Now in its eighth year, the Caterer and Hotelkeeper Excellence in Food and Drink Awards unveils the cream of this year's crop of food and drink products for the catering and hospitality market.
Food and drink suppliers to the food service sector congregated at London's Dorchester hotel on 26 November to celebrate the 18 category winners of our annual Excellence in Food and Drink Awards - one of which also received the coveted Gold Award as the overall star performer of the year.
As well as supplying a spectrum of commercial kitchens with high-quality and innovative products to help them expand their menus profitably in terms of cost and time, suppliers are increasingly having to meet growing consumer demand for provenance, authenticity and restricted diets. This is reflected in a new award this year for food intolerance products.
Serial winners included Brakes - which waltzed home with five awards - and Brand Innovations, which scooped two wins for its authentic Indian-made snacks.
Below, we outline the winners of each category and the Gold winner, and namecheck all the products that made the shortlists for each award.
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accompaniments & Ingredients
GOLD AWARD WINNER
HELLMANN'S SESAME SOY VINAIGRETTE
This premium, two-phase vinaigrette - which has already been approved by the Craft Guild of Chefs - ticked all the boxes for our panel of judges who thought it was "a nice product" that was "nicely packaged" with "good appearance, taste and consistency". As one judge put it: "It shouts texture in its taste, texture, appearance and aroma."
Made from roasted sesame seeds - for an intense, nutty flavour - sesame oil and soya sauce, the vinaigrette is free from artificial preservatives, flavourings and colourings and delivers natural separation, good stability after shaking and a long shelf life.
Its taste tickled the palates of our judges, who praised the "completely balanced flavours" and the "nice roasted sesame seed flavour" which was so authentic, "it doesn't taste manufactured".
0800 783 3728
Farmhouse Mayonnaise Hillfarm Oils
Yutaka Japanese Style Panko Breadcrumbs Tazaki Foods
020 8344 3008
Chef's Larder Pesto Alla Genovese (M097297) Booker
[ARMAGNAC VEUVE GOUDOULIN](http://www.armagnac-gers.com)
The BAS Armagnac produced in Gers, Gascony, from the baco grape has been aged in oak barrels for more than 30 years. The result, according to our panel, is a "very smooth" tipple with a "lovely colour" and a "pure aroma" that "looks luxurious".
00 33 5 6206 3502
LA BOULANGERIE VICTORIA SPONGE TULIP MUFFIN
A modern update of an old classic, Brakes' plain sponge muffin filled with raspberry jam and vanilla-flavour icing was heaped with praise by our panel, who found it an "innovative" product in which "no element of it lets it down". The judges liked its appearance: "looks lovely" and "stands out"; its taste: "delicious" with a "great texture"; and viewed the caster sugar topping as "a good touch".
La Boulangerie Opera Brakes
Pave Rustique Multicereale Brakes
[PAUL WAYNE GREGORY](http://www.paulwaynegregory.com)
"This isn't eating chocolate, this is an experience" and "I love it!" were the reactions of our panel to this dark chocolate lolly, validating the Paul Wayne Gregory concept of "indulgence is everything". The lolly with its soft salted caramel centre with popping candy was judged to be an "amazing" and "excellent" product.
020 8664 8966
DESSERTS & PUDDINGS
CHERRY BAKEWELL SPONGE
This almond sponge pudding topped with French morello cherries and raspberry jam is billed as "comfort food at its best" and our judges agreed that "it does what it says". They liked the flavour, the texture and the topping.
Chocolate Mint Melt Creative Foods
Blackcurrant & Apple Bavarois Brakes
FAIRTRADE, ORGANIC & ETHICAL PRODUCTS
F33944 HOT SMOKED MACKEREL FILLET WITH PIRI PIRI
Brakes' MSC mackerel fillet, which is coated with piri piri spices and hot smoked "achieves its objectives" according to our panel, which predicted not only that "it will sell" but that it "would fly off of the shelf". The judges found it to be a "nice product" with a "good kick".
F33920 MSC Hot Smoked Sweet Cure Mackerel Fillets Brakes
FOOD INTOLERANCE PRODUCTS
ORGANIC TOMATO & BASIL SOUP
[TIDEFORD ORGANIC FOODS](http://www.tidefordorganics.com)
Our panel praised the texture, consistency and balance of this organic, gluten-free, low-salt vegetarian soup. "The taste comes through well" concluded one judge, while another found this traditional blend of flavours to be "well seasoned".
FOOD ON THE GO
[KERRY FOODSERVICE](http://www.kerry-foodservice.co.uk) Our judges enjoyed this quick-to-serve, front-of-house brand for the on-the-go breakfast market, and thought it was a "great idea" with "great packaging" and a "nice consistency". Although it is available in two flavours, one of the judges reckoned "it just needs a sachet of honey".
Chef's Larder Meatball and Salsa Filler (M085561) Booker
Extra Large, Fully Baked Jacket Potatoes Farmhouse Potato Bakers
MARRAKESH MINT TEA POUCH
[MIGHTY LEAF TEA COMPANY](http://www.mightyleafteas.co.uk)
This blend of Chinese Gunpowder green tea and Moroccan peppermint packed into a biodegradable, translucent silken tea pouch impressed our panel with its freshness, its "good appearance" and its "pure" and "outstanding aroma". "Impressive - it is close to fresh mint" enthused one of our judges.
Brakes Premiere Gold 1 Cup Teabags - A89237 Brakes
Grand Cru - "Hand-crafted, credible coffee" United Coffee
DOUBLE CREAM & MERINGUE
"Gorgeous", "outstanding" and "good quality" were the reactions this rich combination of Swiss double cream from Gruyère with caramel coulis and crunchy meringue pieces elicited from our panel.
Almond & Vanilla Movenpick
Chilly Billy Orange Ice Lolly Bensons Totally Fruity
STUFFED BUTTERNUT SQUASH
Brakes' "innovative" and "healthy/vegetarian option" scored highly for its "home-made appearance", "good flavour" and "good depth of taste". It comprises a butternut squash half filled with cannellini beans, mozzarella cheese, peppers and tomatoes and topped with pumpkin and sunflower seed crumb.
Patisse Orange & Poppyseed Rosette Bakehouse
Schwartz for Chef Recipe Mix - Mediterranean Herb Variety McCormick (UK)
0808 100 0363
Hellmann's Sesame Soy Vinaigrette Unilever Foodsolutions
0800 783 3728
KIDS MAIN MEALS
KIDS' MACARONI CHEESE
This traditional favourite made from Italian pasta and extra mature English cheddar with low salt levels and no additives or colour was a hit with our kids' panel. Cheese appeal seems to have been the deciding factor, as these comments from our young judges demonstrate - "It is so cheesy and the pasta is Good. Fantastic"; "The sauce is nice, it is very gooey"; and "Like the cheesy sauce - lovely!"
ME, MYSELF AND MY… CHEESE AND CRACKERS
These grab-and-go snack packs that pair the popular Laughing Cow Light spreadable cheese with two Jacobs crackers won approval from both cracker fans ("I like the crackers" and "It is crunchy") and dairy lovers ("The cheese is nice because it has a nice cheese flavour"). One of our child judges found a different angle - "I would like it as part of school dinners. Like the little knife", while one little dissident thought the cheese was "nice" but the "crackers taste like biscuits".
THE SMOOTHIE STRAWBERRY & BANANA A89158
The ability to taste the fruit and flavours in this 100% pure fruit ambient blend smoothie excited our panel of children - but which flavour depends on who you talk to. "Strong taste of banana, nice flavours, nice cold," was the verdict of one of our mini critics, while another proffered the view that you "can taste the strawberries. Thick, but not too thick."
MAIN COURSES AND CENTRE OF PLATE
This spicy and aromatic dish from South India of lamb pieces in a blend of tomato and spices finished with curry leaves and chopped chilli ticked all the boxes with our judges, who found it "tasty", "spicy", and of "good quality" with a "good amount of flavour" that "has a kick". They were also impressed by its "authentic" appearance, "great texture" and "commendable convenience".
King Prawn Kelantan Creative Foods
MEAT, GAME, POULTRY & FISH
BRITISH STUFFED BELLY OF PORK C15754
"Pleasantly surprised" was the most lukewarm reaction to Brakes' British Red Tractor Farm Assured rolled and tied pork belly with a pork, sage and onion stuffing. Other judges found it a "pretty good" or even "lovely" product that was "tender" and "delivers what it says".
Ben Burger Premium Fresh Steak Burger Ben Burgers
Birchstead British 21 Day Aged Carvery Forerib of Beef - C70879 Brakes
STARTERS, SIDE ORDERS AND BUFFET PRODUCTS
DELHIBITES 50x20G COCKTAIL INDIAN VEGETABLE SAMOSAS
"I'd be happy with it" was one judge'response to these Indian-made samosas, while others on our panel endorsed it as a "nice product" with a "good taste". The samosas are made from 73% locally-sourced fresh vegetables combined with fresh coriander, crushed green chili and garam masala powder which are hand-wrapped in crispy, traditional pastry triangles.
Lamb Weston Sweet Potato Fries Lamb Weston
DelhiBITES 50 x 30g Cocktail Indian Onion Bhajis Brand Innovations
DelhiBITES Tandoori Indian Garlic & Coriander Naan Brand Innovations
DELHIBITES 25X 50G INDIAN ONION BHAJI
The bhajis, handmade in India to a traditional recipe, were described as "a good product at a good price" by our judges, with one claiming "I cannot fault it" and another declaring he would "recommend it to clients". Made from fresh red onions, locally-sourced green chilli, Bengal gram flour and Garam Masala spice powder, the bhajis were seen as "very authentic" with a "home-made appearance".
Pesto and Mozzarella Burger The Authentic Food Company
DelhiBITES 100 x 20g Cocktail Selection Pack Brand Innovations
Goats Cheese Wellington Slice Brakes
Nick Bates, R&D chef, Angelo Po
Anthony Boyd, head chef, the Glasshouse
Charles Boyd, director, the Northumberland
Gregg Brown, director of culinary development, Marriott Hotels
Annie Bullock, customer relations, Parkers Menu
Adam Byatt, head chef director, Trinity restaurant
Darren Byford, buying manager, Yorkshire Purchasing Organisation
Simon Clarke, account director, Lyons Seafoods
Roger Denton, head of catering services, London Borough of Enfield
Mark Errington, senior sous chef, House of Commons
Peter Gordon, chef/co-owner, the Providores restaurant
Jane Hildred, food service consultant, Foodskillsdirect
Mark Hill, executive chef, House of Commons
Ann Hood, proprietor, the Smart School of Cookery
Mike Jeffery, menu development manager, Greene King
Gary Jones, executive head chef, Le Manoir Quat'Saisons
Roger Kellow, government account manager, Hobart UK
Robert Kirby, chef director, Lexington
Darius Knetsch, chef, the All England Lawn Tennis Club
Carl Lindsay, operations director, Hollywood Media Services
Tammy Mariaux, proprietor, Tummies
Donald Marshall, food development manager, Elior
Terry McDowell, menu implementation manager, TGI Fridays
Nick Moore, My Services
David Mulcahy, craft and food development director, Sodexo UK & Ireland
James Nicholson, F&B director, Legoland Windsor
Jane Parker, managing director, Parkers Menu
Duncan Parsonage, development chef, Fresh Direct
Dino Portelli, product category manager, Cannons House
Jason Radbourn, menu development manager, Punch Pub Company
Jonathan Sharp, Travelodge
Alan Sheppard, director, the Foodworks Partnership
Simon Smith, director of contracts management EMEA, Intercontinental Hotels Group
Nick Vadis, executive chef, Compass Group
Fiona Winter, product development manager, Nando's
Simon Young, executive head chef, Jumierah Carlton Tower
Ann Marshall, network partner, the Foodworks Partnership
Lawrence Kay, director, the Foodworks Partnership