A sunny Sunday in Horsham and a chance to taste and judge the Street Food Awards finalists. Yes please!
If there’s anything I like doing more than eating and drinking, it’s probably the kind of thing I wouldn’t mention in public. Eating good food makes life worth living, and so when I was asked to be a judge at the Street Food Awards finals in Horsham this weekend, I jumped at the chance.
Eating good food makes life worth living
The Street Food award is part of the larger Sussex Food & Drink Awards which celebrates extraordinary talent throughout the county (and beyond). Food producers, farmers, chefs, venues and manufacturers all join together to celebrate the richness that Sussex has to offer, and the street food aspect is by no means a small part of this.
THANK GOD it wasn’t pouring with rain on the day. The day before had offered up monsoon-quality rain and wind, so to see the sun shining was a relief. Me, and Alice Pug, and my friend Kirsten piled into my car and headed to Horsham where the Carfax area was packed with food vendors and hundreds of people eating. The queues for some of the stands were epic.
Apparently the scores for this award are very close every year, and this year was no different. My fellow ‘official’ judges were Michelin starred executive chef Jean Delport from Restaurant Interlude, Cllr Paul Clarke from Horsham District Council and Steve Holloway from JPI Media, but there was also a chance for the public to vote for their favourite stall by sticking their bean in a jar of choice.
Obviously I can’t tell you the winner, or someone would take me for a ‘ride’ and you’d never hear from me again. But I AM allowed to reveal the three grand finalists, which are (in no particular order) reigning Sussex Street Food champions Mann & Moore, with their variety of excellent barbecued and smoked meats; new contestants Pizza Leonati with their really creative, freshly made pizzas from their four separate ovens; and grand finalists from last year again The BBQ Project, blowing us away with their incredibly tasty slow barbecued dishes.
Looking at the scores, there was literally a fag paper between most of the numbers
Looking at the scores, there was literally a fag paper between most of the numbers, and indeed all of the other finalists too, so nobody there should feel like they missed the mark. The standard and quality of the food at the street market throughout was gratifying, with some amazing flavours and ingredients, the majority of which were locally sourced. Sussex foodies are really stepping up, every year.
I also really liked the way all the stalls had mini versions to buy, priced at £4 – so if you wanted to try a whole bunch of stuff but couldn’t afford it/were too full – you had a chance to buy a number of different things and not break the bank. Or burst out of your jeans.
The three Street Food of the Year 2020 Grand Finalists will join 400 guests at a BAFTA-style ceremony on 29 April 2020 at the Amex Stadium in Brighton, where the winners of all the awards categories will be revealed and guests will enjoy a seven-course Sussex produce banquet, hosted by awards patron Sally Gunnell OBE and Danny Pike from BBC Sussex.
Other finalists who participated in this exciting event included gorgeous Asian fusion dishes from Chu Chu Burmese Kitchen in Hove; mouthwatering homemade burgers, Indian and Thai dishes as well as Italian delights from Duffs Diner in Newick; delectable home-made dishes with award winning sauces from Ginger Rookes in Horsham; beautiful South American fusion dishes from Penelope’s Pitstop in St Leonards on Sea; plant powered street food including fully loaded chilli burritos, wraps and an array of salads from Plant Play in Worthing and finally The Buffalo Burger Company from East Grinstead with some of the best burgers on the Sussex street food scene.
For more information visit www.sussexfoodawards.biz