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Weetabix Northamptonshire Food & Drink Awards


Celebrating the county’s food and drink heroes


Food and drink businesses have faced enormous challenges this year, but with hard work and imagination, Northamptonshire’s makers, suppliers and hospitality outlets have found innovative ways of serving their customers. And as we come to the end of this unexpectedly tough year, their


achievements will be celebrated at the Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards this month, which is headline sponsored for the fi rst time by Weetabix. When lockdown initially came, food suddenly became something


we couldn’t take for granted, with supermarket online delivery slots getting booked up fast, and shelves in the stores looking decidedly empty at times. At that point, many of us turned to our local suppliers and discovered what wonderful quality and service is right here on our doorsteps. But these businesses didn’t just sit back and rest


on their laurels, they found new ways of working. Take Waterloo Cottage Farm at Great Oxendon.


They have been selling meat from sustainably- farmed cattle, sheep and pigs for 10 years and have won many an NFDA award in the process. When everything changed, they started a ready-made meal service, that customers could collect or have delivered. Meanwhile, award-winning gluten-free baker


Vicky Robertson, of T e Little Bakery of Happiness in Wellingborough, made sure people didn’t miss out on her sweet and savoury treats by getting behind the wheel herself to create a delivery service. Cafés had to be particularly innovative when


lockdown meant they were unable to open. T e Good Loaf, on Overstone Road, in Northampton, started up its own next-day grocery click and collect and delivery services. Chief Executive of the social enterprise, Suzy


Van Rooyen said: “It is clear people have taken buying local to heart and I hope that that will continue when all this is over.” Helping the community was also important,


and previous Booker Young Chef runner-up, Kenny Markham, from Northampton, signed up as a volunteer chef for the Northamptonshire Emergency Food Aid Alliance. It was set up in April to provide up to 1,000 meals a day to feed the


24 ALL THINGS BUSINESS


Christian Day and Simon Dyer The former MasterChef


contestants judging the Booker Young Chef of the Year cook-off


county’s most vulnerable, poor and disadvantaged people through the crisis. However, while innovative ideas sprang up all over the county, it’s fair to say that it has not been an easy year and many food businesses found things challenging, even as restrictions started to ease. NFDA headline sponsor Weetabix certainly


recognises how hard businesses are still working to give excellent service in these circumstances. Marketing Director Francesca T eokli said: “When we took on the headline sponsorship this year, we could little have imagined the challenges that we would now be facing. We are thrilled though, to be able to celebrate some of the tireless work that is being done. Proof of the agility and dynamism of our food and drink sector. “We’re delighted to help shine a deserved


spotlight on those who, despite their own trading diffi culties, are still managing to play a vital role in local life and beyond.”


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