Northamptonshire Culinary Awards back for the sixteenth year

Posted 21st March 2024

The Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards are back for a sixteenth year of shining a spotlight on local culinary excellence. Recognising and celebrating the county’s brilliant people, places and producers, the Awards fly the flag for buying and supporting local, and as spending pressures continue, that support for independent and local is more important than ever.

With a sensational set of sponsors, and eighteen categories, this year’s Awards are a toast to all that is great about the county’s experiences, produce and drink; a reward for those who work so hard locally – rising to not insignificant challenges facing the hospitality sector – and keep Northamptonshire firmly on the foodie map of England.

Headline sponsor, Weetabix, who last year committed to supporting the competition for another three years, will once again be joined by category sponsors including All Things Business, Booker, British Pepper & Spice Co. Ltd, Daily Bread Co-operative, Delapré Abbey Preservation Trust, Greedy Gordons, Heygates Flour & Animal Feed Millers, Howes Percival, J Sweeney Accountants, Portfolio Events, West Northamptonshire Council Public Health, University of Northampton, Warner’s Distillery, Whitworth Bros. Ltd, and Whitco Catering & Bakery Equipment Limited.

Stuart Branch, Group People and Technology Director at Weetabix said “Five years ago we talked about how proud we were to become the headline sponsor of the Awards, and today is no different, the Awards continue to make us feel very proud of the businesses, the people, and the effort that goes in to making this a county to be reckoned with! Our first-hand involvement and seeing the positive impact these awards have is humbling and we remain extremely impressed with the vast range of businesses and organisations that the Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards celebrate.”

The full details of this year’s competition were shared by Awards Director, Rachel Mallows MBE, at the launch on Wednesday March 20 at The Snooty Fox in Lowick, home of sponsor Greedy Gordons.

Rachel reflected on what we have learned during the last fifteen years of coming together and celebrating the sector’s incredible successes and achievements. “Eating out and buying local makes a huge difference to the prosperity of the county’s communities, high streets, hospitality, food and drink businesses. In these trying times for hospitality, of rising business costs and spending pressures, let’s choose carefully where we spend our money locally, and continue to support these businesses and communities as much as possible. Through the Awards we’re shining a spotlight on brilliance – brilliant hospitality, communities and innovations – to make it easier for Northamptonshire to choose independent and local.”

Multi-award winner Joe Buckley, owner of the Tollemache Arms in Harrington and awarded Gold in last year’s F&B Achiever and Booker Gastro Pub of the Year categories, added his perspective on the importance and impact of local Awards. “The Awards have always been a great benchmark for us, not only for our own standards, but also finding places to visit for food and drink. Winning last year was the icing on the cake after years of hard work, and being in a room full of hospitality legends is always great for networking and sharing. In the nine years we have been entering the Awards the food scene in Northamptonshire has gone from strength to strength, showing the value to local businesses. We have been blessed to win both national and local awards, but to be a finalist or a winner in a county with such great pubs, we see as a really fantastic achievement.”

Previous Award winners like Sol Haven, Weetabix Sustainability Award Gold winners and Healthy Food and Wellbeing Workplace Gold winners last year, were also able to reflect on the sense of accomplishment that is associated with the Awards. Natasha Caton enthused; “By participating, we can express gratitude towards all those who contribute to make dreams happen. This includes volunteers, local communities, supporters, the land and all that is grown. Creating a thriving, strong supportive community reinforces the idea that success is not achieved in isolation but through collective effort and support. By coming together to celebrate achievements, the community strengthens its bonds and unity. Winning or even being nominated for an award enhances visibility and establishes a reputation for excellence. This in turn can attract more customers, partners, and opportunities for collaboration, growth and expansion.

With greater visibility, we can extend what we offer, our reach and impact, helping more individuals and groups to improve their lives through healthier choices.”

The Health and Wellbeing team at West Northamptonshire Council reinforces the important link between good food and wellbeing, with Cllr Matt Golby, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health adding: “It is so important to recognise our local businesses and those that put the community at the heart of all they do. We know that good food produce has a direct impact on the health and wellbeing of our residents, so it is great to see categories that celebrate community cafes as well as put an emphasis on quality, locally produced food.”

The free-to-enter categories in this year’s Awards (with their respective sponsors) are:

Artisan Local Drink of the Year (Warner’s Distillery)

Artisan Local Product of the Year (Heygates Flour and Animal Feed Millers)

Artisan Local Vegetarian / Vegan Product of the Year (Daily Bread Cooperative)

Booker Gastro Pub of the Year (Booker)

Booker Young Chef of the Year (Booker)

Canapé Competition (Portfolio Events)

Community Café of the Year (West Northamptonshire Council Public Health)

Farming Environment Award (Weetabix)

F&B Achiever of the Year (J Sweeney Accountants)

Food and Drink College Student of the Year (University of Northampton)

Healthy Food and Wellbeing Award (Delapré Abbey Preservation Trust)

Local Food Hero of the Year (Howes Percival)

One To Watch (Whitworth Bros. Ltd Flour Millers)

Outstanding Contribution to Food & Drink (All Things Business)

Restaurant of the Year (Greedy Gordons)

Weetabix Sustainability Award (Weetabix)

Whitco Chef of the Year (Whitco Catering & Bakery Equipment Limited)

World Cuisine Restaurant of the Year (British Pepper & Spice Co. Ltd)

The results of the competition, which will again see finalists awarded Gold, Silver or Bronze, will be announced at the Awards celebrations taking place on 17 October 2024 at The Royal & Derngate Theatre, supported again by caterers Portfolio Events.

For more details on all the categories in the Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards 2024/25, including entry and nomination forms, please visit the Awards’ website – – or call the Awards team on 01933 664437 or email

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