The search is on to find the best food businesses and personalities in the county. Ben Barnett reports.
Shout it from the rooftops, Yorkshire is great and the world is catching on. Lonely Planet has listed it among the top ten regions in the world to visit this year and the Grand Départ of the Tour de France rammed home the message in emphatic style.
But one of the region’s most proud achievements is the ability of its food and drink producers - from small family operations to respected major brands - to continually produce a fantastic array of top quality food products.
From the Dales to the Moors to the Wolds and in the villages, towns and cities in between, there is a burgeoning talent in God’s Own County for delivering quality, tasty food that deserves to be celebrated and so The Yorkshire Post and Deliciouslyorkshire, in association with Asda, aim to do exactly that by holding The Taste Awards.
With the help of the Awards’ key sponsor, Leeds-based supermarket chain Asda, the annual awards turn the spotlight on the very best of Yorkshire’s food producers, businesses and personalities across 20 prize categories. Both the small family-run artisan businesses that combine the finest locally produced ingredients to deliver something special to shoppers, as well as the finest retail and restaurant experiences are celebrated as part of the Awards.
Entries are now being sought across each category, with a panel of food industry judges having been assembled to pick out the very best of the region’s food industry.
Nicola Furbisher, managing editor of Yorkshire Post Newspapers, said: “This annual awards and celebration, in association with Deliciouslyorkshire, are part of The Yorkshire Post’s year-round commitment to support and campaign for local food and local producers.
“The Taste Awards will play a vital part in creating a climate of opinion where buying locally produced food is seen as a vital part of Yorkshire’s business growth and development, and celebrates just how good it tastes.
“Small businesses don’t often have a great deal of time to blow their own trumpet and spread the word about the excellence of what they do. This is our opportunity to really celebrate the local farmers and producers - as well as the wider industry - who keep us so well fed.”
Judy Bell, founder of the award-winning Shepherds Purse artisan cheeses and chair of the Deliciouslyorkshire board, said: “We’re so pleased to be working with The Yorkshire Post on The Taste Awards, it’s a partnership that not only represents Deliciouslyorkshire’s continuing commitment to helping Yorkshire food and drink businesses develop and grow but also a celebration of everything that is great in Yorkshire food and drink right now.
“Yorkshire has a diverse, delicious and varied food and drink scene and we believe this deserves to be championed and celebrated so The Taste Awards is just one of the many ways that we do this.
“The Taste Awards aims to put the spotlight on the very best of Yorkshire’s food producers and innovators and that includes businesses of all sizes. Every year we get entries from dozens of young fledgling food and drink businesses and it’s we’re always hugely impressed by the diversity and innovation we see amongst the entries.
“Just making it to the finals is a fantastic achievement and a great accolade for your business. Our awards are judged and attended by a wide variety key industry players and many of our previous winners have raised their profile and gone on to achieve great success.”
The high-profile panel of judges who will be running the rule over the entries include highly respected chefs, retail experts, food writers and industry experts, such as Radio 2 food journalist Nigel Barden and Tim Bilton, chef at The Spiced Pear in Hepworth.
Multi-award-winning Leeds-based chef, Luke Downing, owner of Dough Bistro, is also on the panel. Winning a Taste award carries clout, he said.
“We receive an incredibly high standard of entries and have massive players in the industry who get involved so to win an award really is a great achievement.”
A shortlist of producers in the running for the prizes will be announced in September and the winners of each category will be unveiled at a grand awards ceremony held at the Pavilions of Harrogate on Wednesday, October 15 and will be hosted by Radio 2’s Mr Barden.
• Best Bakery Product in association with Needlers
• Best Fresh Produce
• Best Fresh Meat in association with Verner Wheelock Associates
• Best Prepared Meat in association with Celsius Projects
• Best Yorkshire Pork Pie in association with Yorkshire Bank
• Best Fish and Seafood in association with Reed Boardall
• Best Ready to Eat Product
• Best Cheese in association with Kirklees College
• Best Ice Cream
• Best Drink (with individual awards for Best Beer, Best Spirit and Best Beverage)
• Best Savoury Condiment
• Best Sweet Preserve
• Best Confectionery
TASTE CHAMPION CATEGORIES
• Best New Business in association with Proudfoots Supermarkets
• Best Yorkshire Breakfast
• Best use of local produce on a menu
• Best Yorkshire Afternoon Tea
• Best Independent Retailer
• Local Food Hero in association with The York and North Yorkshire LEP
The deadline for entries is Thursday, August 14 at 5pm.
For full details on how to enter visit www.deliciouslyorkshire.co.uk/awards