On Sunday 11 January, BBC Radio 4’s The Food Programme opened nominations for the 15th year of the BBC Food & Farming Awards and called on people in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to nominate their local cooks, markets, food businesses and food heroes. Nominations are open for two weeks via www.bbc.co.uk/foodawards.
The UK-wide awards celebrate the people and organisations in Britain who produce and sell quality food. The panel will be looking for winners in a range of categories: Best Food Producer, Best Drinks Producer, Best Food Market, Best Local Food Retailer, Best Takeaway/Street food, Cook of The Year, Best Food Initiative and a new award for this year, Countryfile’s Farming Hero Award.
Over the coming fortnight, BBC radio, television and online audiences will be encouraged to get involved and submit nominations. In its 15th year, the BBC Food & Farming Awards will feature on BBC One’s Saturday Kitchen and Countryfile, Radio 4’s The Food Programme, You & Yours and Farming Today as well as across BBC local and national radio stations.
The judging team includes some of the most respected experts on food and drink in the UK including Angela Hartnett, Sheila Dillon, Giorgio Locatelli, Richard Corrigan and Charlotte Smith. Chef Cyrus Todiwala, broadcaster, food writer and chair of judges, said: “Passion and pride in British food can be found all around us, from our local retailers and markets to street food traders and producers. Our aim with these awards is to celebrate the best of British food and to shout to the world about how great we really are!”
Sheila Dillon, award founder and presenter of Radio 4’s The Food Programme said: “These awards were set up to celebrate the achievements of dedicated and passionate food producers, chefs and farmers throughout the UK. Without communities sharing their support, knowledge and nominations we wouldn’t be able to recognise their achievements and I can’t wait to see which artisans and initiatives we discover this year.”
As the longest running food event of its kind in the UK these awards have captured changes in food and drink in Britain over the last 15 years. Previous winners tell stories ranging from the British cheese making renaissance and the explosion in craft brewing in the UK, through to the revolution in school food and supermarket initiatives to reduce food waste.
Once the judges have selected a shortlist for each of the categories, they will visit each finalist in person. Winners will be announced at the BBC Food & Farming Awards ceremony in Bristol on Thursday 30 April. The ceremony will launch Bristol Food Connections, which runs from 1 to 9 May. A partnership between the BBC, Bristol City Council, UWE, Bristol University and other Bristol institutions, the festival is a citywide food festival that celebrates Bristol’s diverse food culture and community. For more information visit bristolfoodconnections.com.