This is an exciting one to be writing about on this blog, and to be involved in in general. I’ve teamed up with a group of fabulous people to help organise a real celebration of the best of Coventry & Warwickshire’s food and drink scene – the first Foodie Awards 2021.
I know it seems like a strange time, but this event has been in the planning for months now, and since long before COVID-19 was even a thing. The hospitality industry has been through – and is still going through – a dark time, but we felt that this new awards programme could be exactly what our region needs to celebrate and support businesses as they re-emerge from lockdown.
The awards, in partnership with Visit Coventry, will culminate in a ceremony in May following a finalists’ night on January 25th at the city’s new Telegraph Hotel – opening its doors for the first time later this year.
Judges and public votes will decide on winners in several categories that focus on quality, service and innovation with an emphasis on farm to fork and give pretty much everyone a chance to be recognised – from best artisan food and drink producers to best farm shop, best independent food and drink retailer, best newcomer, best street food trader and chef or cook of the year.
There will also be some special awards that recognise the extraordinary efforts of businesses and individuals throughout the coronavirus pandemic – Food Champion, sponsored by The Leamington Courier Series and Rugby Advertiser, the COVID-19 Resilience Award sponsored by Visit Coventry and The Godiva Award, sponsored by Coventry BID.
The project is being organised by Talk Business UK, Coventry BID and Visit Coventry, as well as Amanda Chalmers of ChalmersNewsPR and yours truly.
Foodie Awards Founder Jonathan Smith, of Talk Business UK, said: ”This will give a much-needed positive focus for the people in the Food and Drink sector across the region, delivering from farm to fork.
“With so many businesses hit by the direct and knock on effects of lockdown these awards will champion and celebrate the talent, passion, ingenuity and entrepreneurship of all those working so hard to grow, make, bake, brew, cook, host and serve their local communities. This awards program is for all of us to say thank you!”
Entries will open for nominations in a few weeks but we’re still on the lookout for sponsors. Sponsorship packages, which come with a whole host of benefits, are available from just £600 but we would also like to hear from businesses that can offer partnership services. Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Councillor Jim O’Boyle, cabinet member for jobs and regeneration, said: “The last few months have been tough but as restaurants and bars begin to open their doors again, it’s a good time to celebrate the great range of food and drink on offer in Coventry and I am delighted that Visit Coventry is able to be a partner in these awards.
“We have seen a wide range of independent and well-known chains open in
the city in recent years and these awards will give this sector a real boost.”
Trish Willetts, Coventry BID Director, said: “We are incredibly excited to be working with the team bringing the Coventry and Warwickshire Food & Drink Awards to the region. Coventry itself has a thriving foodie scene, with some great independent restaurants and bars in the city, and more to come later in the year.
“Whilst the last few months have been incredibly tough on the industry as a
whole, things are slowly starting to get back to normal and a new chapter is
beginning. The awards will be a fantastic way to celebrate this and give
businesses the recognition they very much deserve.”
The finalists’ night in January and awards ceremony – at a venue to be
announced – in May, will both be presided over by MC Kirsty Leahy of Kirsty Leahy Productions and will be raising money for The Trussell Trust network of eight food banks in Coventry and Warwickshire.
For a full list of categories and all the information, visit