Top names from the county’s food and drink industries crowded into the Royal & Derngate last night as the winners of this year’s Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards were announced.
The competition, which is now in its fifth year and was devised by Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership, is aimed at celebrating the excellence of local food produce by awarding titles in 13 categories.
Titles awarded included best new local drink, Aspire Chef of the Year, Young Chef of the Year and the Booker Food Pub of the Year.
The categories this year being supported by the Northamptonshire Telegraph and Northampton Chronicle & Echo were the Community Pub Of The Year, Town and Rural titles.
Winners came from across the county and included Oundle Mill (Restaurant Of The Year), 1833 India Pale Ale by Hart’s Family Brewers in Wellingborough (Best Artisan Local Drink), Harrington Dry Gin by Warner Edwards Distillery in Harrington (New Local Drink), Farrington’s Mellow Yellow Garlic Mayonnaise of Hargrave (Best New Local Product of the Year), Duncan Farrington (Local Food Hero), Nadir Hussain of Sedgebrook Hall (Spice Chef Of The Year) and Laura Gibbins from the World’s End at Ecton (Young Chef Of The Year).
Other winners included the George & Dragon, Chacombe (Best Community Pub, Rural) and the Olde England in Northampton (Best Community Pub, Town).
Gavin Austin, head chef at Oundle Mill, was also runner-up in the Aspire Chef Of The Year category, coming second to Lee Gaskins of Highgate House in Creaton.
Gavin was disappointed not to win the title but was delighted Oundle Mill managed to scoop the Restaurant Of The Year title.
He said: “This is my second year there and I think we have found what we wanted to do in our journey. In November we were closed for four months when there was a flood and we had to get it up and running again. But this is about my colleagues and the whole team as if it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t be sitting here with this trophy.”
Roy Crutchley from Hoggley’s Brewery in Litchborough won silver in the Best Artisan Local Drink category for his Indian Summer IPA. He said: “I brewed it in cask for three years and bottled it only last year. I always love cask beer but some beers, like an IPA, have a lot of hops. When I bottle it, it accentuates the hops. I thought IPA in a bottle would be brilliant.”
For a full round-up of the awards and interviews with the winners, see next week’s feature page in the Northampton Chronicle & Echo