Changing direction and becoming a food writer means you have to get into the scene. By getting out there and meeting people, finding out about what they are doing, and how they are doing things is half the battle and last night I attended the Northamptonshire Food and Drinks Awards, with my parents and cousins from italy , Luciana and Alfonso. It was a delicious evening in every sense. The food, of course was as to be expected from Adam Gray, fabulous, local and utterly delicious. As I arrived I was handed a glass of my parents bubby, Champs D’amour. Sipping this I was introduced to a man called Jason. He was handsome, engaging and interested in the people around him and I hadn’t got the foggiest clue who he was .. but he asked me how my book was coming along.. He nodded knowingly as I said that truthfully right now it’s hard work. He smiled said that the middle bit of a book is always the hardest part. The start and the end is fun. He knew this as he’s written three recipe books himself. Now as I am writing this I am feeling a little bit like I’ve had my head in the sand - I’ve clearly lost touch with the world. As I asked the titles of his books he must have been amused to literally watch the penny drop. I mean duh .. ! This charming man was none other that Jason Atherton. Just three months ago he launched Gourmet Food for under a Fiver. He was also recently in the news as he is launching a new restaurant in Mayfair as he ended his partnership with Gordon Ramsey to do his own thing. But when have I had time to read the paper or watch TV ?
But the truth is that I had already fallen a little but in love with him before I knew any of this.
The Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards facilitate business in the county. By organizing an event like this it acts as a base, a catalyst from which people meet each other. Facilitating trade, friendship and a sense of community it certainly does do that Whist Mum and Dad won runner up for their bubby in the drink awards I watched people all around me. There were restaurant owners arranging to use local tarts on their menus, beer makers organizing visits to pubs, and cupcake makers being clocked for promotional gift opportunities’. All round me links were being forged. This enterprise will ripple out across the food and local economy for many months and even years to come. For me this gave the opportunity to speak to one of my absolute favorite food writers and presenters again, Sophie Grigson. The awards had already afforded me the opportunity to meet Sophie in August, but this time I explained that I need some words at the front of the book to get the book buyers to take me, an unknown author, seriously. Sophie kindly agreed to have a look at my idea and give some words I can use on the cover of the book. I cannot thank her enough. To have one of our counties leading food writers make a comment on my work will make such a difference. I was so close to tears as she said she would and gave her a great big impromptu hug!
So I’d like to thank Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards for facilitating meeting both Jason and Sophie. For their effect on the local food, drink and tourism for Northamptonshire will be felt across the lives of almost every person involved in this industry across the county including the participants, the runners up and the winners and of course … me. Thank you