Observer Food Monthly Winner

Cheshire’s Burt’s Blue Cheese named Best Producer at The Observer Food Monthly Awards 2013

The winners of the tenth annual Observer Food Monthly Awards were announced at a show-stopping ceremony in London this evening, where even the trophies themselves were edible.

Co-hosted by Jay Rayner and The Great British Bake Off presenter Sue Perkins, the coveted ‘Best Producer’ award was presented to Burt’s Blue Cheese of Altrincham, Cheshire. Judged by a panel of some of Britain’s finest food names, Burt’s Blue Cheese started as an idea at the kitchen table at her house in Altrincham and has fast developed into a well-respected independent cheese company. Having studied for a degree in food and nutrition and working in a career in product development, Claire enrolled in a soft-cheese making class, developing her own cheese on the kitchen table. Burt’s Blue Cheese now has over 20 stockists across the north-west including Manchester’s branch of Harvey Nichols.

Marking a first in the history of the awards, edible trophies created by Heston and the team at the Fat Duck, were given to all 16 winners on the night.

To honour each of the ten nominees for the Chef of the Decade prize, chef Angela Hartnett also produced a striking bespoke menu for the evening, creating ten canapés to represent each chef’s signature dish including Heston’s world-famous snail porridge and Jamie Oliver’s fish pie.

Since their creation in 2003, The Observer Food Monthly Awards have championed the very best in British food and produce, from independent local producers to the UK’s most admired chefs. Two new categories were introduced this year to reward the best amateur food photographer and best local farmer.

Allan Jenkins, editor of Observer Food Monthly magazine and chair of the judging panel, said: “The amazing transformation in British food in this first decade of the awards shines through in this year’s winners. Whether it’s the small but brilliant L’Enclume in the Lake District winning best restaurant, or a supremely talented female teenage cook in Cornwall beating the big-city, big-money, big-boy chefs, the days of the local food hero are definitely and defiantly here. Observer Food Monthly readers voted in their tens of thousands (the numbers have more than doubled in the past three years) to put their favourite people and places on the map.

“We are proud this passion, commitment and knowledge is reflected in this year’s line-up of outstanding winners. My favourites this year come from opposite ends of the country and food spectrum: L’Enclume, where Simon Rogan’s connection with his Cumbrian surroundings and its people are reflected on every amazing plate and The Skint Foodie blog which proves that illness and living on benefits in London doesn’t mean you can’t also produce glorious food.”