Bath has won British Food Fortnight’s 2016 competition, run in association with The Telegraph and sponsored by the Co-op. The competition, now in its 4th year, acknowledges the most imaginative and inclusive celebrations of British food held during the national food celebration, British Food Fortnight. Bath was the unanimous winner, voted by the judges led by Raymond Blanc, Love British Food Ambassador; the Secretary of State for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs; Breige Donaghy, Co-op Director; and Alexia Robinson, Founder of Love British Food.
Bath embraced British Food Fortnight with activity throughout the city organised by the Bath & NE Somerset Local Food Partnership. A programme of food festivals, cooking courses and a local produce breakfast for schools made local food centre stage for communities throughout the city and involved more than 30 local businesses. The town of Emsworth in Hampshire, was a close second, expanded their British Food Fortnight celebrations enormously over the last few years; they are upheld by the judges as a benchmark for other communities to follow. Third place went to Bentley Primary School in Farnham for their highly successful and imaginative Food & Farming Day organised by Hampshire Fare.
The diversity of entries in this year’s competition demonstrates the depth and breadth of support for British Food Fortnight in communities and organisations across the country. Community lunches, school food programmes, hospital menus, activities in care homes and food festivals in city centres; young and old, small and large communities, volunteers and commercial organisations – all embraced the national food celebrations with vibrancy.
The winners were chosen by a panel of judges led by The Rt Hon Andrea Leadsom, MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; Breige Donaghy, Director of Delicious Food, Co-op Food, Chef Raymond Blanc, OBE and Alexia Robinson, Founder of Love British Food. Together they were looking for events that strengthened the local community, educated people about British food and eating locally, and supported the economy.
Raymond Blanc, who has been the lead judge of the competition since its inception, said: “The entries are amazing and reading each story makes me very proud to be involved in British Food Fortnight. Each entry shows the same objective – to share what we have around us with others and celebrate food. To me all the entries are very much winners.”
The newly crowned winners will be treated to a behind-the-scenes tour of the Michelin Starred Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons gardens plus £250 in Co-op vouchers and a case of Co-op award winning ‘Les Pionniers’ champagne. Their activities will be promoted widely in order to inspire other communities to get involved next year.