Eggactly what we are hoping to promote. Local food awards delighted to receive healthy Chef entries.

Posted 19th July 2023

The Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drink awards is back in its fifteenth year. With an aim to celebrate and recognise excellence in the county in food and drink. The Whitco Chef of the Year is one of their 18 categories.

The Manna House, Corby, is home of our new Associate Sponsor – Tresham College, Bedford Group. They again kindly hosted the ‘Whitco Chef of the Year’ cook off. Open to Chefs aged over 25, for entry they were asked to ‘Devise a 2 course menu plan for a meal for two you would be proud to cook for your idol, showcasing Northamptonshire produce but on a budget. Your budget is £20 total.’ From this, finalists were selected and invited to a cook off with Masterchef style basket of ingredients including some local products.

The day started with a skills test designed to show technique, flavour and texture of vegetable soup, before the cook off challenge. Aubery Allen Master Butchers were generous in providing lamb leg muscles for the contestants to prepare two main course dishes to wow our judges. Mopped up with an egg based dessert. Awards Director Rachel Mallows expressed the need to keep the category current. “It was important to me to have the ‘on a budget’ theme. It’s tough out there. The amount of entries this year have exceeded expectations. I am delighted to have six finalists. It always amazes me how the same ingredients are interpreted so differently.”

Our Whitco Chef of the Year finalists for 2023/24 are:

Laszlo Bodnarjuk from The Palmichael, Reece Coles from Hops and Chops, Piotr Czarnocki from Gourmand Pierre Private Dinning, Zak Perrin from The Falcon at Fotheringhay, Adam Phillips from The Falcon at Castle Ashby and Daniel Webster from Websters Catering and Events.

Adam Phillips commented “Being chosen by the panel to be within the top 6 chefs in the county and attend the final was an amazing feeling! The cook off was a great chance to showcase not only our own skills but also to use the amazing Northamptonshire produce.”

Gold award winners for the ‘Whitco Chef of the Year’ category will be announced at the Awards celebrations taking place on 1st November 2023 at the Royal & Derngate theatre.

For more details on all the categories in the Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards 2023/24, including downloading entry and nomination forms, please visit the Awards’ website – – or call Sophie on 01933 664437 or email

You can also follow the Awards on Facebook at @foodawards or Twitter and Instagram at @foodawardsHQ or on LinkedIn at @weetabixnfadawards