Some of the UK’s top food critics and chefs – including BBC broadcaster Nigel Barden and Sir John Major’s former chef Mathew Benson-Smith – limbered up their lips to tuck into Yorkshire’s most prestigious food contest.
Head judge Nigel Barden, resident chef on BBC Radio 2’s Drivetime and former Yorkshire wine merchant teamed up with other food critics from The Press and Yorkshire Post, as well as leading chefs, to come up with the ultimate shortlist for the 2013 deliciouslyorkshire Awards.
“It’s been really exciting to be part of these awards again, which give producers a real chance at making it big in the food world, giving them that mark of credibility and quality.
“The standard of entries has, as usual, made the judges lives very difficult – and delicious!
“I’ve always been a huge fan of Yorkshire produce and the county’s producers. Nowhere else quite beats Yorkshire for its pursuit of excellence in food – and of course its lovely puddings!
“It’s a great pleasure and privilege to host the awards again and give all those amazing artisan crafts people the recognition they rightly deserve.”
Over three gruelling gourmet days, the eight top food experts made it their mission to find the crème de la crème of Yorkshire products, producers and hospitality and catering businesses, drawing up their shortlists for the 12 product categories and nine “Champion” categories.
Also joining the judging line up was Neil Nugent, executive chef of product development at Morrisons (and responsible for creating foods that will appeal to millions) and Steve Dunkley regional manager at Eblex.
Fellow chef Mathew Benson Smith, director of the Dean Clough Cooking School, was also on the deliciouslyorkshire panel, using his 20-plus years cooking experience at award winning restaurants and hotels – and a stint with former Prime Minister Sir John Major – to find this year’s tasty talents.
Joining him was Yorkshire Post “Best Chef” Luke Downing from Dough Bistro, retail buyer Valerie Aston from independent family grocery Proudfoots Supermarkets, and award-winning ‘Licensee of the Year’ Ashley McCarthy from Ye Old Sun Inn.
Cath Clelland from deliciouslyorkshire said:
“The calibre of the judges this year is second to none, but it needed to be as they had a really rough task on their hands!
“Blind tasting the amazing entries in this year’s awards to create the shortlist is a mission that only the most talented people in the food industry can judge.
“And it’s not just critics and journalists on our panel – many of our judges have been on the coal face of the industry; working as chefs, publicans and retail buyers and making tough decisions everyday.
“They know what tastes good, what works in the food and drink industry and what doesn’t, and they’ve already made a commitment to promoting Yorkshire’s biggest and best bites.”