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Egon Ronay presents Guild of Food Writers Annual Awards

Last night (25 June) in The Great Hall, Lincoln 's Inn, London the Guild of Food Writers announced the winners of their much coveted Annual Awards. The country's most famous food critic, the legendary Egon Ronay, presented the Awards on behalf of the Guild, to some of the industry’s finest writers and broadcasters. Amongst the 12 winners there were some familiar names and some new ones to add to the roll of honour.

Leading the way were Guy Watson and Jane Baxter, whose Riverford Farm Cook Book won two awards, the Michael Smith Award for Work on British Food and the Jeremy Round Award for the Best First Book. Applauded by the judges for its 'honesty and integrity of vision, purpose and execution'; they welcomed its 'clean, appetising approach to recipe writing'.

Two of the country's most well known figures were recognised with Heston Blumenthal and Jamie Oliver winning Awards.

Heston was presented with the Food Book of the Year Award for The Big Fat Duck Cookbook; the judges were 'impressed by the quality of the writing and the scope of the book: the concept, the historical perspective, the detailed recording of research and experiments, the keen intelligence that makes it so compelling and personal.'

Jamie Oliver's campaigning Jamie's Ministry of Food television series and Geoff Tansey and Tasmin Rajotte's book The Future Control of Food were the joint winners of the Derek Cooper Award for Campaigning and Investigative Food Writing. This was an unprecedented double for Geoff who last year won the other Derek Cooper Award (for best food campaigner/educator) at the BBC's Food and Farming Awards.

In the Awards league table, Fuchsia Dunlop and Diana Henry each won their second Guild Award; Mark Hix and Bee Wilson won their third; and BBC Radio Four's The Food Programme won its sixth.

The crowning glory of the evening came when Guild President, Jane Suthering, surprised two of the Guild's most renowned members when she presented Lifetime Achievement Awards to pioneering restaurant reviewer Egon Ronay and celebrated cookery writer Mary Berry, who join the pantheon of the Guild's Life Members with Hugo Dunn-Meynell, Marguerite Patten, Katie Stewart, Grace Mulligan and Liz Burn.

Guild president, Jane Suthering, commented on the evening: ‘The Awards ceremony is a highlight of the Guild year and last night was no exception. What a fantastic evening! Congratulations to all those who made the shortlist and especially to the winners.’
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26 June 2009
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