Mayor opens up quest to find London’s best food and drink producers
The Mayor of London is on a quest to find the best of London’s local larder after launching the Urban Food Awards to celebrate the tastiest food and drink in the capital.
The Urban Food Awards is being run by City Hall and London Food Link to search for and recognise the very best food and drink grown by small, locally based producers.
Londoners are now urged to nominate their favourite producers across the city before the closing date of 17 August.
A shortlist will be drawn up and put before a panel of judges including chair of London Food Rosie Boycott and chefs Rowley Leigh and Oliver Rowe, while the Mayor of London Boris Johnson will judge the cheese category.
The judges will pick a winner in each of six categories in the Urban Food Awards, which are:
· Best Banger – must be cooked before eating and made from organic, biodynamic or outdoor-reared meat
· The Big Smoke’s Big Cheese
· Heavenly Honey
· Londoner’s Loaf – must be real bread made without artificial additives or processing aids
· Beautiful Brew – focused on ale
· London Leaves – salad leaves and herbs which should be grown organically
The winners, who must come from a producer based in a London borough and with 50 employees or less, will be announced on 24 September at an event hosted at the world famous Borough Market.
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “London is home to a veritable smorgasbord of wonderful businesses growing, producing and selling food.
“Not only are these businesses cooking up tasty treats for Londoners, but they are also simultaneously supporting jobs and training opportunities across the city.
“I can’t wait to help judge the Urban Food Awards, which will shine a light on this burgeoning sector and prove when it comes to food, London is the cream of the crop.”
The Urban Food Awards are part of the Urban Foods Routes initiative, which provides support and business advice to London’s small growers, producers and sellers.
It’s funded by Seeds of Change and the Mayor of London and delivered by the Plunkett Foundation and London Food Link with the aim of helping social enterprises and privately-owned business to become more sustainable while encouraging Londoners to buy locally grown food.
The chair of London Food, Rosie Boycott, said: “There are a whole host of local producers and eateries across the city, creating wonderfully prepared healthy and tasty dishes for busy Londoners.
“The Urban Food Awards is a real celebration of the very best food and drink produced by London’s small food enterprises and the varied categories is aimed at teasing out the most creative of our local growers and sellers and showcasing their fare to the rest of the city.”
Chris Young of London Food Link said: “It’s great to be part of this celebration of not only the great food and drink being produced here on our doorstep, but also the ethically-minded people producing it. We can’t wait to see the nominations.”
Peter Couchman, Chief Executive of the Plunkett Foundation said: “We’re really pleased to be delivering support through Urban Food Routes to help London’s small food enterprises. We believe that when an enterprise is supported by its community it is much more likely to thrive, and we’re excited to be working with great partners on this unique initiative.”
Keith Davis, Managing Director of Borough Market, said: “Borough Market is home to London’s best food and drink producers, from cheese made in North London to bread baked onsite at the Market itself. This year we are also home to the Urban Food Awards and I can't think of a better way to celebrate the vibrancy of the London food landscape today.”
Londoners can vote for their favourite producers and eateries by visiting: sustainweb.org/londonfoodlink/guidelines
London Food - The London Food Board is an advisory group of independent food policy organisations and experts which oversees the implementation of The Mayor’s Food Strategy: Healthy and Sustainable Food for London.
London Food works across the whole range of the city’s food system promoting and developing work that meets the aims of the strategy.
London Food Link - Part of the charity Sustain, London Food Link is the organisation dedicated to championing the best of London’s local larder and bringing together the people who grow, produce, teach, peddle and enjoy good food in the capital. Current initiatives include the Capital Growth network of community food gardens, the Good Food For London Report and the London Food Poverty Campaign. Everyone is welcome to join the network and receives great benefits in return, including The Jellied Eel magazine and a range of discounts. www.londonfoodlink.org
Plunkett Foundation - Helps communities take control of their challenges and overcome them together. It supports people to set up and run life-changing community co-operatives; enterprises that are owned and run democratically by large numbers of people in their community. These help people to tackle a range of issues, from isolation and loneliness to poverty, and come in many forms including shops, cafes, pubs and land-based initiatives, and everything in between.
Borough Market – Borough Market is London’s most renowned food market; a source of exceptional British and international produce. www.boroughmarket.org.uk
Borough has long been synonymous with food markets and as far back as 1014, and probably much earlier, London Bridge attracted traders selling grain, fish, vegetables and livestock. In the 13th century traders were relocated to what is now Borough High Street and a market has existed there ever since.
For more information about Borough Market, its Traders and events please visit www.boroughmarket.org.uk