"I am thrilled and hugely grateful to receive such a prestigious award from people I admire who have changed the way we enjoy and care about food and the way we eat. "
The winners of the annual Observer Food Monthly Awards were announced on 17th October 2019. Celebrating the best in food and drink, the awards are voted for by both readers and a panel of judges. 17 awards were presented by hosts Nigella Lawson and Jay Rayner at The Freemasons Hall in London. Women in the Food Industry presented their highlights of some of the women who picked up accolades.
Saliha Mahmood Ahmed won the MasterChef finals in 2017 and was also voted Best Chef in the British Restaurant Awards 2019 . She won the New Cookbook category in the Observer Food Monthly Awards and said: "Thank you so so much to everyone who voted! To say I'm ecstatic would be an understatement, I'm so grateful for all the love you guys show me!!"
Jess’s Ladies Organic Farm won the Best Producer Awards in the Judges Voted category, which they said was "beyond our wildest dreams". Jess Vaughan's family have been farming at Hardwicke Farm in Gloucestershire for 3 generations.
Guirong Wei came to London in 2008. By 2015 she opened her first restaurant Xi’an Impression in Highbury. In March 2019 she opened, Master Wei , her first solo restaurant serving Xi’an Cuisine in Bloomsbury, London. Wei can now add the Observer Food Awards "Best newcomer in food and drink" to her accolades.
Yotam Ottolenghi awarded Claudia Roden with the Lifetime Acheivement Award. Roden said "I am thrilled and hugely grateful to receive such a prestigious award from people I admire who have changed the way we enjoy and care about food and the way we eat. I started collecting recipes when I was twenty and became hooked on food and that is what I still do. It is wonderful now to be honoured in this way and to feel part of a vibrant community.”
The Clean Kilo the largest zero waste supermarket in the UK won Best Ethical Food Project. Jeanette Wong and her partner Tom Pell opened The Clean Kilo, in June 2018. At the zero-waste vegetarian supermarket in Digbeth, Birmingham shoppers buy products in bulk and bring in their own containers, filling them with everything from rice, pulses and pasta to yoghurt, butter and milk.
The Refugee Community Kitchen won a Judges' award for Outstanding Achievement. The charity founded by Sam Jones, Steve Bedlam, Paula Gallardo and Janie Mac serves nourishing food to displaced people in the UK and northern France. Family run noodle bar 288 Bar & Wok on Cheltenham High Street picked up Best Cheap Eats in the Reader Voted Category.
Visit Women in The Food Industry's website to discover more about the women who won the Observer Food Monthly 2019 awards and to discover the full listing of award winners. The Observer Food Monthly Awards issue is available on Sunday 20 October, and will have a gallery of all of the winners.