Countdown to grand Sussex food final begins

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Sustainable cod is on the menu at the Sussex Food & Drink Awards Banquet for the first time this year thanks to a rise in numbers off the British coast.

Hilary Knight, co-director of Natural Partnerships CIC, which runs the awards, said: “The UK’s favourite white fish has made quite a recovery in recent years, but we can’t be complacent as it is important that the fish has good traceability and is sustainably caught.”

Guests at the awards banquet, taking place on January 29 at the Amex Stadium in Brighton, including a host of local finalists, will tuck into the cod, which is supplied by top Sussex fishmongers Veasey and Sons of Forest Row. The nets used to catch the cod are designed to allow the smaller fish to swim through so they can continue to grow and breed. Dan Howes, manager of Veasey and Sons, said: “As winter draws ever close as do the cod, now is the season for it and we have seen a gradual increase in cod stocks in recent years. Our crew and boat are accredited by the Responsible Fishing Scheme, this scheme gives an assurance to the supply chain that fish from the vessel has been caught responsibly and sustainably.”

The Sussex Food & Drink Awards, now in their ninth year, are all about supporting and boosting local farmers, food and drink producers and the outlets which use and sell this superb local fare, and many will feature at the awards ceremony in January.

Tickets are selling fast for the evening, now dubbed ‘the Sussex foodie event of the year’ and hosted by the awards patron Sally Gunnell OBE and Danny Pike of BBC Sussex. Former winner of Sussex Young Chef of the Year and MasterChef Professional Champion, Steven Edwards will also be at the awards ceremony supporting fellow chef, Tim Sheed from The Pass Restaurant at South Lodge Hotel who has made it into the final three along with Dan Cotton, The Crabtree, Lower Beeding.

Guests at the ceremony will be treated to a ‘Sussex bubbly and ale reception’ followed by the seven-course banquet created by stadium caterers, Sodexo Prestige . To book a spot at this very event and celebrate the very best in Sussex food and drink visit www.sussexfoodawards.biz. Diners will join over 350 leaders in the food, drink industry to discover who will be crowned the best in Sussex.

Local companies in the running for an award on the night are:

Sussex Farmer of the Year, sponsored by Spofforths Chartered Accountants

The Goring family, Wiston Estate, Washington, West Sussex

Tim Hassell, Goodwood Home Farm, Goodwood, West Sussex

Charlie Hughes, Southview Farm Dairy, Bury, nr Pulborough, West Sussex

Sussex Food Producer of the Year, sponsored by The Southern Cooperative

Caroline’s Dairy, Sidlesham, West Sussex

Cocoa Loco, West Grinstead, West Sussex

Nell Ball Farm Foods Ltd, Plaistow, West Sussex

Sussex Farmers Market of the Year, sponsored by Harveys Brewery

Horsham Local Produce Market, West Sussex

Lewes Farmers Market, East Sussex

Steyning Farmers Market, West Sussex

Sussex Drink Producer of the Year, sponsored by Sussex Food & Drink Network

Highdown Vineyard, Ferring, West Sussex

Langham Brewery, Lodsworth, Petworth, West Sussex

Wobblegate, Bolney, West Sussex

Best Sussex Food Shop, sponsored by Veasey & Sons and Cheese Please

Charlie’s Farm Shop, Bury, nr Pulborough, West Sussex

Rushfields Farm Shop, Poynings, West Sussex

Tablehurst Farm Shop, Forest Row, East Sussex

Sussex Butcher of the Year, sponsored by Absolute Butchery

Bramptons Butchers, Kemptown, Brighton & Hove

A C Coughtrey, Pulborough, West Sussex

Leppards Family Butchers, Mayfield, East Sussex

Best Sussex Eating Experience, sponsored by Natural PR

Coach & Horses, Danehill, East Sussex

The Curlew, Bodiam, East Sussex

Zari’s Restaurant & Lounge, Crawley, West Sussex

Previously announced, Sussex Young Chef of the Year, sponsored by Sodexo Prestige

Dan Cotton, The Crabtree, Lower Beeding, West Sussex

Tim Sheed, The Pass, South Lodge Hotel, Lower Beeding, West Sussex

Ryan Tomkinson, East Sussex National, Little Horsted, East Sussex