A VEGAN food blogger, a recently opened restaurant and a Stratford pub are just three of the shining stars that came out on top at the Coventry and Warwickshire Foodie runners-up.
Katie Todd, 25, from Henley, has been named Young Foodie of the Year for her Midlands-focused vegan blog which she launched in 2020, creating easy plant-based recipes and hosting a street food event called The Veg Weekender.
The marketing manager, who has 17,600 Instagram followers, is now a vegan but became a vegetarian in 2017 when she started thinking more about what she ate and where her food came from.
She told the Herald: “After actually adopting my dog in 2016, I thought a lot about our relationship and our view of animals. I asked myself ‘How can I love and care for an animal while still eating others?’ I felt like a hypocrite, I realized that eating meat was not in line with my personal ethics and values, so I decided to quit.
She added: “Becoming a vegetarian sparked a new love for exploring food, so I started my Instagram page. I wanted a dedicated space to share meatless dishes and inspiration for others. I never imagined it would become so popular, but I’m so grateful.
Meanwhile, Portuguese restaurant The Cork & Tile in Guild Street has won the International Taste Award. The restaurant, which opened earlier this year, serves authentic Portuguese cuisine to rave reviews.
Based at the Fred Winter Centre, the kitchens and restaurant are run as a social enterprise with the goal of training and retraining people returning to work who may have experienced homelessness. Owner Neil Perry said: “What an incredible honour, we are so grateful to everyone at Stratford for supporting us and we would like to thank all of our partners within the Fred Winter Centre.”
There was also a trophy for the Coach House in Rother Street which won the award for best pub or bar.
The pub, which is owned by Davenports Brewery, reopened last year after a major refurbishment and has been a big supporter of the community, helping to raise funds to buy three defibrillators for the town and sponsoring the table tennis league of the region that could have closed without financial support. .
Managing Director Linzi Toon said, “The team and I were thrilled to win this prestigious award, we work so hard to ensure we provide a great experience for our customers. We receive fabulous reviews of our food, entertainment and service, so it’s wonderful to see them recognized in this award.
More than 50 finalists vied for success in 17 food and drink categories, under the scrutiny of a judging panel that included Michelin-starred chef Paul Foster, who runs Stratford’s Salt restaurant, winner of the Great British Bake Off Candice Brown and food and drink broadcaster Nigel Barden.
The awards, hosted at Fargo Village in Coventry, are organized 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 much food and drink people support wonderfully, it was amazing.”
The other local winners were:
Start-up Foodie Award – St Maur – Alcester
Elderflower liqueur craft business in Ragley Hall.
Farm of the Year Award – The Farm – Stratford
Based in Snitterfield, The Farm champions independent businesses in Warwickshire and neighboring counties and also runs a cookery school.
Craft Beverage Producer Award – Napton Cidery – Napton-on-the-Hill
This independent family cider house.
Artisan Food Producer Award – Vittle and Smoke -Southam
This year-old family business uses the traditional craft of smoking to enhance and intensify premium ingredients.
Best Pub or Bar Award – The Coach House – Stratford
Owned by Davenports Brewery, The Coach House opened its doors last spring after a major renovation that blended the building’s 475-year history with an elegant environment that reflects Stratford’s history.