While 2020 was a challenging year for the county’s culinary sector, some of its fi nest businesses were enjoying a well-earned reason to celebrate after walking away with the top accolades in this year’s Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards on Thursday 12th November.

The competition, now in its twelfth year, is run by the sector for the sector and is aimed at publicly applauding 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.

The Awards year usually culminates in a glittering celebration staged at Northampton’s Royal & Derngate but, owing to social distancing rules, the results of half of the categories were instead announced as part of a recorded, online ‘fi rst course’ event, generously hosted by the theatre, with those of the categories in the hospitality sector to be revealed in the ‘second course’ at a later date.

The online celebration began with a welcome from Awards Patron, William Sitwell, who spoke of the remarkable resilience shown by the sector over the last six months and, despite those challenges, of its impressive ability to continue to produce some of the fi nest food that the country has to offer.

Those were sentiments then echoed by Weetabix Marketing Director, Francesca Theokli, who congratulated all those fi nalists involved in the competition and revealed the breakfast giant’s pride in playing its part in offering deserved recognition to the extraordinary entrepreneurial spirit, care, endurance and passion which each has displayed during the toughest of years.

The broadcast concluded with closing remarks from Awards Director, Rachel Mallows MBE DL, who not only offered her further congratulations to the Awards recipients but also thanked those who enabled the competition to proceed at a time when their support was needed more than ever.

The year, fi nalists were awarded Gold, Silver or Bronze and the category Gold winners were:

Artisan Local Product of the Year (sponsored by Heygates Flour and Animal Feed): Giardiniera by Nakasero, Northampton, and Sweet Potato Pie with Spinach and Tomato by Sol Laug Havens CIC, Moulton

Artisan Local Vegetarian / Vegan Product of the Year (sponsored by Daily Bread): Giardiniera by Nakasero, Northampton, and Salted Vanilla Popcorn by What’s Poppin’,

Northampton Artisan Local Drink of the Year: Blue Aurora Ice by Lutton Farm, Lutton and Stonyfield Rosé 2016 by Stonyfield Wine, Blisworth

One To Watch (sponsored by Whitworth Bros. Ltd Flour Millers): What’s Poppin’, Northampton and Whittlebury Bakery, Whittlebury.

F&B Achiever of the Year (sponsored by Howes Percival): Richard Gordon of The Greedy Gordons, Twywell

Lifetime Achievement Award (sponsored by Howes Percival): Dennis Willmott of The Bell Inn, Finedon

Weetabix Sustainability Award (sponsored by Weetabix): Farrington Oils, Hargrave

Additionally, in a move prompted by a desire to reward some of the many businesses within the sector who have shown incredible efforts during the pandemic, there was a further surprise announcement by the LordLieutenant for Northamptonshire, James Saunders-Watson, of fi ve Gold recipients of the COVID-19 Local Hero of the Year, recognising those who have played, and continue to play, such a vital role in supporting their local communities.

COVID-19 Local Hero of the Year:

John Brownhill of Food4Heroes

Green Acres Rural Enterprises CIC, Staverton

Teresa McCarthy of The Swan and Helmet, Northampton

The Red Lion, Cranford

Wharf Distillery, Towcester

The results of the remaining categories in the hospitality sector will be announced at the second course of the virtual online Awards celebration at a later date.

Those categories are:

Booker Dining Venue of the Year (sponsored by Booker)

Booker Young Chef of the Year (sponsored by Booker)

Chef of the Year (sponsored by Dawn Farms)

Food and Drink College Student of the Year (sponsored by Moulton College)

Local Food Hero of the Year (sponsored by Northampton College)

World Cuisine Restaurant of the Year (sponsored by British Pepper & Spice)

For the full list of the fi rst course results and of the remaining category fi nalists or to watch the video of the awards ceremony, please visit: www.northamptonshirefoodanddrink.co.uk

For more details, contact Rachel Mallows on 01933 664437 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Facebook at @foodawards or Twitter and Instagram at @foodawardsHQ or on LinkedIn at @weetabixnfadawards. 

Weetabix Northamptonshire Food & Drink Awards 2020/21

Weetabix Northamptonshire Food & Drink Awards 2020/21