The winners of the BBC Food and Farming Awards were revealed in a ceremony held in Newport for the inaugural time.
The BBC Food & Farming Awards were inaugurated in 2000 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Radio 4’s The Food Programme. The initial mission statement, which holds true to this day, was to “honour those who have contributed most to advancing the cause of good food.”
The Awards ceremony returned to Wales for the second occasion and occurred on Wednesday (25.11.2023) at the ICCW in Newport. The adjudicators and hosts included figures such as Thomasina Miers, a cook, television presenter, and co-founder of the Wahaca chain of Mexican restaurants; Jaega Wise; Sheila Dillon; and Dan Saladino from Radio 4’s The Food Programme; food presenter Leyla Kazim; and Star Farmer Will Young.
The recipients were:
Best Food Producer: Cosyn Cymru (North Wales)
A dairy producing unpasteurised ewe’s milk cheese and creamy yogurt. All items are meticulously crafted by hand in small batches, employing natural ingredients, traditional techniques, and ample patience to highlight the milk’s finest attributes.
Best Drinks Producer: Isle of Wight Distillery (Isle of Wight)
Drawing inspiration from their island locale, they utilise ethically sourced, locally procured natural components to produce a range of superior, small-batch gin, rum, and vodka.
Best Streetfood, Takeaway, or Small Eatery: Maasi’s (Cardiff)
Pakistani cuisine, fresh and delectable, prepared with locally sourced ingredients by an all-female team. Maasi’s, meaning “auntie” in Punjabi, was founded by Sabrina Khan when her culinary creations gained popularity during lockdown.
Digital Creator: Becky Excell
Becky is a bestselling author featured in the Sunday Times and a gluten-free culinary expert with a vast community dedicated to sharing gluten-free recipes.
Farming for the Future with Farming Today and The Archers: Green Farm Collective
A collective of forward-thinking farmers from across England who have united to establish a community focused on carbon reduction and biodiversity enhancement.
Food Innovation: Alexandra Rose
This charity strives to aid low-income families by offering fresh fruits and vegetables through a voucher and prescription programme facilitated by GPs. The vouchers can be utilised at local markets, thereby stimulating the regional economy.
Best Food and Drink Producer in Wales Award with BBC Cymru Wales: Peterston Tea (Vale of Glamorgan)
Peterston Tea cultivates distinctive single estate loose-leaf tea, meticulously hand-picked and processed in the Vale of Glamorgan.
The Derek Cooper Outstanding Achievement Award: Chefs in Schools
Chefs in Schools’ objective is to employ professional chefs to enhance the quality of school meals while educating and inspiring children about the advantages of preparing their own food from scratch.
The Morning Live Community Food Champion
This will be announced on Morning Live, 26 October, on BBC One at 9:15 am.
The Countryfile Young Countryside Champion
This will be announced on Countryfile, BBC One, Sunday 5 November at 5:15 pm.
The Best Food and Drink Producer in Wales Award, in association with BBC Cymru Wales, was overseen by presenter Behnaz Akhgar and cook, author, and dietitian Beca Lyne-Pirkis. She remarked, “Being invited to present and judge this award was a genuine honour, as I relish the opportunity to spotlight some of our very own food champions. I’m absolutely thrilled that the Awards returned to Wales this year. It’s a fantastic occasion to celebrate all the remarkable developments occurring in this vibrant and dynamic sector.”
Rhuanedd Richards, Director of BBC Cymru Wales, said: “We are absolutely delighted that the Food and Farming Awards have taken place in Wales again this year. These awards are a platform for those who have worked incredibly hard to champion the cause of good food. I know I speak for the entire BBC Cymru Wales team when I say that we have loved hearing their wonderful stories and sensing the passion they have for the food they make. Congratulations to all our winners and nominees!”
Welsh Government Minister for Rural Affairs, North Wales and Trefnydd, Lesley Griffiths, said: “It’s great Wales has once again hosted the BBC Food and Farming Awards. A huge congratulations to all the participants and successful winners at the event, including the Welsh producers.
“Wales has a thriving food and drink industry, and I am particularly pleased such a variety of Welsh produce has been on show which demonstrates the commitment and desire our businesses have to be innovative and provide first-class quality products.”