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With the full re-opening of the hospitality sector just around the corner, the trophy cabinets at some of the county’s fi nest eateries are being polished to within an inch of their lives, ready to show off their gongs in the Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards!

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.

Last month the 2020/21 competition came to its heady conclusion with the third course of awards announced during a live, online broadcast, generously hosted by Northampton’s Royal & Derngate and a plethora of local fi rms are now celebrating!

The three category results revealed were those of Food and Drink College Student of the Year (sponsored by Moulton College), World Cuisine Restaurant of the Year (sponsored by British Pepper & Spice) and Booker Dining Venue of the Year (sponsored by Booker), with those of the last category offering Village Connect readers a wealth of amazing places to dine. They are:

GOLD WINNERS: Restaurant Hibiscus, Northampton The Willow and Brook, Apethorpe

SILVER WINNERS: The Griffi n’s Head, Mears Ashby The Hopping Hare, Northampton The Tollemache Arms, Harrington

BRONZE WINNERS: Italian Market Kitchen, Rothwell Nuovo, Northampton The Red Lion Hotel, East Haddon The Saracen’s Head, Little Brington

Among those now celebrating with a Gold in the ‘Booker Dining Venue’ category are Suzanne and Jim Millar of The Willow and Brook in Apethorpe, adding to the Bronze which Jim picked up in the ‘Chef of the Year’ category. Having opened in January 2020, just eight weeks before the pandemic hit, it has been an incredibly tough twelve months for the couple, but they are delighted to gain 46 With the full re-opening of the and Booker Dining Venue of the Year (sponsored by Booker), The Willow and Brook, Apethorpe 47 these two prestigious accolades, which, they say, go a long way to making all their hard work worthwhile.

The online celebration began with a welcome from the winner of the inaugural series of BBC MasterChef, Thomasina Miers, who recalled how impressed she had been by the talents shown across the sector in Northamptonshire on her visit to the county in 2018, when she presented the trophies at the end-of-year Awards dinner.

Having gained her own reputation through a competition, and as a restaurateur herself, she also congratulated those on the venue category shortlists on not only fi nding the resilience to enter the Awards, but also in succeeding to the fi nal stages, before crossing her fi ngers for all involved.

Weetabix Marketing Director, Francesca Theokli then highlighted the value of the competition beyond its obvious benefi ts to the winners and why the company has played such an active role: “Weetabix is immensely proud to have participated as headline sponsor, helping not to only to shape the Awards but also sitting on the judging panels and leading some of its vital business support webinars. This competition has seen resilience, dedication and creativity in abundance shown by so many and through maintaining and reinforcing a sense of community across the Northamptonshire food and drink sector, we are thrilled to support its ultimate aim of sowing the seeds for future growth”.

For the full list of the results across all the categories in this year’s competition, or for more information on the Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards 2020/21, 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.

For details of the launch of the 2021/22 competition later in the spring, please follow the Awards on Facebook at @foodawards or Twitter and Instagram at @foodawardsHQ or on 

 Weetabix Northamptonshire Food & Drink Awards 2020/21 Weetabix Northamptonshire Food & Drink Awards 2020/21