Since 2011, the annual Young British Foodie Awards have championed new talent in British food and drink. From chefs and bakers to street food dons, bartenders, and butchers; the YBFs shine a light on the next generation of food innovators.
This year, MUNCHIES partnered with the YBFs to herald a new wave of food stars (while eating brisket tacos and sipping whiskey cocktails, obvs) with an awards ceremony at a grandiose Georgian townhouse in London's Knightsbridge.
Here's who won big on the night.
Chef: Richard Falk
The finals for this year's cheffing category were held at the Michelin-starred Lyle's in Shoreditch, and it was a tense day for judges Nuno Mendes, James Knappett, Lyle's' own James Lowe, and former Independent on Sunday editor Lisa Markwell.
Six chefs made it to the finals but it was Richard Falk of The Dairy in Clapham, South London who bedazzled with dishes like heritage wheat sourdough with pickles and coral pancake, lobster, and chicken skin.
Alcohol: Rob Simpson
Bartender Rob Simpson can usually be found mixing intricate cocktails at The Clove Club, the East London restaurant currently rated the 26th best in the world. His use of Szechuan honey, sous vide techniques, and seasonal ingredients impressed the judges enough for him to take this year's Alcohol price. Judge Tony Conigliaro said: "I like the idea that it's a maker that won. He had a wide scope."
Street Food: Freddie Janssen
MUNCHIES has long known Freddie Janssen—purveyor of pickles and some of the best grilled cheese sandwiches in the capital—as a street food queen, so were pleased to see her officially crowned at this year's YBFs.
Street Food judge Petra Barran of Camden's KERB market said: "Freddie won the Street Food category because she is the epitome of innovation." Damn right.
Baking: Stefan Spicknell and Deborah Norton
Stefan Spicknell and Deborah Norton of Glasgow's Cottonrake bakery won this year's baking category. The couple keep the city's West End in heavenly pastries and breads, and impressed the judges with their black pudding sausage rolls, treacle tarts, and lightly crisped fresh croissants. It's easy to see why Glaswegians queue around the block for this stuff.
Front-of-House: Claire Wright
It's about time front-of-house shared some of the YBF limelight. Explaining the introduction of the new category for this year's awards, judge and hospitality extraordinaire Natalia Ribbe said: "Restaurants are a team. Sure, the chef and food may be the star, but there is something to be said for the supporting actors."
It was Claire Wright of London's Paradise Garage who took home the debut award. With experience at prominent London restaurants including Skylon and The Manor, Wright shows that there is true craftsmanship in making diners feel special. Ribbe added: "We felt Claire showcased the qualities of a strong manager with serious focus on both the guests and her team."
Meat: James Whetlor
Can you get meat sweats from goat? If so, Devon-based Whetlor is responsible for causing mass national meat sweats. Cabrito, the kid meat company he founded in 2012, supplies everywhere from Angela Hartnett's Lime Wood restaurant to The Ledbury and Ocado in ethically sourced goat. All of the meat sold through Cabrito comes from billy kids that would have been euthanised at birth as a waste product of the dairy industry.
Food Sharing: Izy Hossack
From starting her blog, Top with Cinnamon, as a teenager, Hossack has published a cookbook, developed a unique food photography style, and amassed more than 21,000 Instagram followers. She said: "I've been able to do something I really love which is share food with people all over the world in a beautiful, modern way."
Vegetables: Kylee Newton
Hackney-based Kylee Newton's mantra is: preserves aren't just for grannies. An ex-art college student, this modern preserver does twists on traditional flavour combos, including fennel and orange pickles and tamarillo jam. Judge Simon Rogan said: "We love her mission to bring preserves into the 21st century and she seems unstoppable in her pursuit of new pickles and unusual flavour combinations."
Fresh Voices in Food Writing: George Reynolds
George Reynolds and his Ego Scriptor blog picked up this year's food writing award. Judged by a formidable food writing quartet of Fay Maschler, Tracey MacLeod, Marina O'Loughlin, and Yotam Ottolenghi, he impressed with a piece on food in Singapore and Vietnam.
Honorary: David Jowett
A trained chef, Jowett moved to "the lactic side" and began making cheese after college. Despite only establishing his Rollright Cheese company at King Stone Dairy in the Cotswolds last year, he scooped this year's YBF Honorary accolade for his Reblochon-style cheese.
Keep Walking Award: Maxine Thompson
Being a female chef has never been easy—the kitchen is a notorious boys' club. But with a growing number of female chefs, a market has appeared for women's kitchen clothing that is both functional and stylish. Thompson has seized this with her Polka Pants line of workwear and takes the Keep Walking Award for her efforts.