In May 2016, an open invitation was extended to the capital’s small, good food and drink makers, growers, retailers and heroes to enter. The list was then served up to Londoners, 3400 of whom voted for their favourites, creating a shortlist of finalists in 11 categories. The winners were then chosen by a panel including London-based chefs Tom Hunt, Rowley Leigh and Oliver Rowe and food writer Olia Hercules.
The following winners were announced on 21 September during Urban Food Fortnight at a special event at Borough Market, opened by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan:
- Beautiful Brew - Queen of Diamonds IPA (Wild Card Brewery)
- Heavenly Honey - Bermondsey Street Honey (Bermondsey Street Bees)
- London Leaves - Supergreen Frilly Mixed Salad (GrowUp Urban Farms)
- Londoners’ Loaf: plain - The Brick House Miche (Brick House)
- Londoners Loaf: special - Double Chocolate Sourdough (Brick House)
- Proper Preserves - Fruit Cheese (Fruit Magpie)
- Best Retailer - The Food Assembly
- Capital Growth’s Growing Enterprise - Forty Hall Community Vineyard
- Most Inspiring Producer - Bee Collective
- Roots to Work - Growing Communities' Dagenham Farm
- Sustainable Street Food - Gourmet Goat
- Best Surplus Food Initiative - Gourmet Goat
Voting ended on 8 July, by which time 3440 people had voted. The top three (ie finalists) in each category were:
Honey Pale Ale (Pearly Queen Beer Company)
Toast Ale (Toast Ale)
Queen of Diamonds IPA (Wild Card Brewery)
Bermondsey Street Bees
Spitalfields City Farm
GrowUp Urban Farms
Londoners’ Loaf – plain
Chase Sourdough (Holtwhites Bakery Limited)
The Brick House Miche (Brick House)
Sixteen Hour Sourdough (Hen Corner)
Londoners Loaf – special
Cinnamon Swirl (Hen Corner)
Chocolate Sourdough Loaf (Brick House)
Walnut Bread (Ma Baker)
Fruit Cheese (Fruit Magpie)
Rooty Fruity Jam (OrganicLea)
Apple & Chilli Jelly (Hen Corner)
The Food Assembly
Field to Fork Organics Cooperative
Capital Growth’s Growing Enterprise
Forty Hall Community Vineyard
Berrymede Junior School
Most Inspiring Producer
Forty Hall Community Vineyard
Roots to Work
Cafe from Crisis LDN
OrganicLea Farm Start
Sustainable Street Food
Brixton People's Kitchen
We're delighted that the winners in the produce categories have been decided by the following London-based judges:
Olia Hercules is a chef, food writer and author of Mamushka: Recipes From Ukraine & Beyond, the debut book prize winner at this year’s Fortnum & Mason Food and Drink Awards.
Tom Hunt is an acclaimed eco-chef, and author of The Natural Cook. He founded the Forgotten Feast, a campaign working on projects throughout the UK, to revive our cooking heritage and help reduce food waste and Poco an award winning restaurant in Bristol and now in London. He is also a regular contributor to London Food Link’s Jellied Eel magazine.
Rowley Leigh’s culinary CV includes Le Gavroche, before launching his own Kensington Place with Nick Smallwood in 1987, followed twenty years later Le Cafe Anglais. Throughout this time and still today he has been a prize-winning national newspaper food journalist and cookbook author.
Oliver Rowe is a chef, author and stylist whose work focuses on seasonal food. He has just published his first book, Food for All Seasons. He food journey to date takes in a stint at Moro and running his own ultra-local restaurant Konstam at The Prince Albert, which featured on BBC2's The Urban Chef. He now works on a variety of food projects, including a monthly seasonal supper club at the London Cooking Project in Battersea.
Winners in the people categories were decided by a panel drawn from the teams of the Urban Food Awards partners.
The main benefit for entrants is the opportunity to generate free publicity by using social media, local media, customers and friends to champion your bid for London-wide glory.
Finalists also receive a pair of tickets to the invitation-only Urban Food Feast and winning enterprises will be featured in The Jellied Eel magazine, read by 50,000 Londoners.
Everyone who votes will enter a draw to win a pair of tickets to the awards do.
Run by the Mayor of London, London Food Link and Borough Market, the Urban Food Awards the Urban Food Awards celebrate London’s fantastic food scene. In addition to great taste, they throw the spotlight on the good food practices and people behind the products.
The categories are:
- Produce: Londoners’ Loaf, Heavenly Honey, Beautiful Brew, London Leaves and Proper Preserves
- People: Roots to Work, Capital Growth’s Growing Enterprise, Best Retailer, Sustainable Street Food, Most Inspiring Producer.
Entry was open to producers / doers from 10 May to 6 June.
To be eligible in the produce categories, entrants' food/drink must be available to buy, and is grown or produced in a London borough by an enterprise with 50 employees or fewer, and...
- Londoners’ Loaf: plain: must be Real Bread, ie made without any artificial additives or processing aids. It must be made with flour (any kind), water and salt and leavened with either a sourdough starter or bakers' yeast.
- Londoners' Loaf: special: must be Real Bread, ie made without any artificial additives or processing aids. It must be made with flour (any kind), water and salt and leavened with either a sourdough starter or bakers' yeast, and have one or more extra natural ingredients - eg butter, oil, cheese, seeds, nuts, butter, seaweed, vegetables, fruit, beer...
- Heavenly Honey: Collected from hives in London boroughs, not just blended/packaged here
- Beautiful Brew: Open to all types/styles of beer or ale
- London Leaves: This is for growers that sell their own mixed salads, rather than eateries or retailers that don’t actually grow them
- Proper Preserves: Jam, chutney or other preserve made in London without artificial additives of any kind from fruit or veg grown in London or from surplus produce. Salt, vinegar, sugar and spices can come from elsewhere.
- Roots to Work: celebrating organisations helping people learn the ropes of the food trade, by running training in growing, making or selling
- Capital Growth’s Growing Enterprise: entrepreneurs generating income from and for their community food gardens
- Best Retailer: open to shops, stalls, box schemes, local markets and online outlets leading the way in offering a marketplace for small batch London producers
- Sustainable Street Food: We’re looking for more than just dude food from a nice van. Must clearly demonstrate ethical/sustainable practices – see below. We encourage you to read The Good Food Guide for Festival and Street-food Caterers.
- Most Inspiring Producer: the person or team behind growing/making and selling great food or drink of any sort in London in a way that sets a good food benchmark for others
What the judges are looking for
When entering, people were advised to make clear the ways in which they:
- operate in a demonstrably sustainable/ethical way - eg vegan, certified organic, all/mainly London-grown, certified sustainable fish, pay London Living Wage, operate as a worker-owned cooperative, certified higher welfare meat, reduce surplus and prevent food waste, social enterprise etc. Read Sustain’s good food guidelines to find out more.
- offer social benefits and contribute to your local economy
- work to reduce the negative, or increase the positive, health impact of what you make
While we waleys like to see passion come through, we encouraged entrants to avoid hyperbole and marketing speak and make sure they back up claims (eg sustainably sourced, local, ethical etc.) as outlined above.
What happens when
- 10 May: Entries open
- 31 May: Entries close. Entrants may be contacted to check they meet the criteria
- 8 June – noon on 8 July: The public vote
- After 11 July: Entrants advised whether or not they have been shortlisted for final judging
- August/September: Final judging
- September: Feature on finalists in Jellied Eel issue 52
- 21 September: Winners announced at invitation-only Urban Food Feast at Borough Market
- January 2017: Feature celebrating the winners in Jellied Eel issue 53
- Winners will be chosen from eligible, participating entries based on a combination of public votes and the views of the judging panel.
- The judges’ decisions are final and neither they or the Urban Foods Awards partners will enter into correspondence about them.
Past UFA winners
- Beautiful Brew: Strange Brew Pale Ale by Clarkshaws Brewing Company
- Best Banger: Daz's by Green & Fortune Cafe
- The Big Smoke’s Big Cheese: Napier by Wildes Cheese
- Heavenly Honey: Postcode Honey by Barnes & Webb
- London Leaves: Hackney Salad by Growing Communities
- The Londoners’ Loaf: Danish Sourdough 100% Organic Rye Bread by SNAPS + RYE
- Capital Growth’s Growing Enterprise: Nat Mady, Hackney Herbal
- New Shoots Food Guru: Dee Laverty, Broadwaters Inclusive Learning Community
- Food Hero: Jack Clarke and Theresa Douthwright, SoleShare
- London Markets Initiative Krys Zasada Memorial Award: Borough Market
- Best Producer: Organiclea
- Best Retailer: Brockley and Wapping Markets
- Best Eatery: Stepney City Farm Café
- Best Educator: Made in Hackney
- The People’s Choice Award: Crisis Skylight Café
- Capital Growth Enterprise: Growing Kultur
- Capital Growth Enterprising School Garden: Nightingale Primary School, Hackney
- Good Food For London Best Borough: London Borough of Islington
- London Markets Initiative Krys Zasada Memorial Award: Kingston Ancient Market
The Urban Food Awards 2016 are run by the Mayor of London, London Food Link and Borough Market.
If you have any queries about entries and voting, please email londonfoodlink [at] sustainweb.org, though please note that sometime we're only able to check and respond to messages once in a week.
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