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Just before Christmas The Artisan Food Trail was contacted by the BBC asking us to become involved in publicising their BBC Food & Farming Awards.
Promoting the best of British food and supporting the producers making that food is very important to us and is at the very heart of what we do, so we feel flattered that the BBC considered The Artisan Food Trail in playing a part.
The BBC Food & Farming Awards took a break last year, but in 2012 some AFT members were nominated (including ourselves!) and then some even made it to the shortlist.
As soon as the nominations process opens on 5th January, we would really appreciate your support in putting forward those food producers you admire.
Winning an award can make a huge difference to an individual or a business. Last year’s winner in the Best Food Market category was pHd student Emily Boothroyd who set up a farmers’ market inside Sutton Bonington University campus, she explained that “winning an award was life changing! It gave me the confidence to change my career path entirely, markets are now my life”.
Two restaurant chefs, a prison cook and a celebrated food blogger are leading a BBC mission to find the very best in British food and farming.
Raymond Blanc and Richard Corrigan are being joined by Al Crisci, the founder of the Clink restaurant in Highdown prison and blogger Jack Monroe, on the 2014 judging team of the BBC Food & Farming Awards.
Valentine Warner, food writer, cook and judge says:
“The BBC Food & Farming Awards belong to everyone because it’s a celebration of the most delicious and important things in our lives. It’s a real chance for the public to share the food stories that really matter to them”.
Chef, Richard Corrigan says:
“We’re always amazed by the stories that come in to us as judges, and we never know where in the UK the nominations will take us… from visits to cheese-makers and dinner ladies to farm shop owners and national retailers… but we care about each and every one, the stories are inspiring”.
People can send nominations (via www.bbc.co.uk/foodawards) in all ten categories; individuals and businesses can also nominate their own work.
The categories are as follows:
Best Food Producer
From bread to butter, cheese to chocolate - tell us about the people and businesses using quality ingredients, lots of skill and dedication to create an excellent, fairly priced, finished product.
Best Drinks Producer
Brewers, distillers, wine-makers, juice producers - tell us about the people using carefully sourced ingredients and skill to produce an outstanding drink.
Best Food Market
We're looking for a regular market that brings together a wide range of great producers and serves a local community by providing fresh, quality, affordable food.
Best Street Food or Takeaway
From street food pop-ups to high street institutions, celebrate the people taking the takeaway and street food to a whole new level.
Best Initiative in British Food
A specific idea or initiative that’s making a positive difference to how and what Britain eats, and is showing the industry the way forward.
Outstanding Farmer of the Year
A farmer, young or old, male or female, livestock or arable who has made an outstanding contribution to farming with cutting edge thinking and creative ideas.
The Radio 4 'You and Yours' Best Food Retailer
Tell us about local shops that enrich lives, high streets and communities by selling delicious, great quality, affordable food.
BBC Cook of the Year
Do you know someone who is preparing tasty, healthy meals on a budget in a hospital, school, care-home or other workplace and deserves to be celebrated?
Derek Cooper Lifetime Achievement Award
Named after The Food Programme's first presenter, this award is for the individual or organisation whose life’s work has brought about real change in our relationship with food.
Food Personality of the Year 2014
Which personality in the last year has inspired you to think differently about food? A writer, broadcaster, blogger, television chef …
The Artisan Food Trail would like to ask you to consider the people/businesses on the food trail and include one or some of them in your nominations.
Each and every one has such pride and passion for what they do. They make amazing food, share their knowledge and are seriously making a difference to the face of British food.
Maybe you think The Artisan Food Trail is also a worthy contender?
We’ll leave that to you.
The BBC Food & Farming Awards are open for nominations from Sunday 5th January 2014 and close on Monday 27th January 2014.
For further information on the awards and to make your nomination
Plus, keep an eye out for the Food Programme's Twitter feed, @bbcfoodprog using the hashtag #bbcfoodawards for all the latest updates.
The best ideas that come through the judging process will be featured on BBC Radio 4’s The Food Programme and a special edition of the BBC Food & Farming Awards, also on Radio 4.
Presenter of the Food Progamme and one of the founders of the Awards in 2000, Sheila Dillon encourages you to get online to nominate ‘‘They’re your awards set up to highlight the achievements of people, mostly working under the media radar, who add to the quality of all our lives.’’
The eventual winners will be announced at the annual BBC Food & Farming Awards ceremony, to be held at the St Georges concert Hall, Bristol on Thursday 1st May. Shortly after, BBC Radio 4 will broadcast a programme featuring the winners and judges.