Public urged to vote in this year’s Sussex Food and Drink Awards

Sussex Food and Drinks Awards 2015 at the AMEX. Sally Gunnell SUS-160609-191018003

Sussex Food and Drinks Awards 2015 at the AMEX. Sally Gunnell SUS-160609-191018003

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The public is being asked to choose its favourites from the finalists of six categories of the Sussex Food and Drink Awards 2017.

Organisers and Olympic gold medallist Sally Gunnell, OBE, who is patron of the awards, are urging the public to go online and pick who they think should win the food producer, drink producer, eating experience, butcher, food shop and farmers’ market categories before voting closes next Saturday (September 24).

To date, 11,000 people have voted – a record number in the history of the awards, according to the organisers.

Paula Seager, co-director of Natural Partnerships CIC, which runs the awards, said: “We are delighted to be celebrating a record number of votes so far this year, but there is still time to vote online to give your favourite the chance of winning gold.

“Voting is very tight so it will be exciting to see who makes it through as grand finalists, which are announced in November.

“Businesses from across the entire region have made it onto the list including 25 from East Sussex and 35 from West Sussex.”

Public voting for the categories opened after the awards’ Big Reveal event at Ridgeview Wine Estate, in Ditchling, on July 4, where the 10 finalists of each of the six classes were announced.

Nominations for the newcomer, young chef and farmer categories are now closed and judging is underway; the live final of the street food class will take place next month.

The winners and runners-up of all 10 categories will receive their awards on February 1 2017 at a Bafta-style ceremony hosted by Sally Gunnell and Danny Pike from BBC Sussex at the Amex stadium in Falmer.

To vote, or for more about the awards, visit www.sussexfoodawards.biz.

Organisers say the aims of the awards is to is to support and boost local farmers, food and drink producers and the outlets which serve and sell their superb local fare.

Starting from small beginnings 11 years ago, the awards have grown to become prestigious and respected, with huge support from business in the county, bringing together the whole food and farming community. It also helps people source local producers.

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