The festive season is one of the busiest times of the year for Sussex food and drink producers, retailers and restaurants, but they can look forward to a rare night off, full of celebrations, as the countdown begins for the spectacular Sussex Food & Drink Awards Banquet on Wednesday 1 February 2017 at the AMEX Stadium in Brighton.

Sussex Food and Drink Awards 2016 at the Amex Stadium.Dubbed as ‘the Sussex Foodie event of the year’, organisers are urging people to book their tickets early for this special awards ceremony to avoid disappointment and come and celebrate the first night of ‘fun February’ with over 350 leaders in the food, drink and farming industry.

Said Paula Seager, Co-Director of Natural Partnerships CIC, which runs the awards, “We made the decision to move the awards banquet this year as ‘dry January’ often sees many people stepping away from the over indulgence of Christmas. These awards are all about supporting and boosting our wonderful Sussex food and drink producers, farmers, local markets, farm shops, restaurants and pubs and we want to embrace that fully with our guests by introducing fun February.”

Olympic gold medalist and patron to the awards, Sally Gunnell OBE, will host the awards ceremony with Danny Pike of BBC Sussex. Winners will be revealed and receive their coveted trophies after guests have been treated to a wonderful ‘Sussex bubbly and ale reception’ followed by a superb seven-course banquet created by Sodexo Prestige Principal Chef, Malcolm Emery and his catering team at the Amex Stadium.

Said Malcolm, “We are very proud to sponsor these awards and every year we are able to work with some incredible produce kindly provided by a number of excellent local food and drink producers which allows us to create a truly sumptuous feast. This year we will be showcasing the very best seasonal fish, meat, vegetables, chocolates, cheese and wine that Sussex has to offer.”

guests-at-the-awards-banquetCelebrating its eleventh year, the awards ceremony will welcome an impressive line up of Grand Finalists, all anxious to see who will be crowned best Sussex butcher, food producer, drink producer, farmer, young chef, farmers market, food shop, eating experience, newcomer and street food vendor of the year.

Said Paula, “We are so excited about celebrating with our superb Grand Finalists at the banquet in February as they are all winners in our eyes. There are so many hidden treasures on our doorstep here in Sussex and we hope these awards help people to discover them. It’s so important that we continue to support them and we want to spread the word and encourage everyone this Christmas to get out and about and try something deliciously new and local.”

The 2017 Grand Finalists are: 

Sussex Food Producer of the Year, sponsored by The Southern Co-operative

  • Noble and Stace Chocolatiers, Midhurst, West Sussex
  • Ouse Valley Foods, Piltdown, East Sussex
  • The Real Pie Company, Crawley, West Sussex 

Sussex Drink Producer of the Year, sponsored by Rix & Kay

  • Nyetimber Vineyard, West Chiltington, West Sussex
  • Ridgeview Wine Estate, Ditchling Common, East Sussex
  • Wobblegate, Bolney, West Sussex

Sussex Food Shop of the Year, sponsored by Wealden District Council

  • Cowdray Farm Shop, Midhurst, West Sussex
  • Eggs to Apples, Hurst Green, East Sussex
  • Tablehurst Farm Limited, Forest Row, East Sussex

Sussex Butcher of the Year, co-sponsored by Plumpton College & RP Meats Wholesaler Ltd

  • A C Coughtrey Butchers, Pulborough, West Sussex
  • Glyn Thomas & Son Ltd, Lindfield, West Sussex
  • Nick the Butcher, Hartfield, East Sussex

Sussex Farmers Market of the Year, sponsored by Harveys of Lewes

  • Forest Row Village Market, East Sussex
  • Lewes Food Market, Market Tower (weekly), East Sussex
  • Shoreham Farmers Market, West Sussex

Sussex Eating Experience of the Year, sponsored by SuperFast Thermapen®

  • The Crown, Hastings, East Sussex
  • The Earl of March, Lavant, West Sussex
  • The Sussex Ox, Polegate, East Sussex

Sussex Newcomer of the Year, co-sponsored by Spofforths and Sussex Food and Drink Network

  • The Artisan Bakehouse, Ashurst, West Sussex
  • The Bluebird Tea Co Shop, Brighton
  • The Set Restaurant, Brighton

Sussex Farmer of the Year, sponsored by Natural PR in association with Farmers Weekly

  • Jeremy Davis and Lynne Curtis, Lynne’s Organic Farm, Eridge, East Sussex
  • Andrew and Joanne Knowles, Trenchmore Farm, Cowfold, West Sussex
  • Camilla and Roly Puzey, Saddlescombe Farm, Poynings, West Sussex 

Sussex Street Food Vendor of the Year, co-sponsored by Food Rocks and Horsham District Food and Wine Festival

  • Garlic Wood Farm, Steyning, West Sussex
  • Jah Jyot, Southwater, West Sussex
  • Pig and Jacket, Lewes, East Sussex

Sussex Young Chef of the Year, sponsored by Sodexo Prestige

  • Rachel Burroughs, Camelia Restaurant, South Lodge Hotel, Lower Beeding, West Sussex
  • Anna Shopland, The Fountain Inn, Plumpton Green, East Sussex
  • Michael Sutherland, The Sussex Ox, Polegate, East Sussex

For more information on the awards and to book your tickets for the banquet visit