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The heat is on as Northamptonshire Food & Drink Awards are launched

The awards, devised by Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership, are aimed at celebrating all that is great about local produce and drink, recognising excellence within the county’s dining venues and rewarding those who work within the culinary sector.

And there are more awards than ever to be presented this year – 18, to be precise, thanks to the support of headline sponsor Carlsberg UK, fellow sponsors Booker, British Pepper & Spice, Heygates Flour and Animal Feed, Moulton College, Northamptonshire County Council, Pidy UK, Weetabix, Whitco and Whitworth Bros Ltd and two new sponsors: the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner at Northamptonshire Police and TMI Foods.

This yea’s competition was launched yesterday (Tuesday) in the new £1.2 million Quality and Innovation Building of Whitworth Bros. Ltd flour millers’ headquarters in Wellingborough.

Speaking before an audience made up of reigning champions, sponsors, judges and competition partners, NEP chairman John Markham said the awards recognise the important role that the food and drink sector plays in Northamptonshire.

He added: “It has long been recognised that Northamptonshire’s economy benefits hugely from the food and drink sector, currently contributing £1.5 billion each year.

"Moulton College’s recent announcement of a new £5 million Food & Drink Technology Academy is testament to the importance of continuing to provide local people with the right skills to support the industry.

“The long-running awards are an opportunity to celebrate the talented individuals from a broad range of large and small businesses and their outstanding achievements year after year.”

Whitworth Bros managing director Roger Butler said the firm was keen to once again play its part in the competition. “We are delighted to be sponsoring the awards again this year as it is a great way to for us to raise our profile and to show our support for the sector here in the county.

“We are also very proud of this fabulous new facility and hosting the launch has given us the opportunity to show it off to some of the other key local food businesses and demonstrate what a progressive and innovative company we are.”

Guests tucked into muffins and croissants freshly prepared in the on-site innovation bakery. Following the speeches, they were also treated to a tour of one of the four mills at the Wellingborough site to watch the milling process from the intake of wheat to the milling and grinding, before seeing the flour being discharged into the company’s now famous bright yellow tankers.

Awards director Rachel Mallows, of The Mallows Company, said: “These awards were established to help drive the growth within food and drink in the county and we have seen the competition achieve just that through tourism spend, business development and job creation.

“With the support of our fabulous brands in Northamptonshire, it is no wonder that the sector continues to thrive and we are confident that this will indeed be another magnificent year.”

For more details on all eighteen categories in the Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards 2015/16, including downloading entry forms or how to nominate in the Independent Café / Tea Room, Local Food Hero, Healthy Eating Workplace and F&B Achiever of the Year categories, visit the Awards’ website at www.northamptonshirefoodanddrink.co.uk or contact Rachel Mallows on 01933 664437 or e-mail rachel@rachelmallows.com

Follow the Awards on twitter at @foodawardsHQ or on Facebook at facebook.com/foodawards

Artisan Local Savoury Product of the Year
Artisan Local Sweet Product of the Year
Artisan Local Drink of the Year
New Local Product of the Year
New Local Drink of the Year
Booker Food Pub of the Year
Restaurant of the Year

Spice Restaurant of the Year

Independent Café / Tea Room of the Year

Chef of the Year

Young Chef of the Year
Best Bar None – Town Pub of the Year
Best Bar None – Rural Pub of the Year

Best Bar None – Late Night Venue of the Year

Local Food Hero of the Year

Healthy Eating Workplace of the Year – Health and Education

Healthy Eating Workplace of the Year – Private Sector

F&B Achiever of the Year’