Celebrations were in full flow this week as the Sussex Food & Drink Awards revealed the county’s top food and drink producers for 2017 all hailed as local heroes as they received their winning trophies at the Amex Community Stadium in Brighton.
Hosted by awards patron, Sally Gunnell OBE DL and Danny Pike of BBC Sussex, the glittering 11th awards ceremony was a sell out with nearly 400 leaders in the food, drink and farming industry gathering for what is now dubbed as ‘the Sussex foodie event of the year’, celebrating the cream of Sussex food and drink producers.
Over the last 11 years the awards have received over 3,300 nominations and 113,000 public votes promoting hundreds of businesses as Grand Finalists. The awards scheme is run by Natural Partnerships Community Interest Company (CIC), co-directed by Hilary Knight of the Sussex Food & Drink Network and Paula Seager, Managing Director of Natural PR Ltd, with support from a loyal and high ranking group of sponsor and expert judges along with independent chairman of judges, Sussex farmer and Nuffield scholar, William Goodwin.
Said Sally Gunnell, OBE DL, “This is my fifth year as patron for the Sussex Food and Drink Awards which are all about supporting and boosting local farmers, food and drink producers and the outlets which use and sell superb local fare. Starting from small beginnings, the awards have grown to become prestigious and respected, attracting a record 13,000 votes from members of the public this year and huge support from business in the county, bringing together the whole local food and farming community. It’s an outstanding achievement.”
Said Paula Seager, “We are so incredibly proud of the Sussex Food & Drink Awards and want to wish our 2017 winners, grand finalists and finalists our warmest congratulations. The line up was hugely impressive this year, this evening is all about celebrating our Sussex food and drink heroes and we know the future is bright for all of them. Several new sponsors and supporters have come on board this year alongside our loyal, longstanding partners and we want to thank them all for sharing a vital role in making these awards such a great success.”
Sussex Food Producer of the Year
Winner: The Real Pie Company, Crawley, West Sussex
Runners up: Noble and Stace Chocolatiers, Midhurst, West Sussex and Ouse Valley Foods, Piltdown, East Sussex
Sussex Drink Producer of the Year,
Winner: Nyetimber, West Chiltington, West SussexRunners up: Ridgeview Wine Estate, Ditchling Common, East Sussex and Wobblegate, Bolney, West Sussex
Sussex Young Chef of the Year
Winner: Michael Sutherland, The Star Inn, Alfriston, East Sussex
Runners up: Rachel Burroughs, Camelia Restaurant, South Lodge Hotel, Lower Beeding, West Sussex and Anna Shopland, The Fountain Inn, Plumpton Green, East Sussex
Sussex Eating Experience of the Year
Winner: The Earl of March, Lavant, West SussexRunners up: The Crown, Hastings, East Sussex and The Sussex Ox, Polegate, East Sussex
Sussex Street Food Vendor of the Year
Winner: Jah Jyot, Southwater, West Sussex
Runners up: Garlic Wood Farm, Steyning, West Sussex and Pig and Jacket, Lewes, East Sussex
For further information on the awards and winners in all ten categories visit