Just got back home after attending the first ever Food Magazine Reader Awards event this evening. It was held at Michael Caines' Abode in Exeter, a fine venue, the room brightly lit in Food Magazine's trademark bubblegum pink colours. Thatcher's cider, Frobisher's fruit juices and Champagne were flowing.
Canapes were sole goujons served in miniature cardboard cones with a chunk of lemon and some tartare sauce, fish / quail's egg scotch eggs, mini skewers with baby mozarella, roasted tomato and basil. All quite yummy.
The votes had come purely from readers (unlike some other foodie awards which can be a little bit 'manufactured') and covered the whole of the South West region - Gloucestershire, Somerset, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall so there was some stiff competition. I chatted to the lovely people from Thatcher's cider (I hadn't realised until this evening that the current owner is fourth generation Thatcher and that they're a fairly small operation, as a Westcountry girl, I just thought they were everywhere and huge.)
The chap from River Cottage accepting the award on Hugh's behalf- we weren't really disappointed that Hugh wasn't there...
The happy couple from Mendip Moments
Some of the acceptance speeches were incredibly brief, but I found it quite endearing when the Best Chef, Adam Fellows just said ' Thanks, and thanks to my wife' and hurried off clutching his rather luscious and chunky pink Dartington Crystal award. I think the chap from Browns Hotel may have even just said 'Thanks very much'.
Best Drink: Luscombe Organic Drinks
Best Food Product: Trevaskis Farm's Strawberry Jam, Hayle
Best Foodie Hotel: Browns Hotel, Tavistock
Best Retailer: Darts Farm, Topsham
Local Food Hero:Hugh Fearnley-Whittingtall
Best Foodie Pub: Victoria Inn, Perranuthnoe, Penzance - really want to go there!
Best Restaurant: Allium, Fairford, Glos - besides the point but what AMAZING hair this gal had.
Best Chef: Adam Fellows, Goodfellows, Wells, Somerset
Best Cafe: Duchy of Cornwall Nursery Cafe
It was very pink in there. These were the sole goujons in cones modelled by Yvonne from Thatchers!