Search is on for the best Sussex farmers, young chefs, newcomers and street food

Paula Seager, Hilary Knight and Kate Howard from Natural Partnerships CIC who run the awards.
Paula Seager, Hilary Knight and Kate Howard from Natural Partnerships CIC who run the awards.
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The best Sussex street food vendors, new food businesses, farmers and young chefs are being sought by the Sussex Food and Drink Awards 2017 team before online nominations close in just over a month on September 8.

Paula Seager, co-director of Natural Partnerships CIC, who run the awards said: “Summer is here and we are urging people to get out and about and visit their local food shops, farmers markets, restaurants and foodie events to be inspired by our fantastic Sussex food and drink producers.

“We want to shout out to anyone who knows a superb farmer who does something extra special for Sussex food production; an ambitious and skillful young chef aged under 25; an exciting newcomer to the local food and drink industry; or an amazing street food vendor to nominate them in them at sussexfoodawards.biz by September 8 - without them on the list we may miss the food heroes out there who deserve to be recognised.”

The Sussex Newcomer of the Year category, co-sponsored by Spofforths and Sussex Food & Drink Network, will be looking for an innovative business from any part of the food and drink sector, supporting local produce, which has been trading for up to three years by the end of 2016; has the ambition and determination to succeed; and can demonstrate a realistic and sustainable business plan.

Said Adrian Pearce, partner at Spofforths: “It is vital that we support and encourage new business start ups in farming, food and drink production and across the retail and hospitality that supports local fare. We will be looking for the quality of the offer, need in the market place, unique selling points, areas of innovation and whether there is any recognition to upskill and/or undertake training.”

For any restaurateur, head chef or individual who knows a super talented chef aged 25 years or under on 31/12/16, working or studying in Sussex, with a strong appreciation of all things local then now is the time to nominate them.

This popular category, sponsored by Sodexo Prestige, is always bursting with talent and the judging panel will be eager to see how the top six perform in the MasterChef style cook off which takes place in October at the Amex Stadium in Brighton.

The Sussex Farmer of the Year, sponsored by Natural PR in association with Farmers Weekly, is a really important category in these awards when local farmers are recognised for the high quality food they produce and the positive impact they have in shaping the rural landscape in Sussex.

So many Sussex farmers are making a difference to their communities by producing wonderful food or representing the county on a national level and the awards team is urging people to put their favourite names forward this year.

Street Food has come a long way in the past few years and co-sponsors, Food Rocks and Horsham District Food and Drink Festival are both experts in this area having worked with some of the best in the business.

Gone are the days of burnt burgers and salmonella sausages served from rusty handcarts and welcome to artisan dishes created with care, passion and a true dedication to using quality local ingredients.

From delicious homemade cakes to gourmet burgers; precision grilled barbecue feasts to fresh crisp salads, the choices are huge these days and with so many wonderful street food markets across the region there is every opportunity to find out which is your favourite to nominate in this year’s awards scheme.

Ten finalists have already been revealed for each of the other six categories in the awards and public voting is now open for people to select the winners.

As well as earning the huge respect and recognition that these awards now carry, winners and runners up in all ten categories will go on to receive their trophies on 1 February 2017 at a BAFTA-style ceremony hosted by patron to the awards Sally Gunnell OBE and Danny Pike from BBC Sussex.

The ceremony includes a spectacular seven-course Sussex produce banquet produced by Sodexo Prestige at the Amex Stadium.

To nominate and vote for your favourite visit www.sussexfoodawards.biz

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