Businesses taste success at first Foodie Awards

Businesses taste success at first Foodie Awards

AN evening of celebration shone a light on some of the region’s best hospitality businesses in the finals of the first ever Coventry & Warwickshire Foodie Awards recently.

Coventry & Warwickshire Foodie Awards
Gordon Mazvihwa, Dal Dillhon and Kevin Sandhu of Dhillon’s Brewery

In partnership with Warwickshire County Council, Coventry BID and Visit Coventry, the first live local awards event since lockdown brought together more than 40 businesses on July 22nd vying for success across 15 food and drink categories.

The finalists had previously come under the scrutiny of a judging panel, including celebrity chef Glynn Purnell. And earlier in the month the ‘Yummy Brummie’ was joined by his former boss Andreas Antona, owner of The Cross in Kenilworth to preside over a cook-off to find the Chef of the Year.

The panel also consisted of Russell Allen, managing director of award-winning butcher Aubrey Allen; entrepreneur, investor and speaker John Stapleton and food influencer Chris Hardy AKA ‘The Fat Foodie’, as well as Foodie Awards committee members.

Coventry & Warwickshire Foodie Awards
Jessica Mooney and the Bread for Life team.

Two of the headline winners of the night were The Barn Kitchen, formerly of Binley Woods, which was named Foodie Champion, and Dhillon’s Brewery in Coventry which enjoyed triple awards success with: Artisan Drink Producer of the Year; Pub/Bar of the Year and The Godiva Award.

Kelly Iles and her team at The Barn Kitchen cooked more than 96,000 meals for frontline NHS workers over 100 days as well as sweet treats later on in the pandemic. Kelly, who now runs The Enchanted Tea Room in Leamington, dedicated the award to her late father who succumbed to Covid in January this year.

She said: “We were delighted to win this award after the most challenging 18 months in hospitality, but we felt that the need to step up to the plate was greater than that to save our business so our small deed to feed the NHS soon became a mammoth project. The frontline staff are the real heroes and we would like to dedicate our award to them as well as my Dad Ricky Perkins who would have been so proud to see us win.”

Coventry & Warwickshire Foodie Awards
Jay Alam with his Restaurant of the Year Award for Turmeric Gold in Coventry.

Reacting to a successful night for Dhillon’s Brewery, Trish Willetts, Director of Coventry BID and award sponsor, said: “The Coventry Brewery have their brewing facility by the CBS Arena, and took their first city centre unit during lockdown restrictions in early 2021. They opened in the Christchurch Spire, one of Coventry’s three iconic Spires, and have gone from strength to strength.

“During the same time the team turned their brewery into a hand sanitising manufacturing unit to help with the battle of the virus supplying city centre businesses. Now they are embarking on their second bar which will be the Coventry City Tavern, a sports bar due to open on the outskirts of the city centre in August, with sponsorship from Coventry’s very own football team. They hit adversity in the eyes and kept on, keeping on!”

Picking up one of the other special gongs, The Covid Resilience Award, was the mother and daughter team behind Hooray’s British Gelato Kitchen in Stratford-upon-Avon, Sara Young and Sasha Burke.

Sara said: “After an extremely difficult year we were thrilled to be recognised for this award. Like all small business owners at the beginning of the pandemic, the knowledge that there was no way we could service our debts or meet the financial commitments of our business, not to mention pay our staff or ourselves in the coming weeks, let alone months, was sickening.

“During the past 18 months we have had to diversify and adapt our business, as have many other hospitality venues. Being forced to develop a new way forward will hopefully not only mean the continuation but the growth of our business.”

Other Warwickshire winners included Warwick Street Kitchen in Leamington which was named Café/Coffee Shop of the Year.

Owner Lydia PapaphilippopoulosSnape, said: “The Foodie Awards was a much-needed celebration of the local hospitality industry so to be honoured with the win means a lot to us. The entire WSK team is super chuffed and humbled to be able to bring the award home – here’s to another year of serving our amazing community!”

Teenager George Carter from Bishops Tachbrook established Pasta Brothers at the start of the first lockdown after his GCSEs were cancelled. Today he is winning awards.

Collecting the Best Newcomer Award, he said: “I was so bored and demotivated that I decided to combine my love for cooking Italian food with my desire to make money and I started Pasta Brothers in May 2020. What began as a hobby selling to family and friends grew quickly to the business it is today.

“There are some incredibly talented people in Coventry and Warwickshire and it was an honour to be among them all at FarGo Village during the awards on Thursday evening.”

Coventry & Warwickshire Foodie Awards
George Cambridge and the team representing Warwick Street Kitchen which won Best Cafe or Coffee Shop.

Price’s Spices in Leamington scooped two awards for Artisan Food Producer of the Year and Express to Success (joint winner with Swirls Gelato, of Leamington.)

Owner Michael Price said: “These awards acknowledge the hard work that goes into making the products and running the business. Being part of the Foodie Awards shows the strength and diversity of independent food businesses in Coventry and Warwickshire and how well supported they are by people in the region.

“By also winning the ‘Express to Success’ award this gives us great confidence that our product range is ready for a wider audience.”

Farm Shop of the Year was awarded to Hilltop Farm Shop and Cafe in Leamington.

Coventry & Warwickshire Foodie Awards
Hilltop Farm team.

Farm Shop Manager Lotte Ellis said: “It is so wonderful to be recognised as leaders in championing all things local and for the judges to appreciate our farm to fork ethos. The award night was a brilliant showcase of lots of great local businesses and there was some tough competition, so it meant an awful lot to win this one!

“It’s been a really tough time for everyone over the past 18 months and our Farm Shop has really thrived as people have chosen to shop local and take a greater interest in where their food comes from, so we have loved being able to reach more people and reduce food miles for many.”

Jessica Mooney collected the Food or Drink Experience Award for her artisan breadmaking school Bread for Life, in Leamington. Reacting to the award, she said: “I’m absolutely thrilled.”

Coventry & Warwickshire Foodie Awards
Tobias Reutt receives his Chef of the Year award from Russell Allen.

But it was a Coventry business that beat off strong opposition to claim the prestigious Restaurant of the Year award, marking the 20th anniversary for Turmeric Gold in Spon Street.

Owner Jay Alam said: “We are absolutely thrilled. It’s a tremendous accolade which is all the more meaningful as we are this year celebrating our 20th year in business.

“We have always taken pride in not only delivering the highest quality of service, but having the ability to evolve to ensure we meet the ever changing needs of our customers, but never losing sight of our commitment to providing the ultimate dining experience.

Jay was also a finalist in the Chef/Cook of the Year category which was eventually won by Tobias Reutt who runs Earlsdon Supper Club.

Tobias, who has only been operating for two years, said: “I’m over the moon. The awards have provided an impressive platform for the industry. We’ve already started arranging collaborations with several finalists for ESC at Home experiences, so keep your eyes peeled.”

Independent Business of the Year was awarded to Proof Bakery in Coventry.

Founded to help refugee women learn professional baking skills and find steady employment, they also offer business deliveries and run popular bread-making workshops for the public.

Chernise Neo, owner, said: “We are completely over the moon! This award is a real encouragement following the many pandemic pivots of the last 15 months. A pat on the back to our whole team including our refugee bakers and a nod towards the ways that independent food businesses contribute to their local economy and community.”

Coventry-based Stripclub Streetfood claimed the headlines in the Best Streetfood category. Owner Tom Hope said: “This is an amazing achievement for us and it’s great to be recognised for the journey we’ve had thus far. The recognition means such a lot for a small independent company like ours.”

The all-new Coventry & Warwickshire Foodie Awards are the result of 18 months of planning for the committee, a partnership between Talk Business UK, Coventry BID, Visit Coventry, Eat With Ellen and Chalmers News PR.

Coventry & Warwickshire Foodie Awards
Tom Hope of Stripclub Streetfood

Jonathan Smith, of Talk Business UK, said: “I’m both relieved and inspired to have finally been able to host the first Foodie Awards and welcome all the finalists, supporters and guests to celebrate their amazing achievements from the last 18 months.

“It’s fair to say that, after a series of postponements, at times we had our doubts about whether it could even happen, but all the organisers felt strongly that it would be a much-needed boost to the industry as it emerged from a very difficult time, so we were determined to adapt and push on.

“A big thank you as well to all our sponsors, without whom the night would not have been such a huge success – Visit Coventry (Coventry City Council); Visit Warwickshire (Warwickshire County Council); CW LEP; Comesto; Aubrey Allen; BID Coventry; NFU Mutual Central Warwickshire and Warwickshire College Group. Now bring on Foodie Awards 2022!”

Coventry & Warwickshire Foodie Awards
Leader of WCC Cllr Izzi Seccombe presents the Independent Business of the Year Award to Chernise Neo of Proof Bakery
Coventry & Warwickshire Foodie Awards
Cllr Jim O’Boyle

Councillor Jim O’Boyle, cabinet member for tourism at Coventry City Council said, “I was delighted to see so many businesses represented at the awards – they did our thriving food and drink sector proud. They gave a real boost to the hospitality sector in Coventry and Warwickshire and at just the right time. It’s been a tough year, but the awards ceremony reminded us that there’s great food and drink in our high street names, our independents and our new businesses.”

The event, which was hosted at The Box at Coventry’s FarGo Village, also raised more than £1,000 for the nominated charity, The Trussell Trust network of eight foodbanks in Coventry and Warwickshire.

Samantha Stapley, chief operating officer at the Trussell Trust, said: “The support of the Foodie Awards will help food banks within our network continue to provide the lifeline of emergency support for local people in crisis, while we work in the long term to build a hunger-free future.

“As the pandemic continues, more people are likely to need a food bank’s help. Food bank teams are working tirelessly to ensure help continues to be available.”

Organiser and compere Jonathan Smith of Talk Business UK.

Look out soon for news of the opening date for entries to the Foodie Awards 2022. Or keep an eye on the website at: www.foodieawards.co.uk

Final countdown is on to enter Coventry & Warwickshire Foodie Awards

Final countdown is on to enter Coventry & Warwickshire Foodie Awards

THERE are just a few days left to enter the first Coventry & Warwickshire Foodie Awards.

The new Foodie Awards 2021, in partnership with Warwickshire County Council and Visit Coventry, is a celebration of the best of the region’s food and drink scene as they re-emerge from the pandemic year.

Entrants will be showcasing their talents to a panel of judges made up of some of the top names in the industry, including chef Glynn Purnell, appearing alongside his former employer Andreas Antona, owner of The Cross in Kenilworth, and Russell Allen, managing director of Aubrey Allen.

Coventry & Warwickshire Foodie Awards, Talk Business UK, Visit Coventry, Coventry BID, Glynn Purnell, Andreas Antona, Aubrey Allen, Heather Timms, Warwickshire County Council, The Fat Foodie

‘Yummy Brummie’ Glynn Purnell, pictured above, who regularly appears on TV’s Saturday Kitchen, said: “It’s been a tough year for all of us in hospitality but these awards will help boost local businesses and recognise some of the great talent in the area. I’m looking forward to being involved.”

Also on the judging panel will be Chris Hardy AKA ‘The Fat Foodie’ – a multi award-winning influencer and street food expert and fellow Stratford-based influencer Katie Matthews AKA ‘The Hangry Blonde’.

County Councillor Heather Timms, Portfolio Holder for Environment, Heritage and Culture at Warwickshire County Council, said: “We all know what a difficult year it has been for the Retail and Hospitality Industry so awards like this help to shine a spotlight on the fantastic, innovative and hard-working businesses we have across Warwickshire and beyond.

Coventry & Warwickshire Foodie Awards, Talk Business UK, Visit Coventry, Coventry BID, Glynn Purnell, Andreas Antona, Aubrey Allen, Heather Timms, Warwickshire County Council, The Fat Foodie
County Councillor Heather Timms, Portfolio Holder for Environment, Heritage and Culture at Warwickshire County Council

“These awards complement the newly created ‘Visit Warwickshire‘ website as well as the Survive, Sustain & Grow businesses support programme created by the County Council this year to help businesses through the pandemic.

“I would encourage all foodie businesses out there to submit an entry and get involved to help increase visibility and promote their business. Good Luck everyone!”

There are only a few days remaining to enter the inaugural awards, which closes on December 31st. This will be followed by a finalists’ night on January 25th at Coventry’s new Telegraph Hotel and then a grand ceremony in the spring.

Categories for the awards include best artisan food and drink producers, best farm shop, best independent food and drink retailer, best newcomer, best street food trader and best chef or cook of the year, as well as best food/drink experience.

Three special awards will also recognise businesses and individuals who went above and beyond during the coronavirus pandemic – including a COVID-19 Resilience Award backed by Visit Coventry and The Godiva Award, sponsored by Coventry BID.

The Foodie Awards will be raising money for The Trussell Trust network of eight food banks in Coventry and Warwickshire.

Main organiser Jonathan Smith, of Talk Business UK, said: ”With just a few weeks to go we are delighted with the fantastic response to the Foodie Awards for Coventry and Warwickshire.

Foodie Awards 2021, Coventry BID, Visit Coventry, Trish Willetts, Eat With Ellen, Talk Business UK, Jonathan Smith, Councillor Jim O’Boyle

“Now with over 150 entries across all the award categories the entry level is fantastic. By far the most entries are in the Newcomer category which just shows that the COVID pandemic has inspired so many to follow their dreams and start their own businesses. We too have been inspired by their stories, achievements and commitment to their businesses and communities.

There is still time to enter so please encourage all those you know to be part of this exciting new awards program.”

For more information on how to enter or to support the awards, visit https://foodieawards.co.uk

Entries open for Coventry & Warwickshire Foodie Awards 2021

Entries open for Coventry & Warwickshire Foodie Awards 2021

ENTRIES are open for a brand new food awards that will celebrate the very best of the food and drink scene in Coventry and Warwickshire.

The inaugural Foodie Awards 2021, in partnership with Visit Coventry, launched in July and will recognise businesses across the sector, from artisan producers to chefs, street food traders, restaurants and bars.

Three special awards will also recognise businesses and individuals who went above and beyond during the coronavirus pandemic – including a COVID-19 Resilience Award sponsored by Visit Coventry and The Godiva Award, sponsored by Coventry BID.

Esteemed butcher Aubrey Allen is also sponsoring the awards, with Managing Director Russell Allen set to join the panel of judges.

Foodie Awards, Coventry & Warwickshire, Visit Coventry, Coventry BID, Talk Business UK

Entries for the awards, which will culminate in a ceremony in spring 2021 following a finalists’ night on January 25th at Coventry’s new Telegraph Hotel, officially opened on Friday, August 7 and businesses across Warwickshire and Coventry are urged to get involved.

Categories include best artisan food and drink producers, best farm shop, best independent food and drink retailer, best newcomer, best street food trader and best chef or cook of the year, as well as best food/drink experience.

The categories will be judged by a mixture of respected figures in the local food and drink scene, as well as public votes, with the awards focused on quality, passion, great taste and personality across Coventry & Warwickshire.

Foodie Awards Founder Jonathan Smith, of Talk Business UK, said: ”Since we launched the Foodie Awards last month, we’ve had an amazing response from people across the county who agree that it’s time to really shout about the fabulous food and drink scene we have in Coventry & Warwickshire.

“This sector in particular has had a tough time this year and the Foodie Awards are aimed to give a much-needed boost for all the producers, makers, traders, restaurants, cafes and chefs who have worked so hard and celebrate the vibrant, quality scene that they help to create.

“We’ve created a range of categories that will allow anyone to enter, whether they’re an artisan gin producer, a pop-up restaurant founder or someone who goes the extra mile to champion food and drink in Coventry & Warwickshire. No business is too big or small and we can’t wait to see some of the entries.

“We’ve got lots planned that will make the Foodie Awards really stand out from the crowd and can’t wait to share it.”

Emma Schoolar, Trussell Trust, Foodie Awards, Coventry & Warwickshire, Visit Coventry, Coventry BID, foodbanks
Emma Schoolar, Area Manager for the Trussell Trust

The Foodie Awards will be raising money for The Trussell Trust network of eight food banks in Coventry and Warwickshire.

Emma Schoolar, Area Manager for the Trussell Trust, said: “Having the support of the Foodie Awards will make such a difference to food banks in our network across Coventry and Warwickshire.

“As the impact of coronavirus continues to ripple out across our communities, we’re expecting more people to be forced to a food bank.

“But it doesn’t have to be like this. This can change. As a country, we can make changes which would protect people from being swept into poverty.

“This support will help food banks to get emergency help to people safely, while we work together towards a future where everyone has enough money for essentials. Thank you so much.”

The awards’ headline sponsor is Visit Coventry, with other sponsorship packages still available. Sponsorship comes with a host of benefits and there are also opportunities for businesses to get involved on a partnership basis. For more information contact hello@foodieawards.co.uk

A full list of awards categories is below – for more details descriptions and criteria please visit the website at https://foodieawards.co.uk

  • Farm Shop
  • Artisan Drink Producer
  • Artisan Food Producer
  • Newcomer (established within 18 months of launch of awards)
  • Independent Food/Drink Retailer
  • Pub or Bar of the Year
  • Restaurant of the Year
  • Chef or Cook of the Year – Sponsored by Aubrey Allen
  • Best Food/Drink Experience
  • Street Food Trader of the Year
  • Café/Coffee Shop of the Year
  • Food Champion (People’s award) – Sponsored by The Courier – regional newspapers
  • COVID-19 Resilience Award – in partnership with Visit Coventry
  • Godiva Award (exclusive to Coventry) – Sponsored by Coventry BID
UNVEILING: Coventry and Warwickshire Foodie Awards. . .

UNVEILING: Coventry and Warwickshire Foodie Awards. . .

A CELEBRATION of the best of Coventry and Warwickshire’s food and drink scene is at the heart of a new awards program designed to support businesses as they re-emerge from lockdown.

The first Foodie Awards 2021, in partnership with Visit Coventry, will culminate in a ceremony in May following a finalists’ night on January 25th at the city’s new Telegraph Hotel – opening its doors for the first time later this year.

Foodie Awards 2021, Coventry BID, Visit Coventry, Trish Willetts, Eat With Ellen, Talk Business UK, Jonathan Smith, Councillor Jim O’Boyle

Judges and public votes will decide on winners in several categories that focus on quality, service and innovation with an emphasis on farm to fork, including best artisan food and drink producers, farm shop, independent food and drink retailer, newcomer, street food trader and chef or cook of the year.

Three further special awards will also recognise the extraordinary efforts of businesses and individuals throughout the coronavirus pandemic – Food Champion, sponsored by The Leamington Courier Series and Rugby Advertiser; the COVID-19 Resilience Award sponsored by Visit Coventry and The Godiva Award, sponsored by Coventry BID.

The project brings together the creative minds behind Talk Business UK, Coventry BID and Visit Coventry, to champion the hospitality industry across the region.

Foodie Awards 2021, Jonathan Smith, Talk Business UK, Visit Coventry, Coventry BID, Trish Willetts, Eat With Ellen
Jonathan Smith

Foodie Awards Founder Jonathan Smith, of Talk Business UK, said: ”This will give a much-needed positive focus for the people in the Food and Drink sector across the region, delivering from farm to fork.

“With so many businesses hit by the direct and knock on effects of lockdown these awards will champion and celebrate the talent, passion, ingenuity and entrepreneurship of all those working so hard to grow, make, bake, brew, cook, host and serve their local communities. This awards program is for all of us to say thank you!”

Entries will open for nominations in a few weeks but sponsors are invited to get in touch via: hello@foodieawards.co.uk

Sponsorship packages, which come with a whole host of benefits, are available from just £600 but the organisers would also like to hear from businesses that can offer partnership services.

Foodie Awards 2021, Coventry BID, Visit Coventry, Trish Willetts, Eat With Ellen, Talk Business UK, Jonathan Smith, Councillor Jim O’Boyle
Councillor Jim O’Boyle

Councillor Jim O’Boyle, cabinet member for jobs and regeneration said: “The last few months have been tough but as restaurants and bars begin to open their doors again, it’s a good time to celebrate the great range of food and drink on offer in Coventry and I am delighted that Visit Coventry is able to be a partner in these awards.

“We have seen a wide range of independent and well-known chains open in the city in recent years and these awards will give this sector a real boost.”

 

Trish Willetts

Trish Willetts, BID Director, said: “We are incredibly excited to be working with the team bringing the Coventry and Warwickshire Food & Drink Awards to the region. Coventry itself has a thriving foodie scene, with some great independent restaurants and bars in the city, and more to come later in the year.

“Whilst the last few months have been incredibly tough on the industry as a whole, things are slowly starting to get back to normal and a new chapter is beginning. The awards will be a fantastic way to celebrate this and give businesses the recognition they very much deserve.”

The finalists’ night in January and awards ceremony – at a venue to be announced – in May, will both be presided over by MC Kirsty Leahy of Kirsty Leahy Productions.

The Foodie Awards, which will be raising money for The Trussell Trust network of eight foodbanks in Coventry and Warwickshire, are also being produced in partnership with journalist Amanda Chalmers of ChalmersNewsPR, based in Warwick and food blogger Ellen Manning, from Rugby.

For a full list of categories and all the information, visit https://foodieawards.co.uk