News from WhitCo

Food and drink winners take centre stage at awards dinner

The county’s leading food professionals celebrated the best in food and drink at the Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards in Northampton. The competition, now in its tenth year, celebrates everything 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.

William Sitwell, Sophie Grigson and Vita Whitaker with the victorious team from The Palmichael.

For the second time in three years Palmichael, the Burton Latimer Italian restaurant, took home the Restaurant of the Year Award, sponsored by Whitco.

The winners of all 20 categories were presented with trophies designed by the Northampton firm Trinity Engineering – the figure 10 depicted as a bottle and plate to represent a decade of the Awards.  Masterchef winner, author and Wahaca restaurant group owner, Thomasina Miers and awards patrons William Sitwell and Sophie Grigson presented the awards.

Guests enjoyed a sumptuous three-course meal designed and created by Lee Scott, executive chef at Whittlebury Hall, and a team of culinary students from Northampton College who switched their regular classes for the experience of being part of the prestigious occasion.

The menu included a wealth of Northamptonshire ingredients, including a game terrine made using duck from award winners, Pastures Poultry Farm at Yardley Hastings, venison from Rutting Reds at Hannington as well as chutney from Northampton’s Friars Farm and goat cheese from Stanwick’s Neneview Dairy.

The local offering also continued into the puddings which used apples from New Creation Farm, blueberries from Mee Farmers at Nassington and chocolate from Corby’s Seed and Bean, accompanied by dessert wine generously provided by Amps Wine Merchants of Oundle, before concluding with petits fours generously provided by Belflair Chocolates of Brackley and tea courtesy of the Northampton’s Tea Lab Company.

Atul Kocchar, Britain’s first Indian chef to be awarded a Michelin Star was a judge at the Booker Young Chef of the Year cook-off final in September.  Atul admired their creativity, skills and calmness under pressure as they took on their two-hour cooking challenge, and paid tribute to the Awards and their impact on the sector over the last decade, something of which, he said, Northamptonshire should be most proud.

Thomasina spoke from experience of the value of competitive success following her television victory – which she admitted came despite her having served lumpy mashed potato to judge John Torode in the first episode! – and commended the Awards by congratulating all of those gathered for the evening’s celebration – whether finalists, sponsors, supporters or partners – for helping to create a spectacular culmination to its first ten years.

There was also a special presentation from the Lord Lieutenant of Northamptonshire, David Laing, who announced that the ‘Northamptonshire – Britain’s Best Surprise!’ marketing campaign would focus on the food and drink sector in 2019, pledging to bring the county’s culinary excellence to national attention.


F&B Achiever of the Year
Nicky Dorwood of Limes Farm Ltd and School Meals Ltd, Farthinghoe

Healthy Eating Workplace of the Year
Travis Perkins (Lodge Farm), Northampton

Farming Innovation Award
Courteenhall Farms, Courteenhall

Independent Café / Tea Room of the Year
The Water Mill Tearooms, Ringstead

Community Pub of the Year
Barratts Club, Northampton

Chairman’s Award
Duncan Farrington of Farrington Oils, Hargrave
Dean Hoddle of Silverstone Circuits, Silverstone

Booker Young Chef of the Year
Arturs Dzerins of The Hopping Hare, Northampton  

World Cuisine Restaurant of the Year
Voujon, Long Buckby 

Booker Food Pub of the Year
The White Horse, Kings Sutton

Restaurant of the Year
The Palmichael, Burton Latimer

Great Service Award
The Red Lion, Culworth

Chef of the Year
Harvey Lockwood of Murrays at Whittlebury Hall, Whittlebury

Royal Showstopper of the Year
Jeyes of Earls Barton, Earls Barton
Workbridge Coffee Shop, Northampton

Artisan Local Drink of the Year
Lord Barker – Gun Dog Ales, Woodford Halse

New Local Drink of the Year
Rubio – Towcester Mill Brewery, Towcester

Artisan Local Savoury Product of the Year
Free Range Chicken, Sage & Onion Sausage Roll – Pastures Poultry Farm Shop & Café, Yardley Hastings
Free Range Smoked Back Bacon – Waterloo Cottage Farm, Great Oxendon

Artisan Local Sweet Product of the Year
Apple with a Blackberry Ripple Ice Cream – Ganders Goat, Cottingham

Artisan Local Vegetarian / Vegan Product of the Year (sponsored by Daily Bread)
The Squire: potato, spinach & onion pie – Miss Millie’s Pies

One to Watch
Boot Town Brewery, Burton Latimer