Get Involved – The English Italian Awards

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As the launch of the English Italian Awards is nearing (Spring this year), I thought I would share with you some further details on the awards themselves and the ‘low down’ on what’s involved. A little bit more of the ‘nitty gritty’, if you like, on these new kids in town!

I met face to face with Michael MacFarlane – the Press and Events Coordinator for the awards, as well as Michael Allen and Warren Paul the Event’s Organisers. Three lovely, humble, down to earth guys who love food and spectacular events, and who are on a mission to find England’s best Italian food spots. After all, being Scottish, they have already done this in Scotland – so now it’s our turn…

The awards are free to take part in, and any Italian business can enter (as long as the business uses Italian produce or is Italian run – you can enter). Once you have registered your interest, you will be sent a Voting Pack from the Italian Awards team. Then – the race begins, voting opens in Spring and the task then is to ask your customers to vote for you! The top 5 venues with the most votes for each category will be entered into the final – which involves an independent judging process. The Gala Awards final will be held later on in the year, a big event with lots of press and even Italian chef Aldo Zilli present on the night as celebrity judge!

Below is a full list of this year’s categories:

  • Favorite Italian Business
  • Best Italian Restaurant
  • Best Pizza
  • Best Pasta
  • Best Bistro
  • Best Multiple Operator
  • Best Fish and Chips
  • Best Front of House
  • Best Newcomer
  • Best Wine List
  • Best Family Restaurant
  • Most Romantic Restaurant
  • Best Marketing Team
  • Best Restaurant Design
  • Best Deli
  • Best Barista
  • Italian Chef of the Year
  • Best Ice Cream Parlour

When I met the team, I put a few questions to the guys, before chowing down on some scrumptious Italian food in Manchester. Over dinner we discussed their plans in detail, but I have summarised the most important pieces of information below. Remember, for a little more background on the awards, you can click here to go to my previous post. For now, here is all the detail you need to know on how to get involved:

Q. How do restaurants/businesses sign up to be nominated for an English Italian Award?
A. They simply have to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, or email us (events@paramountcreative.co.uk) and let us know they want to be involved. We will then send an information pack out when voting opens in Spring.
Q. Can restaurants/businesses apply for multiple categories – if so, how many?
A. There are no limits how many categories a venue wants to go for.
Q. Are there any geographical limitations? I.e. Manchester area or UK wide?
A. No limitations, venues across the whole of England can compete should they wish to.
Q. Who decides the short list?
A. The public vote decide the short list, the top 5 with the most votes go to the final.
Q. What happens next?
A. The top 5 are then individually judges by a panel of industry experts and scored on a scorecard which is also created by the experts. The winner of each category will be chosen within the 4 week judging process, and announced on the Gala Awards night.
Do you think you have what it takes to win one of these prestigious awards? Or do you know of a venue who would compete well against others in some of the categories?  THEN GET INVOLVED! THE BEST MUST WIN!
If you have any further questions, please contact:
The Italian Awards | info@italianawards.co.uk | www.italianawards.co.uk | 0141 774 5272
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An Introduction to Taste Today

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Hey foodies, it’s been a little while since my last post. The past few weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind to be honest, but I have some news for you…

I am now a writer for Taste Today, which is a brand new website promoting everything to do with food in the North West and beyond. It’s an online magazine style site which promotes, praises and publicises all things food in the region, and really celebrates local produce and independent producers.

Taste Today delivers the latest food and comment from across the whole industry, plus features recipes, offers and competitions. I am so glad to be part of a team which champion local produce and aim to get it into the shopping baskets and onto the plates of local people. We want to raise awareness that everything we need is locally available, and more often than not is produced with love, care and pride!

I will be writing a range of features for Taste Today, mainly falling into the Dining In and Dining Out categories. Here is the link to my bio on the website: tastetoday.co.uk/about, please keep your eyes peeled for my first article featuring the wonderful Cheshire Smokehouse! I will be posting regular updates from my Twitter account (@sophiesscran) and you can also follow Taste Today directly – so please do (@TasteTodayHub)!

I sincerely hope you enjoy taking a look around the site, please let me know what you think. If you think you know of a story which would feature well on the site, you can contact Jo Cooksey (Editor and Founder) on hello@tastetoday.co.uk, or drop me an email direct on sophiesscran@gmail.com.

Thanks for all your support!

With love, Sophie -x-

The Great British Cook Book

The Great British Cook Book

Fellow Foodies, listen up! This is big news, and something I have been waiting to share with you all for a few weeks now, but hence my busy work schedule and holiday to Gran Canaria it’s taken me a while for me to get the chance… I hope after reading you’re as excited as I am about this carefully crafted thing of foodie beauty!

I have received some exclusive information about an innovative new cook book, set for release later this month. It’s been years in the making and is aptly named: The Great British Cook Book.  The makers behind the book have undertaken a nationwide search to find 200 different and diverse dishes from the 10 regions of Great Britain. The book is a celebration of our diversified nation and features a variety of Chefs, styles and foods to please any pallet.

The book will include 20 recipes from each of the 10 areas of the Great British Isles, which include London and the South, the North West,  Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. One thing that really caught my attention, is that the book does not purely feature ‘AA Rosette’ or ‘Michelin Star’ restaurants/Chefs but will cover a range of different venues that are passionate about food, use innovative and inspiring recipes with locally-sourced produce.

Another great element to the book is that it has been joined by some real household names such as; Rick Stein, Michael Caines and Nigella Lawson (to name a few). Adam Simmonds (Great British Menu winner 2014) is the books main ambassador, stated;

“When the guys first came to me a few years ago, I knew nothing of this magnitude had been done before and was instantly hooked on the concept, the support from the Chef world has been truly amazing!”

Gary Allen, Project Director for the book also quoted:

“We wanted to combine our love of food and some of the amazing Chefs and food producers we have come across through the years of working in the industry. The book has a real commitment to raising awareness on using local and sustainable produce where possible, just like some of the reader’s favourite chefs and restaurants. All book sales will be donated to Macmillian Cancer support and Hospitality Action.”

The book will feature 50 starters, 100 mains and 50 desserts as well as 10 in-depth features of unique and traditional trades in the UK. Some areas covered are Butchery, Fishmongers, Baking and Home Growing; offering a rare insight into how these traditional trades work in our modern society.

I really feel this book is going to take us fellow foodies on the ultimate food journey, through a culinary array of cooking techniques, flavours and produce origins. The makers of the book have done all the hard work, so readers just need to kick-back and enjoy the detail presented, and hopefully cook and share the recipes for years to come.

Over the course of the next 2 weeks, I will be posting further information about the North West based contributors to the book, before it’s release on the 20th November, so watch this space!

In the meantime, for more information, please visit www.thegreatbritishcookbook.co.uk or follow on Twitter @gbcookbook.

BBC Good Food Show, save 20% on tickets

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Save 20% on tickets to the BBC Good Food Show by using the promo code WW20 at the check-out! We will be there on Saturday 29th November and our show of choice is the Two Greedy Italians: Antonio Carluccio & Gennaro Contaldo @ 12:30 PM! 

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The event is all hosted at the NEC in Birmingham! Other guest chefs are John Torode, James Martin, Tom Kerridge, Paul Hollywood, Mary Berry and the Hairy Bikers!

Get your tickets before the offer expires at midnight tonight: http://www.bbcgoodfoodshowwinter.com/Content/Welcome/1/

Hope to see you there, fellow foodies -x-