A CELEBRATION of food and drink has shone a light on the best producers in our region.

Winners of the Garbutt + Elliott Food & Drink Awards 2021 were unveiled at York Racecourse where businesses within the sector were recognised for their resilience and achievements.

Returning for their fourth year, the awards attracted 132 entries across 11 categories, including the overall winner which went to Soanes Poultry.

The top title was judged by Tony Farmer, head of corporate finance at the advisory and audit firm, along with chef consultant, Stephanie Moon.

The award recognised the success of the family-owned integrated farming business that consistently produces exceptionally tasty produce and impressed the judges with its business approach during Covid-19.

Soanes Poultry supply businesses ranging from the established Michelin-starred Pipe and Glass in Beverley and Bettys to up-and-coming London riverfront restaurant, Marsha.

During lockdown, as well as building their business success, they supported the local community in a variety of ways as well as supporting independent retailers.

Nigel Upson, the business's managing director, said: “We are delighted to be recognised as Overall Winners and Producer of the Year. What an amazing night and testament to all the hard work and commitment of our team who worked round the clock to supply independent retailers throughout the pandemic when many of the supermarkets had bare shelves and help support our local care homes and food poverty charity, EMS.”

This year there was also a special emphasis on the ‘true Yorkshire grit’ award recognising a Yorkshire business that came out on top despite the challenges of the pandemic.

This went to Yorkshire Dama Cheese which overcame flood damage to their premises caused by Storm Ciara and the impact of Covid to launch two new cheese products which support local farmers by using goats’ milk that was being wasted due to over production.

The ‘making a difference’ award went to Northern Bloc in recognition of their limited edition The Show Must Go On! ice cream with all proceeds going to the Theatre Support Fund, which supported theatres and the theatre community through the pandemic.

Tony Farmer said: “We are thrilled to be back hosting a live event and bringing people together to celebrate and support the unparalleled food and drink scene here in Yorkshire.

"The standard of entrants was extremely high, showcasing great diversity and quality. Many congratulations to all our finalists and winners – it’s clear there are some great entrepreneurial businesses within our region and everyone who entered impressed us with their drive and determination.”

Stephanie Moon said: “The food and drink industry is perhaps one of the most challenging, but also one of the most rewarding sectors in business. Industry statistics make it clear that you need passion, but practical passion composed of great marketing, product positioning, and strategy – all of which are necessary to increase your chances of success. Soanes Poultry are a great example of this and are worthy winners of the Overall award.”

The full awards category winners are:

• Personality of the year – Harry Baines, Love Cheese - sponsored by Rollits

• Rising Star – Bloom Bakers - sponsored by Country Products

• Hospitality provider of the year – Vice & Virtue - sponsored by LocalIQ

• Producer of the year – Soanes Poultry - sponsored by Partners &

• Retailer of the year – Keelham Farm Shop - sponsored by Proudfoot Supermarkets

• Manufacturer of the year – Yockenthwaite - sponsored by Xero

• Best new food product – Honest Bean Co - sponsored by Subrosa

• Best new drink product – Tame & Wild - sponsored by Reed Boardall

• True Yorkshire Grit –Yorkshire Dama Cheese - sponsored by York Racecourse

• Making a difference – Northern Bloc - sponsored by Deliciouslyorkshire

• Overall Winner – Soanes Poultry