(Quinces by Mike & Ollie waiting to be delicious-ed)
Having previously been out of the country, this was the first Observer Food Monthly Awards I’ve been able to attend, and goodness am I now a convert to parties hosted by food people, as opposed to fashion people.
For the past ten years or so, I could take it as read that any party that I was invited to in my professional capacity would involve people who were either peculiarly attractive or peculiarly striking. Or just plain peculiar. They would be dressed in a way that alluded to their fashion chops, and conversation would adhere to the codes. (Jackie sums it up beautifully here in a piece about fashion show attendance.) And although there may have been food artfully arranged in tableaux, it very rarely seemed to be offered around — and, if it did appear on trays — or artful receptacles — would never ever be enough.
So imagine the bliss of a party attended by people who looked relatively normal, who were thoroughly enjoying themselves with no subtext, and who were, quite frankly, luxuriously troughing on down for the duration. And, equally blissfully, the Awards presentation itself, whilst pertinent and occasionally moving, was as quick as a greased pig down a chute. No speeches, no self-glorification. Just presentation, photo op, and on to the next one. (We particularly liked how many of the awards winners weren’t from London: Best Sunday Lunch was The Parlour in Chorlton, Manchester, and Best Restaurant was The Seahorse in Dartmouth.)
I took Miss P as my date, seeing as she is a wine professional by trade, and we had a lovely evening, especially once we tackled sipping Nyetimber, and investigating the food stalls (organised by KERB) on the perimeter.
Here are my photos — there weren’t many, and I do apologise for the less than stellar focusing. It’s quite hard to balance a smartphone, flute AND a Yum Bun simultaneously.
Conducive people. Miss P (of Goedhuis & Co), Jeremy Lee (of Quo Vadis) & Tim Hayward (of Fitzbillies)
Winner of Food Blog of the Year: Superstar blogger (& papa), Martha Payne of Never Seconds. (And Veg, having read the blog today, you won because your blog is excellent, not just because you raised all that money for Mary’s Meals.)
oh goodness this was GOOD. French & Grace’s flatbread with halloumi, pomegranate, butter bean & rosemary hummus, and harissa yogurt.
Here’s me & Miss P imbibing.
and oh dear god, the Yum Buns. I never, ever thought Portobello mushrooms, toasted walnuts, and a squirt of Sriracha could taste so delicious. Alchemy.
Then the Sorbitium stand. Ultimate first world problem: choosing which flavour. Ambrosial quince sherbet for me (l), and Salted Caramel in a cone (r ) for Miss P.