Island Life Magazine Ltd December 2008/January 2009 - Page 40

life FOOD & DRINK AWARDS 2008 - MAIN SPONSOR RED FUNNEL Left to right: William Smith & Geoffrey Hughes Left to right: Paul Murphy and Andrew Turner MP A night for the food and drink stars They came in their droves. More than 300 of the glitterati of the Island’s food and drink industry rolled up at Havenstreet to celebrate another successful year of excellence, at the Island Life’s Food and Drink Awards. This is only the second year of the awards, but the event is already a fixture in the calendar for chefs, food producers and growers, and for those in the wine and beer trade. It is a rare chance for those in such a hard-working industry to meet, relax and enjoy a meal from their excellent produce. It was a chilly night, but the lady and gentleman from the Havenstreet Railway were undaunted as they greeted guests – even clipping their ticket (old habits die hard!) – and pointed the way to the marquee. Ladies in skimpy cocktail dresses with their escorts in black tie were all the more delighted to arrive in the sumptuous warmth of the marquee, provided by Nick Ward of Grays Marquees, to be greeted with a delicious vodka aperitif from Wight Vodka. Music, on the solo violin was playing and the evening had begun. The menu was every bit as imaginative as expected, and it was served with all the discretion associated by All About Catering. Isle of Wight smoked salmon with crispy shoots – sponsored by Philip’s Fine Foods and Carisbrooke Cuisine – with wholemeal bread rolls from Scarrot’s 40 Lane Bakery was followed by Shorwell top rump braised steak in Ventnor Oyster Stout. This was sponsored by Hamilton Fine Fo ods, and Claudia and Andrew Hodgson of New Barn Farm, as well as Ventnor Brewery. It was accompanied by celeriac and potato puree with roasted root vegetables by Carisbrooke Cuisine. The third course was an Isle of Wight rarebit, with watercress, which melted in the mouth – sponsored by All About Catering and Carisbrooke Cuisine. The meal was beautifully rounded off in wickedly indulgent style, with Mr Minghella’s Praline, White and Dark chocolate gateau served with hot spiced cherries. Thanks of course go to the Minghella family for that. As the last mouthful of ice cream dessert disappeared the main event of the evening began: the unveiling of the awards. Compare Peter Tautz introduced Editor of Island Life magazine Martin Potter, and “the boss” as he quipped, Martin’s wife Tanya. In order to thank the Isle of Wight Steam Railway for their kind provision of their premises Martin invited guests to make a small donation in return for the privilege of opening those precious envelopes. This raised over £200. As each winner was announced to delighted cheers they were congratulated by Tanya Potter who presented them with their engraved trophy, specially commissioned by Paul Critchley of Diamond Isle Sculptured Glass. The atmosphere reached a head with the announcement of the most prestigious of the awards – those given by the AA – and it was hardly surprising that when people hit the dance floor the dancing, to music from the Tony Martin Music Show, was exuberant. After all, whether or not they were final winners, they all had something to celebrate – an excellent industry giving us food and drink of which we are rightly proud. Island Life would like to thank the main sponsor Red Funnel Ferries & the many Island businesses who generously sponsored the awards. Peter Tautz The Wight Toastmaster The Island's new funky radio station www.wightfm.com