After a year best forgotten, the county’s hospitality sector now has double the reason to celebrate with not only the full re-opening of hospitality, but also the launch of the Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards for 2021/22.
Created by the sector for the sector, the annual competition is aimed at raising a toast to all that is great about local produce and drink, recognising excellence within the county’s dining venues and rewarding those who work so hard within the culinary sector.
Now in its thirteenth year, the Awards are thrilled to have the continuing support of Weetabix as headline sponsors for a second year – a sign of the Burton Latimer company’s commitment to the county’s flourishing food and drink sector. The breakfast giant is joined by existing category sponsors Booker, British Pepper & Spice, Daily Bread, Dawn Farms, Heygates Flour and Animal Feed, Howes Percival LLP, Moulton College and Whitworth Bros Ltd Flour Millers as well as further continuing support from associate sponsors, Musk Process Services, SEMLEP (South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership) and Warner’s.
Additionally, this year’s competition sees the return of Thrapston-based Whitco Catering and Bakery Equipment Ltd as sponsors of the Independent Café / Tearoom of the Year category, one which makes a welcome reappearance to the line-up of categories that are now open to chefs, producers and eateries as well as students, entrepreneurs and food heroes.
It also again features the Weetabix Sustainability Award, which was introduced for the first time last year to reflect the company’s Change for Better commitment to sustainability.
Francesca Theokli, Marketing Director at Weetabix, said: “As a business deeply rooted in our local community, we know how much the success of Northamptonshire matters. The food and drink produced in Northamptonshire is truly second to none, and that’s definitely something worth celebrating.
“We’re delighted to be returning this year as headline sponsors – after what we know was a very tough year for lots of local businesses, these awards are a fantastic way for the sector to come together and support its own. We’re looking forward to the great – and hopefully very tasty – things on the horizon for food and drink in Northamptonshire.”
The full details of the new-look competition were revealed by Awards Director, Rachel Mallows MBE, at the launch which took place at Northampton’s Delapré Abbey, home of Restaurant Hibiscus, which not only took Gold in the Booker Dining Venue of the Year category in 2020, but also saw its head chef, Sam Squires, awarded the same accolade in the Chef of the Year category.
Sam revealed how both awards have been a huge boost to the venue: “The increased exposure, prompted by the announcements, saw a massive influx in new customers making reservations, so much so that we had to open our booking line early to try to cope with the demand.”
“It has also prompted us to review everything we do to ensure we create the best possible dining experience and inspired us to come up with some new and exciting ideas, not to mention generated such a feel-good factor across the team, meaning everyone is so looking forward to coming back after what has clearly been a rollercoaster year!”
For more details on all the categories in the Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards 2021/22, including downloading entry and nomination forms, visit the Awards website