There are occasions when various parts of my work overlap but it’s very rare that so many – writing about food, blogging about food as a hobby, working as a PR consultant – all come together in one place. So when I was asked to be involved in launching a brand new awards programme to recognise Coventry & Warwickshire’s food and drink scene I jumped at the chance.
We started planning the Foodie Awards long before the coronavirus pandemic and obviously faced some tough decisions on how launching something like this would be received after such a difficult time – especially for the hospitality industry. But we agreed across the board that something that could help and support businesses as they re-emerge from lockdown, championing quality and resilience across Coventry and Warwickshire,
The awards focus on quality, service and innovation with an emphasis on farm to fork and categories cover businesses across the sector, from best artisan food and drink producers to best farm shop, best independent food and drink retailer, best newcomer, best street food trader and chef or cook of the year.
There will also be some special awards that recognise the extraordinary efforts of businesses and individuals throughout the coronavirus pandemic – Food Champion, sponsored by The Leamington Courier Series and Rugby Advertiser, the COVID-19 Resilience Award sponsored by Visit Coventry and The Godiva Award, sponsored by Coventry BID.
The awards, in partnership with Visit Coventry, will culminate in a ceremony in May following a finalists’ night on January 25th at the city’s new Telegraph Hotel – opening its doors for the first time later this year. Entries opened on August 7 and businesses from across the area have already got their entries in.
The project is being organised by Talk Business UK, Coventry BID and Visit Coventry, as well as Amanda Chalmers of ChalmersNewsPR and yours truly. Renowned butcher Aubrey Allen is also on board as a sponsor, and judges will include esteemed names from the local world of food and drink, including Russ Allen, Andreas Antona, and influencers The Fat Foodie and The Hangry Blonde.
Foodie Awards Founder Jonathan Smith, of Talk Business UK, said: ”This will give a much-needed positive focus for the people in the Food and Drink sector across the region, delivering from farm to fork.
“With so many businesses hit by the direct and knock on effects of lockdown these awards will champion and celebrate the talent, passion, ingenuity and entrepreneurship of all those working so hard to grow, make, bake, brew, cook, host and serve their local communities. This awards program is for all of us to say thank you!”
Councillor Jim O’Boyle, cabinet member for jobs and regeneration, said: “The last few months have been tough but as restaurants and bars begin to open their doors again, it’s a good time to celebrate the great range of food and drink on offer in Coventry and I am delighted that Visit Coventry is able to be a partner in these awards.
“We have seen a wide range of independent and well-known chains open in
the city in recent years and these awards will give this sector a real boost.”
Trish Willetts, Coventry BID Director, said: “We are incredibly excited to be working with the team bringing the Coventry and Warwickshire Food & Drink Awards to the region. Coventry itself has a thriving foodie scene, with some great independent restaurants and bars in the city, and more to come later in the year.
“Whilst the last few months have been incredibly tough on the industry as a whole, things are slowly starting to get back to normal and a new chapter is beginning. The awards will be a fantastic way to celebrate this and give businesses the recognition they very much deserve.”
The finalists’ night in January and awards ceremony – at a venue to be
announced – in May, will both be presided over by MC Kirsty Leahy of Kirsty Leahy Productions and will be raising money for The Trussell Trust network of eight food banks in Coventry and Warwickshire.
For a full list of categories and all the information, visit