Described as the ‘Oscars’ of the food world, September 7th saw the 21st year of the annual Great Taste Awards – presenting coveted Golden Fork trophies to the finest food and drink producers across the UK.
Hosted by the Guild of Fine Food, our very own Nick and Laura from WBC’s Business Development team were the lucky ones to spend a jubilant night of celebrations, delicious drinks and it goes without saying, some fantastic food too!
John Farrand, Managing Director of the Guild, took up his usual hosting job accompanied by BBC Radio 2’s Nigel Barden at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington – the perfect setting for a wonderful evening of fantastic food and drink.
On arrival we were promptly asked to head straight for the gin bar, hosted by none other than the fantastic Chase Distillery – a fine customer of ours who’s gin is a personal favourite of mine; we didn’t need to be asked again. Chase Distillery gin was offered with a twist of lemon and a slice of fresh ginger, something you really must try (next summer).
The camaraderie among all who attended was noticeable and there was a genuine excitement to be there (us included); coming together for the love of truly excellent food. Perhaps in truth, the real reason for the great success of the Great Taste Awards is that everyone’s a winner really, whether it’s one star or three awarded, what’s so great about the Great Taste Awards, is that so many producers are recognised out of literally thousands of entries; that in itself has to be considered a great achievement.
After circulating the room saying hello to everyone we knew and consuming far too many gins (Nick, of course) it was finally time to enter the banquet room for what we knew would be a spectacular meal.
As the first course was placed in front of us, we had a selection of produce provided by the winners to taste, all lovingly prepared by the hotels head chef Steve Munkley – this included succulent pork belly provided by Red Hill Farm, fresh smoked salmon from Quinlan’s Kerryfish – all a true taste sensation.
Moving on to the main course, we were treated to beautiful venison (Baronscourt Estate) cooked to perfection in three different ways. To say we were spoiled was an understatement.
Up next was a trio of desserts – our personal favourite being the panna cotta but also included Becleberry’s Passion fruit & tarragon sorbet – something of an acquired taste and a delicious Moroccan pastry! Yum!
Of course, it’s important to remember the real reason we were there, and throughout the meal we celebrated and applauded the recipients of the Golden fork trophies – from north to south, east to west, we celebrated the worthy winners.
However, there were indeed winners of particular note. James Whelan Butchers was named Great Taste Supreme Champion for his traditional beef dripping, perhaps not the most obvious contender and yet was awarded a unanimous vote amongst the judges; some accolade indeed.
The evening ended in the hotel bar (of course) and it was a great chance to congratulate the winners and speak with the esteemed judges, we even stole a conversation with famed food critic Charles Campion – I’m sure we didn’t register on his highlights for the evening though!
All in all a fantastic night, please Guild of Fine Food, can we come back next year?