The Lowdown: The Food and Drink Awards

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

The Lowdown: The British Food & Drink Awards on ITV with host Stephen Fry

Related tags: Awards, Television

The first ‘annual’ Food and Drink Awards are to be broadcast on ITV this weekend, hosted by Stephen Fry.

Bit of a step down from hosting the Baftas…
Don't be nasty. The awards’ website proclaims Fry to be a ‘gastronome’, and he has previously appeared on an episode of Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feasts​ so who are we to argue with that?

What are these awards all about then?
It’s described as a ‘long-awaited celebration of the UK’s world-beating culinary talent will honour those who have contributed most to Britain’s remarkable renaissance in food, drink and catering’. Although, given that there are already countless award ceremonies that recognise these areas – including the Quality Food Awards, the Observer Food Monthly​ (OFM) Awards, and, of course, our own Estrella Damm National Restaurant Awards​ – it’s hard to work out quite who was awaiting this for such a long time. There’s 10, seemingly quite random, categories up for contention: Best Organic Producer, a Heritage Award, Best Family-run Restaurant, Most Unusual Location in Britain (for a restaurant, presumably), Outstanding Achievement (in what we don’t know), Best British Cookery School, Gastropub of the Year, Best Street Food, The Innovation Award, and, last but not least, Best Fish and Chip Shop.

Who will be deciding on the winners?
The website offers an option where you can register to vote for the winners. However, there’s also a panel of presenters who presumably have a say, which features a selection of gastronomic luminaries including Rick Stein, Andi Oliver and Rosemary Shrager. It will also feature actresses Jeni Barnett and Linda Robson, and the guy who pretends to be the receptionist in Celebs Go Dating on E4, Tom Read Wilson.

That's quite some panel...
It is, err, somewhat diverse. Barnett, to be fair, was host of UKTV Food's flagship food show Great Food Live, as well as its various spinoffs, between 2002 and 2007. Robson once competed in Celebrity MasterChef, either being dismissed after just one week or making it to the semi finals depending on what new story you read (we can't remember). And Wilson… well he doesn’t actually appear to have any relevant food judging experience, but he did appear in an episode of Supermarket Sweep, which might have helped.

What do the winners get?
Your guess is as good as ours. Presumably there’ll be some sort of trophy, maybe akin to the one pictured above. The awards actually took place last month (27 January) at Merchant Taylors' Hall in London but everyone has been keeping tight-lipped about the results.

So when does the show air?
This Sunday at 10:15pm; not exactly prime time, but perfect if Match of the Day 2​ isn't really your thing.

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