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Food & Drink Awards: And the winners are. . .

Nominated by the public and judged by industry experts, we can now announce the winners of the first Velvet Food & Drink Awards, in partnership with KUCO

Raise a glass to the winner of our first Velvet Food & Drink Awards
Raise a glass to the winner of our first Velvet Food & Drink Awards

Producer of the Year: Sponsored by Howes Percival
Winner: JAITEA
Judge Vhari Russell, of The Food Marketing Experts, said: “Every business shortlisted for Producer of the Year impressed both with the quality of their products and their passion for what they do. The winner excelled across the board - everything from personal communication and product information to the produce itself, which was all absolutely beautiful, was best in class. If you’ve not tried their products, order now: you’re in for a treat!”
Runners up:
Gooey Puds, Wicken
Stir Bakery, Cambridge

Farm Shop/Deli of the Year: Sponsored by Group 1 BMW Cambridge
Judge Michelle Alston of The Last Food Blog, said: “The variety and quality of stock was excellent. The staff were very helpful, friendly, knowledgeable and welcoming. The shopping experience itself was great, there was a great buzz in the shop and the staff appeared to be very happy to be there. From start to finish the whole shopping experience was fantastic. I also felt that this farm shop was the best when it came to value for money too. I would happily do my weekly shopping here.”
Runners up:
Meadows, Cambridge
The Gog Farm Shop, Cambridge

Pub/Bar of the Year: Sponsored by Cameron Ventures Group
Said judge Giles Luckett, independent wine expert: “By a nose – and not the nose on the glass of Cabernet I had – this is my choice. Quirky, great wine list, the staff clearly know their stuff and seem keen to share their knowledge and their passion. It has the feel of an old-style independent but with modern food and some brave wine choices.”
Runners up:
The Bell Inn, Rickinghall
The Wine Rooms, Cambridge

Tearoom/Coffee Shop of the Year: Sponsored by Thomas Ridley Foodservice
Judge Riadh Falvo, founder of Cambridge Chocolate Festival, said: “It just has the most extensive and inclusive food and drinks menu and, of course, I was familiar with many if not all of their local suppliers and distributors. The service was very attentive and genuinely warm, the food we ordered was full of flavour, and we enjoyed niche recipes, with fresh herbs and spices, and all was very reasonably priced. They have the views, the atmosphere, the flavour, and are family and fur-baby friendly too.”
Runners up:
Harvey's Coffee House, Cambridge
Procopio’s Pantry, Bury St Edmunds

Restaurant of the Year: Sponsored by Kale & Damson
Judge Hannah Gregory, of WanderSups, said: “What a place! My first time eating here but it has been on the list to visit for a while and did not disappoint. Intimate, unfussy, well executed – everything from the décor to the dining was just perfect. Honestly, I cannot stop raving about this restaurant. Absolute chef’s kiss. And I took a fellow chef with me as my plus one and he literally chef’s kissed. . .”
Runners up:
Lalbagh, Bourn
Market House, Cambridge

Street Food/Pop-up of the Year: Sponsored by Rutherford's Punting
Judge Pina Broccoli Anaia, of One Two Culinary Stew, said: “My experience was flawless from start to finish. Service was friendly, helpful and welcoming, with customers - myself included - addressed by their name to make them feel valued. Consistency is guaranteed with every food order and mine was spot on. The OGs of Cambridge’s street food scene, going from strength to strength over the past 10-plus years, the winner serves truly top-notch food made with quality ingredients.”
Runners up:
Waffle & Co, Saffron Walden
The Foraging Chef, Cambridge

Chef of the Year: Sponsored by Kale & Damson
Judge Tine Roche, founder of Cambridge Cookery, said: “What can I say? This is high-end, highly technical, superbly constructed, stunningly beautiful food of the highest order. Every single plate is like a piece of art; every single morsel is multi-layered, using high-end kitchen techniques and creating bursts of heavenly flavours. It shows a chef who is extraordinarily talented and who clearly loves every minute in his kitchen, as dishes ooze both respect and a hint of playfulness that comes from the lightest of touches and a lot of love. There is no hint of ego, no hint of trying too hard - eating his food is like watching a top athlete: he makes something which is exceedingly difficult seem joyful.”
Runners up:
Lee Cooper, The Bedford Lodge, Newmarket
Ben Sulston, Private Chef, Cambridge

Food & Drink Hero: Sponsored by The Jockey Club Rooms
Judge Dr Sue Bailey, of Cambridge 105 Radio’s food show Flavour, said: “This was a very challenging event to judge, as each of the shortlisted heroes is incredible in their dedication and enthusiasm for their chosen specialism. After being absorbed reading about the celebration of British farming and fishing through recipes and producer stories, drinking exceptional wine by the glass and tasting rich rounded coffee by the Cam it has been a very close run choice to make. . .”
The winner impressed Sue with their vision, turning “what began as an online venture as a response to the pandemic into a vibrant, fully-rounded business, which both gives and receives brilliant local support, and is testament to their real love and passion for what they do”.
Runners up:
Jonny Bescoby, The Brew Project, Ely
Jenny Jefferies, For the Love of the Land & Sea cookbooks, Cambridge

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