I think this might be my most exciting project of the year! As I’ve mentioned before, I’m involved in organising the brand new Foodie Awards for Coventry & Warwickshire.
When we started planning the awards we all agreed that recognising quality was vital in making it stand out from other awards programmes. That includes having people involved – especially in judging – who recognise quality where they see it. With that in mind, we’ve managed to persuade some of the TOP names in food and drink to be involved – including the mighty Glynn Purnell.
The Yummie Brummy, who is set to open a restaurant in the heart of Coventry in 2021, will be a guest judge alongside several other top names in the industry.
The inaugural Foodie Awards 2021, in partnership with Visit Coventry, will recognise an array of food and drink businesses from producers to chefs, street food traders, restaurants and bars.
Entries are already pouring in for the awards, which will culminate in a ceremony in spring 2021 following a finalists’ night on January 25th at Coventry’s new Telegraph Hotel.
They will be judged by a mixture of esteemed judges and public votes, with Purnell appearing as a guest judge alongside his former employer Andreas Antona, owner of The Cross in Kenilworth, and Russell Allen, managing director of Aubrey Allen.
Purnell, who regularly appears on Saturday Kitchen, said: “Despite what some people might think, Coventry and Warwickshire is an area packed with great food and drink – hence my plan to open a restaurant here next year. It’s been a tough year for all of us in hospitality but these awards will help boost local businesses and recognise some of the great talent in the area. I’m looking forward to being involved.”
Categories for the awards include best artisan food and drink producers, best farm shop, best independent food and drink retailer, best newcomer, best street food trader and best chef or cook of the year, as well as best food/drink experience.
Three special awards will also recognise businesses and individuals who went above and beyond during the coronavirus pandemic – including a COVID-19 Resilience Award backed by Visit Coventry and The Godiva Award, sponsored by Coventry BID.
The Foodie Awards will be raising money for The Trussell Trust network of eight food banks in Coventry and Warwickshire.
Andreas Antona, chef owner of The Cross at Kenilworth and Simpsons in Edgbaston – both of which hold Michelin stars – will also be a guest judge.
Antona, who worked as a chef with some of the biggest names in the chef world before leaving the kitchen to focus on life as a restaurateur, is a passionate supporter of training and education and founded the Bocuse d’Or UK Academy, an organisation dedicated to supporting British chefs as they prepare for the Bocuse d’Or – the world’s largest and most prestigious cooking contest. Next month he will launch Antona at Home, a nationwide meal and food delivery service with a passion for produce at its heart.
“I’m a big believer in recognising excellence and helping encourage people strive to be the best,” he said. “Being part of an awards that champions the fantastic food and drink we have across the county is great and I look forward to seeing some of the talent we have in Coventry and Warwickshire.”
He will be joined by fellow judge Russell Allen, Managing Director of award-winning butcher Aubrey Allen, which is also sponsoring the awards.
“The Foodie Awards are a fabulous way to help recognise a sector that has had a tough year and is still working hard to recover from lockdown,” he added. “At Aubrey Allen we’re incredibly proud of our local area and always want to help support our fellow businesses, which is exactly what this does.”
Also on the judging panel will be Chris Hardy AKA ‘The Fat Foodie’ – a multi award-winning influencer and street food expert and fellow Stratford-based influencer Katie Matthews AKA ‘The Hangry Blonde’.
Chris said: “Being on board with something like this is great. I started my accounts because I wanted to shout about the small food and drink businesses who never get seen or heard among the big boys, and it’s great to see these awards doing the same thing. Bring it on.”
For more information on how to enter or to support the awards, visit https://foodieawards.co.uk
A full list of awards categories is below – for more details descriptions and criteria please visit the website at https://foodieawards.co.uk
- Farm Shop
- Artisan Drink Producer
- Artisan Food Producer
- Newcomer (established within 18 months of launch of awards)
- Independent Food/Drink Retailer
- Pub or Bar of the Year
- Restaurant of the Year
- Chef or Cook of the Year – Sponsored by Aubrey Allen
- Best Food/Drink Experience
- Street Food Trader of the Year
- Café/Coffee Shop of the Year
- Food Champion (People’s award) – Sponsored by The Courier – regional newspapers
- COVID-19 Resilience Award – in partnership with Visit Coventry
- Godiva Award (exclusive to Coventry) – Sponsored by Coventry BID