The winners of the 16th BBC Food and Farming Awards have been announced tonight at a prestigious ceremony held in Bristol.
Some of the country’s best-known chefs, food writers and broadcasters including Yotam Ottolenghi, Ken Hom, Jancis Robinson, Diana Henry, Mitch Tonks, Angela Hartnett and Stefan Gates came together to celebrate the annual awards, dubbed the ‘Oscars of the food world’.
Presenter of BBC Radio 4’s The Food Programme, founder and host of the awards, Sheila Dillon said: "As always, we were looking for great food that’s transforming society. And we found people and organisations doing that in their thousands. There’s a new generation out there who find the good food business more appealing than technology or media or finance and they’re making it their life’s work. What a wonder!”
The winners of the 2016 awards come from across the UK, and include Best Drinks Producer, Hallets Real Cider based in south Wales, made by former engineer Andy Hallett. Drinks writer and judge Fiona Beckett described it as the most beautiful cider she’d tasted, adding that it provides serious competition to good wines and so deserves a place on the nation’s dinner tables.
The BBC Cook of the Year Award went to Dee Woods, a volunteer cook at the Granville Community Kitchen in London. Dee serves free meals and teaches cooking skills to her neighbours on an inner-city estate. The judges Allegra McEvedy and Stefan Gates both agreed her food really was changing lives.
The winner of a new category, The Future Food Award, went to Our Cow Molly, a brand created by a family of Sheffield dairy farmers who were convinced the city’s baristas would pay more for their super-fresh,'Made in Sheffield' milk. Judge Julia Glotz, Managing Editor of The Grocer magazine, described it as a model that could help save many more of the UK’s struggling dairy farmers.
The Best Street Food Takeaway, announced Live on BBC One’s The One Show was awarded to Gourmet Goat, based in Borough Market, London, which was set up to celebrate a much neglected meat by serving it 'Mediterranean style' at their street food stall.
Welsh finalists scored a hat-trick with a record three awards, including Best Food Market and Best Food Producer, as well as the Best Drinks Producer Award.
Ken Hom, who presented the Best Food Producer Award to Charcutier producers Illtud Llyr Dunsford and Liesel Taylor, said: “It’s a real treat to be at the BBC Food & Farming Awards this year and meet such a fabulous group of finalists and taste their produce. The awards offer a fantastic opportunity to open people’s eyes to the array of incredible local food that’s on offer to them right across the UK.”
At the ceremony, Tony Hall, Director-General of the BBC, presented the Derek Cooper Outstanding Achievement Award to Joan Morgan for her work as a leading global authority on apples and pears - their history, varieties and flavours.
Lord Hall said: "I'm delighted to present the Derek Cooper Outstanding Achievement Award to Dr Joan Morgan - the world's leading expert on pear and apple varieties. She is a great enthusiast who has dedicated her life to promoting fruit and celebrating their flavours."
The awards ceremony was broadcast live on the Mark Forrest show across the BBC Local Radio network on 28 April. On Sunday 1 May a 'two-course' BBC Radio 4 Food Programme special will tell the stories of this year’s winners, starting at 12.30pm and continued at 1.30pm. A special highlights package recorded at the awards ceremony will also be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Monday 2 May at 3pm. BBC One’s Countryfile will also report on the Awards on Sunday 8 May.
BEST DRINKS PRODUCER – Hallets Real Cider, Crumlin, Wales Presented by Jancis Robinson Hallets Real Cider is a traditional cider made with great skill by a former engineer Andy Hallett. Andy designed and built his own equipment to enable him to produce a unique range of ciders. He uses apples from his own orchard and has started to make a range of ciders aged in oak barrels.
THE ONE SHOW BEST STREET FOOD OR TAKEAWAY - Gourmet Goat, Borough Market, London Presented live on The One Show, BBC One Nadia and Nick Stokes, of Gourmet Goat, are on a mission to encourage more of us to realise the wonders of goat meat. Using billies from small British farms, they produce Mediterranean style dishes, which are sold at festivals across the UK and at their stall inside London’s Borough Market.
BEST FOOD PRODUCER - Charcutier Ltd - Carmarthenshire Presented by Ken Hom Illtud Llyr Dunsford and Liesel Taylor draw on their family history of on-farm curing to make heritage British products such as hand-salted bacons and hams. Mainly using the native rare Pedigree Welsh Pig from their farm, they also make continental cured/ semi dried or air-dried products such as Chorizo Semi-Curado, Italian Cured Fennel Sausage, and Cured Rose-Veal with Lemon and Thyme.
BEST FOOD MARKET - St Dogmaels' Local Producers Market, Pembrokeshire Presented by Diana Henry and Charlie Hicks St Dogmaels' Local Producers Market runs every Tuesday. Nestled between the ruins of a Medieval Abbey and a working watermill, it offers a wide range of local produce, including quality meats, dairy products and organic vegetables in a region with poor transport links to nearby bigger towns.
THE YOU AND YOURS BEST FOOD RETAILER AWARD - The Almerley Food Shop – Herefordshire Presented by Mitch Tonks Jason and Lisa Hudson bought The Bells Inn pub in Almeley village eight years ago. To tackle the limited access to fresh food in the village, they created a shop inside. As well as fresh meat and vegetables (some from growers in the community), they also sell deli treats including olives, pates and charcuterie.
FUTURE FOOD AWARD - Our Cow Molly, Sheffield Presented by Mike Gooding and Julia Glotz Our Cow Molly is a fresh milk brand created by the Andrew family, traditional dairy farmers based on the outskirts of Sheffield city centre. Convinced that they could get a premium for their milk by selling direct to customers, they now deliver to households in the city and Sheffield University.
BBC COOK OF THE YEAR - Dee Woods, Granville Community Kitchen, Kilburn, London Presented by Allegra McEvedy Dee is a volunteer cook at the Granville Community Kitchen in South Kilburn, London. Situated on an inner-city estate, Dee’s kitchen has been empowering her community through food by re-introducing fresh and diverse ingredients back into people’s diets. She serves fee meals, and teaches food skills to neighbours who would otherwise have little opportunity of learning to cook and improving their diets.
COUNTRYFILE’S FARMING HERO AWARD - Julia Evans, Worcestershire Presented by Adam Henson Having survived an aggressive form of breast cancer, Julia Evans wanted to use skills she developed as a farmer to help others. By converting part of the family farm, the Longlands Care Farm was born. She now specialises in helping teenagers on the margins of the education system and at risk of exclusion from school. Many who’ve gone to work on the farm have had their lives transformed.
DEREK COOPER OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT AWARD - Joan Morgan Presented by Tony Hall - BBC Director General Joan Morgan is a pomologist and a fruit historian. After decades of research, writing and campaigning, she has become a leading global authority on apples and pears - their history, varieties and flavours. In 1993, her Book Of Apples was published and is now regarded as the most authoritative text on the subject. Last year, her The Book Of Pears - The Definitive History And Guide To Over 500 Varieties was published following 15 years of research. Much of Joan Morgan’s time in recent years has been spent at The National Fruit Collection in Brogdale, where she gives her time voluntarily. She has tasted and identified thousands of varieties of apples and pears in the collection, and curates their archive - a undervalued role in a context of funding cuts. This work has given the collection world attention.
Notes to Editors Interviews with the judges can be arranged through the BBC Press Office. Sheila Dillon, presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Food Programme and one of the founders of the awards in 2000, is also available for interview.
Information on all the categories and their judges, and a list of previous winners, can be found at bbc.co.uk/foodawards.
The BBC Food and Farming Awards launches the city-wide food celebration Bristol Food Connections. The BBC is running a programme of talks and recordings at the festival.