Chefs' Choice Awards 2014: Winners revealed

By Oliver Griffin

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Chef

Restaurant magazine's Chefs' Choice Awards highlight the best suppliers, products, equipment and brands from across the UK
Restaurant magazine's Chefs' Choice Awards highlight the best suppliers, products, equipment and brands from across the UK
Restaurant magazine’s annual Chefs’ Choice Awards reveal the finest products, suppliers, brands and equipment gracing kitchens across the land. The winners have been voted for by professional chefs from every sector of the industry.

For all chefs, having a stress-free supply chain is crucial. While it’s probably the case that sourcing equipment, stock and washing supplies is not high on the list of reasons that chefs enter the profession, it remains a vital back-of-house function that enables a brigade to work effectively.

“I want a supplier to understand the importance of getting the best ingredients on the plate,” says Ray Brown, director of food at Geronimo Inns. “It’s important that you never burn bridges and that you try to build a long-term relationship with your suppliers.”

A few years ago, Brown had prepared John Dory for his Christmas Day service only to find his sous chef had used it all for fish and chips. Luckily, the chef was able to call on his seafood supplier to help him out at short notice, thereby saving the day (and everyone’s Christmas meal into the bargain).

Poor suppliers go hand in hand with badly performing restaurants. “Things such as overcharging are often quickly passed on to the customers,” says Brown. With value an ever-present factor in diners’ thinking, selecting an unnecessarily expensive supplier can lead to a restaurant pricing itself out of the competition, while unreliable equipment can cause kitchens a massive headache mid-service.

The annual Chefs’ Choice Awards are here to highlight those suppliers, brands, wholesalers and manufacturers who are both consistent and excellent. There are 21 separate categories, voted for by hundreds of chefs from businesses including Brasserie Blanc, Gingerman Group, The Fat Duck, Pizarro, Stovell’s, Mission Burrito, Lima, Loves, Bath Priory, Loungers and Cubitt House, among others. So take a moment to whisk through and have a look at the leading lights among culinary suppliers. 

Products

Heinz comes out on top once again in the condiment category, with Colman’s (Unilever) and HP highly commended. Elsewhere, Unilever wins in the category of Best Stock with its Knorr brand; others that are highly rated by chefs include stocks from Essential Cuisine and True Foods. The frozen category sees Birds Eye take first place, followed by Boiron and Jus-Rol, respectively. 

In the Chocolate category, Valrhona and Amedei come highly commended while Barry Callebaut wins overall, maintaining its top position from last year’s awards. Similarly, Villeroy & Boch wins the Best Tableware Supplier category for another year; Churchill and Steelite are highly commended in the same group. 

In the Best Drinks Supplier category, Bibendum triumphs and Matthew Clark and Enotria do well to follow in second place. Coca-Cola wins the soft drinks group, but two new entries – Fentimans and Fever-Tree – are both highly commended. Italy dominates in the coffee category with illy taking first place. As a runner-up Lavazza continues the Italian trend, but is joined by Nespresso, from Nestlé. Best Bottled Water goes to Hildon, with San Pellegrino and Strathmore Spring both highly commended. 

Equipment

Following on from last year, Global remains top dog in the knives category, making it a winner for five consecutive years. MAC has fought off the competition to stay in second place, but is also joined by Victorinox. In equipment distribution, Nisbets takes the prize, with CCS and Bunzl Lockhart following hard on its heels. The Best Combi Oven title is retained by Rational, with Blue Seal and Convotherm in second place. 

Bourgeat is named as the Best Pan brand, though Vogue and Mauviel are not far off the top spot, being highly commended. First place in the cooking range category is snapped up by Falcon, with Blue Seal and Hobart Bonnet the next most popular choices. In terms of gadgets, Thermomix is regarded as the best for a second year, while  Pacojet and Vitamix are runners-up.

Falcon narrowly misses out on another first place in the Best Equipment Brand category, being pipped to the post by Hobart. However, Falcon is a runner-up alongside Robot Coupe. 

Suppliers

Aubrey Allen, meanwhile, reclaims the top spot as Best Meat Supplier after being highly commended last year. Following in the same category are Fairfax Meadow and Select Butchery, which are both worthy runners-up. Best Fruit & Veg Supplier, this year’s new category, is won by Fresh Direct. Highly commended in the same category are Reynolds and Natoora.

M&J Seafood takes the crown in the category of Best Fish Supplier, while last year’s winner, Direct Seafoods, takes second place along with Flying Fish Seafoods

In the best foodservice supplier category Turners Fine Foods is named overall winner, with both 3663 and Woods Foodservice picking up highly commended gongs. Micros collects the top award as best EPoS supplier; joint second are pointOne and TISSL.

Chefs’ Choice Awards 2014: The winners

  • Best Meat Supplier

Winner - Aubrey Allen

Highly commended - Fairfax Meadow;  Select Butchery  

  • Best Drinks Supplier

Winner - Bibendum

Highly commended - Matthew Clark; Enotria

  • Best Equipment Distributor

Winner - Nisbets

Highly commended - CCS; Bunzl Lockhart

  • Best Foodservice Company

Winner - Turners Fine Foods

Highly commended - 3663; Woods Foodservice

  • Best EPoS Supplier

Winner - Micros

Highly commended - TISSL; pointOne

  • Best Combi Oven

Winner - Rational

Highly commended - Blue Seal; Convotherm

  • Best Knife Supplier

Winner - Global Knives

Highly commended - MAC; Victorinox

  • Best Fish Supplier

Winner - M&J Seafood

Highly commended - Flying Fish Seafoods; Direct Seafoods

  • Best Cooking Range 

Winner - Falcon

Highly commended - Blue Seal; Hobart Bonnet

  • Best Pan

Winner - Bourgeat

Highly commended - Vogue; Mauviel

  • Best Tableware Supplier

Winner - Villeroy & Boch

Highly commended - Churchill; Steelite

  • Best Gadget 

Winner - Thermomix

Highly commended - Pacojet; Vitamix 

  • Best Equipment Brand

Winner - Hobart

Highly commended - Falcon; Robot Coupe

  • Best Stock 

Winner - Knorr 

Highly commended - Essential Cuisine; True Foods

  • Best Bottled Water

Winner - Hildon

Highly commended - San Pellegrino; Strathmore Spring

  • Best Chocolate

Winner - Barry Callebaut

Highly commended - Valrhona; Amedei

  • Best Condiment Brand

Winner - Heinz

Highly commended - Colman’s; HP

  • Best Frozen Food

Winner - Birds Eye

Highly commended - Boiron; Jus-Rol

  • Best Fruit & Veg Supplier

Winner - Fresh Direct

Highly commended - Reynolds; Natoora

  • Best Soft Drink

Winner - Coca-Cola

Highly commended - Fever-Tree; Fentimans

  • Best Coffee

Winner - illy

Highly commended - Lavazza; Nespresso

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