Yesterday evening I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the 14th BBC Food and Farming Awards, held at St George’s in Bristol and hosted by Sheila Dillon and Valentine Warner. The finalists were inspiring and I certainly did not envy all of the judges who had to make incredibly difficult decisions. However, the ultimate winners of all categories were all highly deserving and are indeed wonderful ambassadors for the food sector. Despite a few mishaps along the way – endearing that even the BBC can appear a little bit amateurish at times – the evening ran smoothly and numerous famous names including Mary Berry, Raymond Blanc, Jamie Oliver, Adam Henson and Richard Corrigan, addressed the audience through the evening in a celebration of everything good about food in Britain. It was also brilliant to see Bristol highlighted as the host city, a place where good food is taken very seriously – Mayor George Ferguson did all he could to ensure people were aware of this! The awards were the first event of the first ever ‘Food Connections Festival’, which runs from today through to May 10th. It is encouraging to see increasing numbers of people becoming very interested in good food and in food provenance, vital if the good food movement is to succeed in the long term.
I should also mention the glorious and very catchy ‘good food’ anthem performed during the evening – ‘Stand up for Good Food’, composed by David Ogden and Anna Farthing and performed by The Bristol Schools Junior Chamber Choir and Exultate Singers. The idea is to roll this anthem out to all Bristolian schools – a superb idea to inspire the young to love good food. Overall, it was a very inspiring and enjoyable evening. It is often easy to highlight problems in the food industry and to spend too much time bashing those who seem to make food more of a boring and necessary commodity than something to love and enjoy. However, all food writers should take a leaf out of the food critics’ book and spend at least some of the time talking about the really good things that some if not most in the food community do to inspire people to love good food.