On 7th March I had the pleasure of attending the Second Annual Garbutt + Elliott Yorkshire Food Entrepreneur Awards held in the wonderful setting of the restored Kirkgate in The Castle Museum, York.
I had perused the shortlist of nominations and, although West Yorkshire was not very well represented, there being only four Leeds-based businesses involved, as well as a York enterprise with a second branch in our great City. As you would expect, we did punch well above our weight and won two on our own, with the York/Leeds concern walking away with a prize as well.
The organisers had really gone to town with their hospitality and the attendees, who were mainly from the nominated firms along with the sponsors and judges, were treated to bottomless bubbly and canapés. As this was God’s Own County, the canapés were not fiddly little nibbles but chunks of Yorkshire Pudding Pies which were followed by various small plates and bowl food, not to mention wine and beer, meaning that everyone was fully refreshed before kick-off at 8.00pm.
It was a good omen that the first award, which was for Best Young Business, went to Leeds Cookery School. I had spoken with Simon Chappelow, the Cookery School Manager, before the presentation and he seemed like a very personable, modest chap who is dedicated to his work. The School is situated in the Old Gipton Fire Station on York Road and is partnered with the charity, Zest, which is an independent, not-for-profit organisation aimed at improving life chances and promoting healthier lifestyles for people living in disadvantaged parts of Leeds. It was a good move to talk to him before the event as when I spoke to him after his triumph he was, in his words, ‘buzzing’. A well-deserved award in various ways.
Leeds also took the second award of the evening, with North Bar receiving the accolade of Best Yorkshire Exporter. I did not have chance to interview the representative of the company who was there to pick up the trophy, but Tony Farmer, the M.C. for the evening, had a few words whilst handing over the award. North Bar has recently gained a foothold in the rapidly expanding China market and is shipping pallets of their brew in increasing numbers.
Nukkad, the York based company with a branch in the Merrion Centre, Leeds, won the Deliciously Yorkshire Taste Award. In case you’re wondering, the name means ’street corner’. This had to be split into three sections: Savoury, Sweet and Drink, with Nukkad triumphing in the Savoury Category. The food style originates from North and Central India, so I asked Abhishek, who picked up the prize, why he thought that they had done so well. He said that the secret is in the spices. The word ’secret’ was not used lightly, as not even the chefs know what the particular blend is. They are presented with a ready-mixed fusion with which to work. Abhishek was another recipient who was obviously highly delighted with his award.
On behalf of Leeds Living, I congratulate the above winners, all of whom did our City proud. I interviewed Tony Farmer from the organisers, Garbutt + Elliott a week or so before the event and he was adamant that these awards are here to stay, so I would like to urge all of you who are in the food and drink industry in Leeds to look out for the nomination dates for the 2020 awards and ensure our City is as well represented as it deserves to be.
The winners of the other categories and who are not fortunate enough to be Loiners are as follows :-
Best Innovation – Yorkhire Pudding Pie Co.
Deliciously Yorkshire Taste Awards (Sweet) – Cedar Barn Farm Shop and Cafe
Deliciously Yorkshire Taste Award (Drink) – Hotham’s Gin School and Distillery
Growth Business of the Year – Minskip Farm Shop
Best Partnership Award – Yorkshire Rapeseed Oil and Staal Smokehouse
Best Yorkshire Brand – York Gin
Yorkshire Grit Award – Mak Tok
Business of the Year – Cedar Barn Farm Shop and Cafe
Well done to you all!
Stan writes Let’s Do Lunch for Leeds Living. He also reviews special events for food and drink, which sometimes takes him beyond Leeds. He has also developed an interest in writing on culture, most frequently dramatic and musical theatre.