The Grampian Food Forum Innovation Awards 2015 are now open for entries fromAberdeenshire, Aberdeen City and Moray food and drink producers.
Organisers of this year’s event are hoping for a bumper crop of entries as they will be celebrating the harvest of 25 years of food and drink innovation from the north-east.
Award categories will include new retail product, best new food service product, best young business, food & drink entrepreneur and commitment to health and wellbeing.
Businesses who have put new products in the spotlight will be considered by an expert judging panel led by head judge Stephen Brown, Local Sourcing and Diversification Manager of Scotmid Co-operative Foods.
Commenting on the task ahead, Mr Brown said: “As a Co-operative business with its roots firmly in Scotland, we have always valued the excellent produce and foods that Scotland is able to produce since our establishment in 1859.
“Our customers love the fact that we are able to stock so many products that are produced in the communities that our stores serve.
“We are obviously delighted to be supporting the Grampian Food Forum Innovation Awards and look forward to meeting and working with the producers of Grampian who are some of the finest, not just in Scotland, but across the globe.”
Joining him on the judging panel will be Graham Singer, Executive Chef of ESS Support Services Worldwide.
Graham has gained vast experience having working in many top-class restaurants, including the famous St Andrews Old Course Resort.
His culinary expertise also continues to be recognised on the world stage with the Scottish National team with whom he has competed, winning numerous gold medals in the culinary Olympics and the World Grand Prix.
Completing the judging panel is Maxine Clark, Lecturer in Food and Consumer Sciences at Abertay Unversity.
Maxine, an experienced chef, tutor and demonstrator, has worked for over 35 years in many different aspects of the food industry, including working for 20 of those years in London with food companies, magazines and publishers as a food writer and stylist.
Chairman of Aberdeenshire Council Infrastructure Services Committee, Cllr Peter Argyle, said: “I would like to thank the judges for taking the time out of their busy schedules to be involved in the Grampian Food Forum Innovation Awards.
“Aberdeenshire’s rich heritage of agriculture and fishing puts us in an extremely fortunate position of having some of the very best food and drink producers in Scotland.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the new and exciting products being put forward to be formally recognised on a national platform.”
Grant Henderson of six°north brewery has been working with the Forum to promote the awards.
He said: “The calibre of the judging panel means that if they like what they see and taste, their recognition has the potential to open doors to small businesses looking for their big break.”
The winners of the awards will be announced at a presentation dinner, which will take place on Thursday, March 19, at the Mercure Aberdeen Ardoe House Hotel and Spa.
For full details, category entry forms and to book places at the awards presentation dinner, go to www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/foodawards
Entries must be submitted by the closing date of Tuesday, February 3.
Supporters of the Grampian Food Forum Innovation Awards are:
Aberdeenshire Council, Aberdeen City Council, Ardoe Houes Hotel and Spa, Asda, AVC Media, EES Support Services Worldwide, Grampian Food Forum Steering Group Members, Highlands and IslandsEnterprise, Johnston Carmichael, Keenan Recycling Ltd, Mackie’s of Scotland, Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health, Scotland Food & Drink, Scottish Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland, The Moray Council, The Press and Journal and Think Local.