Last night hundreds of Sussex foody specialists, organisations and celebrities attended the Sussex Food & Drink Awards 2012/13 to see the winners take to the stage at the Amex Stadium in Falmer.
Hosted by Danny Pike of BBC Sussex radio, the event kicked off with a bubbly and ale reception, followed by a seven course meal comprised of local produce donated by local businesses at the ceremony.
Olympic gold medallist, Sally Gunnell OBE, gave a heartfelt speech about her healthy relationship with food. As a patron of the awards and children’s hospice Chestnut Tree House, she encouraged diners to donate generously as the evening proceeded.
Winners of the event included: Best Sussex Food Producer, High Weald Dairy, Horsed Keynes. Patridge Green’s Just Brownies narrowly missed out.
Ridgeview Wine Estate took home the Sussex Drink Producer of the Year.
Best Sussex Food/Farm Shop went to Veasey and Sons in Forest Row with The Sussex Produce Company in Steyning coming in as a runner up.
John Murray Butchers of Loxwood snagged Sussex Butcher of the Year.
The award for Sussex Farmers Market of the Year was taken home by Lewes Farmers Market - beating Steyning and Chichester to the prize.
Proud farmers, Martin and Gundrada Hole at Montague Farm won the Sussex Farmer of the Year.
Horsham’s Wabi just missed out on Sussex Eating Experience of the Year to The Cat Inn at West Hoathly.
And finally, Young Chef of the Year deservedly went to Jimmy Gray, a 24 year-old chef at Jeremy’s Restaurant in Borde Hill. Horsham chef, Charlie Tayler of Pass Restaurant in South Lodge Hotel was a worthy contender.
At the end of the ceremony, guests were handed goody bags with the Co-operative brand filled with yummy Sussex produce.
County Times’ reporters Jasmin Martin and Simon Robb tweeted live about the events of the night, including the winners and pictures of the banquet.
Almost £1,500 was raised over the course of the evening for Chestnut Tree House.
Video to follow.