Coventry and Warwickshire Foodie awards sees local winners celebrate
A VEGAN food blogger, a newly opened restaurant and a Stratford pub were just three of the shining stars that came out on top at the second Coventry and Warwickshire Foodie awards.
Katie Todd, 25, from Henley, was named Young Foodie of the Year for her Midlands-focused vegan blog she started in 2020, creating easy plant-based recipes as well as running a street food event called The Veg Weekender.
The marketing executive, who has a following of 17.6k on Instagram, is now vegan but originally became a vegetarian in 2017 when she started to think more about what she was eating and where her food came from.
She told the Herald: “After adopting my dog really in 2016, I thought a lot about our relationship with and view of animals. I wondered ‘How can I love and care for one animal, whilst eating others?’ I felt like a hypocrite. I realised that eating meat didn’t align with my personal ethics and values, so I decided to stop.”
She added: “Becoming vegetarian sparked a new love for exploring food, so I started my Instagram page. I wanted a dedicated space to share meat-free dishes and inspiration for others. I never imagined it would grow to the popularity it has, but I am very grateful for it.”
Meanwhile, Portuguese restaurant The Cork & Tile in Guild Street, was given the International Taste Award. The restaurant, which opened earlier this year, serves up authentic Portuguese cuisine to enthusiastic reviews.
Based at the Fred Winter Centre, the kitchens and restaurant are run as a social enterprise with the aim of training and retraining people returning to work who may have experienced homelessness. Owner Neil Perry said: “What an incredible honour, we’re so grateful to everyone in Stratford for supporting us and we would like to thank all our partners within the Fred Winter Centre.”
There was also a trophy for the Coach House in Rother Street which won Best Pub or Bar.
The pub, which is owned by Davenports Brewery, reopened last year after a major refurbishment and has been a big community supporter, helping to raise funds to buy three defibrillators for the town and sponsoring the area’s table tennis league which could have closed without financial support.
General manager Linzi Toon said: “The team and I were thrilled to win this prestigious award, we work so hard to ensure that we deliver a great experience for our customers. We receive such fabulous feedback on our food, entertainment and service so it’s wonderful to have it acknowledged in this award.”
More than 50 finalists vied for success across 17 food and drink categories, coming under the scrutiny of a judging panel that included Michelin Star chef Paul Foster, who runs Stratford’s Salt restaurant, Great British Bake Off winner Candice Brown and food and drink broadcaster Nigel Barden.
The awards, held at Fargo Village in Coventry, are run by Visit Warwickshire and Visit Coventry.
Foodie Awards founder Jonathan Smith, of Talk Business UK, said: “Meeting all the finalists and hearing their stories, feeling their passion for what they do and seeing how wonderfully supportive the food and drink folk are towards each other, was amazing.”
Other local winners were:
Foodie Start-up Award - St Maur - Alcester
Handcrafted elderflower liqueur business at Ragley Hall.
Farm Shop of the year Award - The Farm - Stratford
Located in Snitterfield, The Farm champions independent businesses within Warwickshire and neighbouring counties and also runs a cookery school.
Artisan Drink Producer Award - Napton Cidery – Napton-on-the-Hill
This family-run independent cidery.
Artisan Food Producer Award - Vittle and Smoke -Southam
This one-year-old family-run business uses traditional smoke craft to enhance and intensify premium ingredients.
The Best Pub or Bar Award - The Coach House – Stratford
Owned by Davenports Brewery, The Coach House opened its doors last spring following a major refurbishment which blended the 475-year-old history of the building with a stylish environment that reflects the history of Stratford.