As the clock ticks down to tonight’s first course in the Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards celebration, the remaining finalists have just hours to wait to discover if they will walk away with one of two new, prestigious culinary titles.
They are a quintet of county firms aiming to take the ‘Weetabix Sustainability Award’, which was introduced this year to reflect the competition’s new headline sponsor’s ‘Change for Better’ commitment to sustainability and which is designed to recognise and celebrate an individual, business or organisation for a product, drink, process or project which has made the most positive impact across the breakfast giant’s four-pillar framework; sustainable ingredients, reduction of packaging waste, efficient operations and health and wellbeing.
The five finalists vying for that glory are (in alphabetical order):
- Blue Skies, Pitsford
- Farrington Oils, Hargrave
- Ganders Goat, Cottingham
- The Good Loaf, Northampton
- Waterloo Cottage Farm, Great Oxendon
Having been selected from an impressive array of entries – demonstrating the sector’s awareness of the dangers of depleting natural resources and the need to maintain ecological balance – the five were interviewed by an expert panel of judges, including Weetabix’s Supply Chain and Technical Director, John Petre, John Clarke, who is the longest serving Member of category sponsor, Daily Bread, and the Chair of the Centre for Sustainable Business Practices at the University of Northampton, Dr Amin Far.
The results, which will see finalists awarded Gold, Silver or Bronze for this unprecedented year only, will be announced at the first course of the virtual online Awards celebration taking place at 7pm tonight. To watch the event, visit www.youtube.com and search #WNFAD20.
Meanwhile the results in the competition’s other new category for 2020/21, that of ‘Food and Drink College Student of the Year’ (sponsored by Moulton College), will be revealed at the second course of the Awards celebration, which will take place at a later date, once lockdown restrictions have lifted.
This category was introduced to shine a spotlight on those full- and part-time students showing drive for, and commitment to, the sector, who demonstrate an eagerness to learn, exceptional progress in skills development and who are young ambassadors for food and drink education.
The five shortlisted, who at their final stage interviews were questioned on their passion for all things culinary, their greatest food and drink achievements in and out of the classroom and their ambitions for their future in the sector, now have a little longer to enjoy their finalist status before discovering if a Gold, Silver or Bronze is their prize.
They are (in alphabetical order):
- Bryan Dimalaluan – Tresham College
- Austin Howsam – Northampton College
- Joseph Kent – Tresham College
- Patryk Kosmala – Tresham College
- Mia Patterson – Moulton College
Despite COVID-19 forcing the usual springtime launch of the competition to be delayed and an inevitable streamlining of the category line-up, Awards Director, Rachel Mallows MBE DL, says she’s thrilled that this pair of new titles have been able to go ahead, reflecting as they do two different elements of the future of the sector: “Food and drink in Northamptonshire has gone from strength to strength over the last ten years or so and while of course 2020 is still proving to be tough for so many, you only have to look at the incredible efforts shown by these two sets of finalists to know that hard work, responsible practice and dedication to excellence are key factors in ensuring that that prosperity continues for decades to come” said Rachel.
“So, with just a few hours to go until we reveal some of the categories’ results, I want to thank our sponsors for their continuing support and of course wish all of our finalists the best of luck and hope that they will dress up and raise a glass tonight as we gather online to toast the entire sector for its remarkable resilience!” she added.
The results of those categories whose finalists are able to remain trading during lockdown – the product, drink and related business categories, including the Weetabix Sustainability Award – will be announced at the first course of the virtual online Awards celebration, taking place tonight at 7pm. To watch the event, visit www.youtube.com and search #WNFAD20.
Owing to lockdown, the results of the remaining categories celebrating the hospitality sector – such as Booker Dining Venue, World Cuisine Restaurant and Chef of the Year – will be announced at the second course of the virtual online Awards celebration at a later date, following the end of lockdown 2.
For more information on the Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards 2020/21, please visit www.northamptonshirefoodanddrink.co.uk or call Rachel Mallows on 01933 664437 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Meanwhile for the results from tonight’s virtual event and further details on how you can join the second course of the virtual Awards celebration when they are announced, please follow the Awards on Facebook at @foodawards or Twitter and Instagram at @foodawardsHQ or on LinkedIn at @weetabixnfadawards.