The Observer Food Monthly Awards had a much-anticipated return after three years away to champion the best in food and drink across the UK, as voted for by Observer readers and a panel of judges. Observer Food Monthly editor Allan Jenkins introduced the evening’s event, co-hosted by Observer and Guardian restaurant critics Jay Rayner and Grace Dent.
In the reader-voted categories, best food personality was presented to popular gluten-free cook Becky Excell, while best new cookbook was given to cook and presenter Georgina Hayden for Nistisima. Food hero was awarded to campaigner and budget cooking expert Jack Monroe. Best restaurant was scooped by Michelin-starred Roots in York.
The judge-voted categories saw Sertaç Dirik awarded young chef of the year, whilst Mumtaz Khan, who received an MBE earlier this year in recognition of his charitable work running London’s Community Kitchen, was awarded for outstanding achievement. Each week, the kitchen feeds more than 14,000 people across London borough Harrow and neighbouring areas. Restaurateur Shun-Bun Lee was presented with the prestigious lifetime achievement award.
#CookforUkraine, a community and volunteer-led fundraising initiative designed to support the people and children impacted by the conflict in Ukraine, was honoured with the Editor’s award. While much-loved cook, writer and television presenter Delia Smith won the Observer Food Monthly icon award.
Delia Smith, chef, television presenter and Observer Food Monthly icon award winner, said:
“I am deeply touched and filled with gratitude at receiving this very prestigious icon award from Observer Food Monthly. I have now spent 50 years writing recipes, columns and presenting TV - not alone but with the help of an amazing support team who have been with me all through. My gratitude also goes to all the people who still use my books and show so much appreciation after all this time.”
Mumtaz Khan, MBE, outstanding achievement award winner, said:
“It is an honour to accept this award on behalf of the entire team at London’s Community Kitchen. It is wonderful to know that our work has been recognised and appreciated. What makes this award even more special and personal to me is receiving this recognition amongst some of the very best in the food industry, an industry which I have passionately been a part of for decades.”
Allan Jenkins, Observer Food Monthly editor, said:
“We are thrilled the Observer Food Monthly Awards are back. Our readers have again shown great taste in food and drink across the UK. It’s so good to see the huge variety – whether vegan, gluten-free, good pizza or Sunday roast, there’s something for everyone. I’m especially proud we have been able to honour projects such as London’s Community Kitchen and #CookforUkraine for their brilliant work supporting people in need at home and abroad. Highlighting heroes is what our OFM Awards are for.”
The winners in each category are as follows:
Best restaurant (supported by Birrificio Angelo Poretti ) - Roots
Best value eats - Yard Sale Pizza
Best Sunday lunch - The Queen o’ t’ owd Thatch
Best new cookbook (supported by Charlie Bigham) - Nistisima, Georgina Hayden
Food hero (supported by M&S Food) - Jack Monroe
Best place to drink - Ginger Viking
Best social media - Pipers Farm
Best food personality (supported by Magimix) - Becky Excell
Best producer (supported by M&S Food) - Pump Street
Outstanding achievement - Mumtaz Khan MBE, London’s Community Kitchen
Young chef of the year - Sertaç Dirik
Lifetime achievement - Shun-Bun Lee
Editors award - #CookforUkraine
Observer Food Monthly team award
The Observer Food Monthly icon award - Delia Smith
More information about the awards can be found here. The Observer Food Monthly Awards issue is available on Sunday 16 October, free with the Observer.
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