsored by Lloyds Bank Cardnet.
The Sussex Drink Producer category, sponsored by Natural PR, not only offers some of the county’s, but the country’s very best wine producers, brewers, non-alcoholic drink producers and specialist gin and spirit makers so make sure your favourite Sussex tipple makes it through to the final round.
Entries for Young Sussex Farmer of the Year, sponsored by Natural Partnerships CIC in association with Farmers Weekly; Sussex Young Chef of the Year, sponsored by Blakes Foods and Sussex Newcomer of the Year sponsored by SRC-Time, have now closed and the final judging process will take place over the next six weeks.
The final top six young chefs will participate in a Masterchef-style cook off in March 2020 at the Gallery at the Greater Brighton Metropolitan College. Nationally acclaimed chef, Matt Gillan from Heritage will head up the panel of judges which includes fellow Michelin star chefs George Blogg from Gravetye Manor near East Grinstead and Tristan Mason from Restaurant Tristan in Horsham, along with sponsor and former restaurateur, Adrian Burr from Blakes Foods.
As well as earning the huge respect and recognition that these awards now carry, Grand Finalists from all ten categories will be invited to attend a BAFTA-style ceremony on 29 April 2020 at the Amex Stadium in Brighton, where the winners will be revealed and over 300 guests will enjoy a seven-course Sussex produce banquet, hosted by awards patron Sally Gunnell OBE and Danny Pike from BBC Sussex.