Food Book Awards

For the past few years I have been one of the judges for the Guild of Food Writers annual food writing awards. Last year 100 new books landed on my doorstep. Who says you can’t have too many cookery books? The awards are always worth following for discovering really good quality and worthwhile food books, some from small publishers you may not otherwise come across along with blogs, broadcasts, magazines and campaigns you may have missed. Having just returned from an amazing trip to Georgia, I was delighted to see that Carla Capalbo’s book on Georgia had won the Food and Travel award. It was the book that guided us through so many food and wine adventures in that remarkable country.  There are many other worthy winners so take a look.

Food Writing Award: Joanna Blythman for work published by the Sustainable Food Trust and in The Guardian and Sunday Herald

Cookery Writing Award: Meera Sodha for work published in The Guardian’s Weekend magazine

Restaurant Writing Award: Tim Hayward for work pubished in FT Weekend Magazine

Food Blog Award: Grand Dishes ( by Iska Lupton and Anastasia Miari

Food Broadcast Award: Food Programme: Leah Chase: The cook who changed America presented and produced by Dan Saladino (BBC Radio 4)

British Food Award: Sue Quinn for work published in Dorset Magazine

Food & Travel Award: Tasting Georgia: A Food and Wine Journey in the CaucasusTasting Georgia: A Food and Wine Journey in the Caucasus (Pallas Athene)

Campaigning Award: Foodism: Issue 21 (sustainability special issue) (Square Up Media)

Food Magazine Award: Market Life magazine, edited by Mark Riddaway

First Book Award: The Palestinian Table by Reem Kassis (Phaidon)

Food Book Award: The Hungry Empire: How Britain’s Quest for Food Shaped the Modern World by Lizzie Collingham (Bodley Head)

Cookery Book Award: The Modern Cook’s Year by Anna Jones (4th Estate)

Special Award: Charlie Hicks

Lifetime Achievement Award: Anne Willan

2012 Guild of Food Writers Awards

So off we went to That London and the fabulously historic Fishmongers Hall for the 16th Guild of Food Writers Awards (Jill was on the judging panel for the Michael Smith Award for Work on British Food category) with a song in our hearts and a secret hope that we might make the shortlist (Restaurant Reviewer of the Year (Jill) and Food Blog (Squidders)) but determined to make a night of it regardless. And what a night. Balmy breezes and late sunshine slanting across The Shard on London Bridge, and warm enough to spill out of the building onto the patio, all the better to catch the waiter’s eye (actually no need, since the wine and divine canapés just kept coming) and in my case to rubber-neck food writing royalty who were present in abundance. Squeaking like a teenager, I caught glimpses of Roden, Rayner and MacLeod, Parker-Bowles, Norman, Fort and Ottolenghi – folk I read every week, some of whose writing I aspire to. Speaking of which I buttonholed Jay Rayner who turns out to be a splendid chap; friendly and warm with a lovely crinkly smile which spread across his entire face, not just round the mouth (ie pretend). We had a laugh and I shamelessly banged on about Squidders, not letting him get away until he promised to subscribe to our newsletter.

No gongs for us this time but there’s always next year ..


And the winners are

Cookery Book of the Year Award: Couture Chocolate by William Curley

Derek Cooper Award for Campaigning and Investigative Food Writing or Broadcasting: Hugh’s Fish Fight

Evelyn Rose Award for Cookery Journalist of the Year: Lucas Hollweg for work published in The Sunday Times’ Style Magazine

Food Blog of the Year Award: Poires au Chocolat ( by Emma Gardner

Food Book of the Year Award: Food Britannia by Andrew Webb

Food Broadcast of the Year Award: Hugh’s Fish Fight

Food Journalist of the Year Award: Tim Hayward

Food Magazine of the Year Award: Fire & Knives edited by Tim Hayward

Best First Book Award: How to Make Bread by Emmanuel Hadjiandreou

Kate Whiteman Award for Work on Food and Travel: Jerusalem on a Plate presented by Yottam Ottolenghi

Michael Smith Award for Work on British Food: Work published in the Birmingham Post by Richard McComb

Miriam Polunin Award for Work on Healthy Eating: The Food Programme: Transfats presented by Sheila Dillon

New Media of the Year Award:

Restaurant Reviewer of the Year: John Walsh for work published in The Independent Magazine

Lifetime Achievement Award: Claudia Roden

Squid in Staithes

I have never seen a man happier than Matthew Asquith of Whitby Seafish when he won Producer of the Year at the Yorkshire Life awards in September. Not so long ago  his business was down in the dumps. Now it’s bouncing.

I dropped in on Saturday morning to find him experimenting with a Staithes version of Arbroath Smokies and went away with a bag full of haddock, halibut and squid. If you associate squid more with summer on a Greek Island (I did) then I can assure you fresh North Sea squid in November is every bit as good.

Matthew cleaned it and all I had to do was slice into rings, dip in seasoned flour and deep fry. Delicious.

Whitby Seafish Unit 1a Whitegate Close, Staithes, North Yorkshire TS13 5BB

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