Two Coventry chefs are among the finalists competing in a Masterchef-style cook-off judged by celebrity chef Glynn Purnell, in the inaugural Coventry and Warwickshire Foodie Awards.
Jay Alam from Tumeric Gold in Coventry city centre and Tobias Reutt of Earlsdon Supper Club will be joined by Warwick’s Baabzi Miah from Baabzi’s, and George Cambridge from Warwick Street Kitchen, in Leamington, to decide the Chef/Cook of the Year.
Competition will be hotting up in the cookery school kitchen at The Farm in Stratford, on July 13, when the finalists are each invited to showcase a favourite signature dish, ahead of the final ceremony nine days later.
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The Foodie Awards 2021, in partnership with Visit Coventry and Warwickshire County Council, was established to recognise an array of food and drink businesses from producers to chefs, street food traders, restaurants and bars.
‘Yummy Brummie’ Glynn Purnell will be tasting the dishes alongside his former employer Andreas Antona, owner of The Cross in Kenilworth.
The popular chef, who regularly appears on Saturday Kitchen, said: “I’m very excited to be judging the finalists in the Best Chef/Cook category of the Coventry and Warwickshire Foodie Awards alongside my old boss Andreas Antona.
“Between us, we have the very tough task of finding out who is the best chef in this exciting upcoming culinary region, and I can’t wait to taste the selection of dishes in the final.”
Categories for the awards also include best artisan food and drink producers, best farm shop, best independent food and drink retailer, best newcomer and best street food trader, as well as best food/drink experience.
Three special awards will also recognise businesses and individuals who went above and beyond during the coronavirus pandemic – including a COVID-19 Resilience Award backed by Visit Coventry and The Godiva Award, sponsored by Coventry BID.
Andreas Antona, chef owner of The Cross at Kenilworth and Simpsons in Edgbaston – both of which hold Michelin stars, said: “We have many passionate and talented producers, chefs and restaurants in Warwickshire and it’s great to celebrate this with the Foodies Awards. I hope we can build on what has been achieved during such challenging times to make them bigger and better next year.”
Antona, who worked as a chef with some of the biggest names in the chef world before leaving the kitchen to focus on life as a restaurateur, is a passionate supporter of training and education and founded the Bocuse d’Or UK Academy, an organisation dedicated to supporting British chefs as they prepare for the Bocuse d’Or – the world’s largest and most prestigious cooking contest. This year he launched Antona at Home, a nationwide meal and food delivery service with a passion for produce at its heart.
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All the winners will be announced at a ceremony at The Box at FarGo Village on July 22 where money will also be raised for The Trussell Trust network of eight food banks in Coventry and Warwickshire.
Co-organiser of The Foodies, Jonathan Smith, of Talk Business UK, said: ‘’When we launched the Foodie Awards one of the key criteria was to have those highly respected in the culinary world engaging with the awards to be the critical friends and assessing their peers in the industry, whether from established businesses or just starting out. It is fantastic having Glynn, Antona and Russell so generously giving their time in this way.”
Charlie Wells, spokesperson for The Farm in Snitterfield, said: “We are super excited to be hosting the cook-off for the Foodie Awards 2021 finalists, along with Glynn Purnell and Andreas Antona. Thank you Foodie Awards for joining us at The Farm! Our Cookery School is about to welcome some of the best chefs in the area and we cannot wait! Best of luck to the finalists!”