The Fortnum & Mason Food and Drink Awards, now in their ninth year champion excellence in food and drink writing, publishing, broadcasting and photography. The Awards were presented yesterday evening by co-hosts television favourite Claudia Winkleman and celebrated chef Angela Hartnett (also the Judging Panel Chair) at a spectacular party at The Royal Exchange in London.
Here are the winners of the bookish segment of the Awards and boy, are they finger-licking good!
Cumbrian farmer James Rebanks collected the Food Book of the Year for English Pastoral, his insightful and honest account of how he decided to farm in a more sustainable way. The book is a stirring history of family, loss and the countryside over three generations on a Lake District farm.
Shortlisted titles were Red Sands: Reportage and Recipes Through Central Asia, from Hinterland to Heartland by Caroline Eden and Loaf Story: A love-letter to bread, with recipes by Tim Hayward.
The winner of the Debut Food Book went to fellow Cumbrian, and Guardian food writer and restaurant critic Grace Dent. Hungry is her tender and hilarious account of her journey from 1980s Carlisle to the world of London restaurants, it is her charming memoir to family, food and chip butties.
Shortlisted were Borough Market: Edible Histories by Mark Riddaway and The Food Almanac: Recipes and Stories for a Year at the Table by Miranda York.
The Cookery Book of the Year went to Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley for Falastin, a lavish compendium celebrating the recipes, stories and people of Palestinian food.
In the Debut Cookery Book category, pastry master and chef at the Holborn Dining Room collected the Award for his first book The Pie Room – a celebration of British pie classic sweet and savoury.
Shortlisted were Parwana: Recipes and stories from an Afghan kitchen by Durkhanai Ayubi and The Rangoon Sisters: Recipes from our Burmese family kitchen by Amy Chung and Emily Chung.
At the age of twenty-one Victoria James was named America’s youngest sommelier. Her memoir, Wine Girl, winner of the Drink Book is an unflinching account of life in New York’s glamourous, yet toxic, fine-dining world.
Debut Drink Book was won by bartender Cas Oh for his book Co-Specs, an indispensable A-Z guide to classic cocktails which took five years to create.
Tom Athron, CEO of Fortnum & Mason, commented: “Fortnum & Mason has been an innovator in the world of food and drink for over 300 years, and we’re proud to play our part in supporting the unparalleled food and drink scene here in the UK. This year’s entries displayed an encyclopaedic depth of knowledge and the shortlist was particularly impressive for its dazzling diversity and reassuring quality. The winners are a testament to the strength of the writing and broadcasting on the subjects of food and drink in this country and it is our privilege to encourage such distinction in these media disciplines.”
The winners were selected by an expert panel comprising some of the most talented figures in food and drink including Asma Khan, chef/restaurateur; Olly Smith, wine columnist and TV presenter; Rosie Birkett, food and cookery writer for The Sunday Times; Miguel Barclay, chef and author; Sandrae Lawrence, editor of The Cocktail Lovers Magazine and Peter McCombie MW, wine consultant and writer.
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