Tag Archives: guild of food writers

Guild of Food Writers Awards 2009


Last night I was at the Guild of Food Writers Awards 2009 party at the Old Hall, London.

My blog was shortlisted for the New Media award, and I took my mum (see pic, above) along to give me support.

OK, my blog did not win. Tim Haward of the Guardian/ Observer Word of Mouth blog pipped both me and the lovely Helen Yuet Ling Pang of the World Foodie Guide to the post.

However, the judges said nice things about this blog such as: “Quirky”, “informative” and “Winkler’s writing rules should be required reading for aspiring writers online or in print.”

One of the judges, Rupert Parker, gave me some good advice, saying I should update more often. Like daily. Will give it a go. Viz.

Emma Sturgess and Diane Hendry were also winners and that meant a lot to me because I had voted for them when I was on two previous judging panels.

Being a participant – rather than an observer – took the event to another level. I was high.

And snapped away.


Here is the lovely Jane Baxter and Guy Watson happy with their award (and not knowing they are about to receive another). I love their Riverford Farm Cook Book – and I have mentioned it a few times here at this blog.

Jane said there was no danger of this going to her head. “As I was coming up the steps of the Old Hall, I got a call from my six-year-old: ‘Mum, where is my bicycle pump?”


Here is Mark Hix who is not only a winner but thouroughly helpful. When I told him my niece was a fan, he said: “Can she cook?” and said she could contact him (yippee).


Here is Jay Rayner who was warm and funny. And below is Heston Blumenthal.


As my mum said: “You were up there with the big boys.”

In fact Heston was dead impressed by my mum. She was talking about her parents (circa 1930s) who used to analyse every dish at every meal – an enduring family trait. Heston admired my mum’s energy and told her:

“I want what you’ve got.”

O it was fun. And being shortlisted is a goddamn-fine accolade. Nichola Fletcher told me her publishers put it on her book cover.

So in the words of the song: “They can’t take that away from me.”

Oh no – they can’t take that away from meeeeeeee.

Winning summer snack

Summer snack

Lunch today: houmous, kidney beans and fresh alfafa bean sprouts, with olive oil + balsamic dressing.

In March I entered my food blog in the Guild of Food Writers‘ awards for New Media.

I prayed to be shortlisted.

I did not pray to win. I feared I’d get punished for being greedy.

(Talk about negative thought patterns!).

Anyway, last week, in the midst of goodbyes to salaried work – guess what? I hear some incredibly timely news: my blog has been shortlisted. Joy!

The awards take place on June 25 this year. Here is my report from last year’s awards.

I remember gazing at last year’s winners and wishing to be one.

O naked ambition!

There are only three of us shortlisted.

Helen Yuet Ling Pang of World Foodie Guide

Tim Hayward of the Guardian and Observer Food Monthly‘s Word of Mouth and myself.

I feel a bit self-conscious – like maybe I should make more effort?  But you know me

– I just want healthy fast food without fuss.

Like today’s lunch.

How much did it cost?  £1.70 for 200g of homemade organic houmous from Better Food Company, about 60p for the tin of non-organic beans and approx £1.40 for a packet of organic alfafa sprouts from Scoopaway – and plenty for several servings.

I must do bean sprouts justice in a future blog because they really are a wonderfood. And cheap and easy to sprout yourself.

I did do posh last Wednesday: a £30 six course taster menu at Casamia for a special birthday treat. I was too busy eating to pronounce but I can say the salmon poached in olive oil with Jerusalem artichoke puree (see pic below) got rated “better than the Fat Duck” by those (not me) who had dined there.

I have just reviewed my few past posts and noticed quite a few BEAN recipes. What can I say? Nothing beats them for health and budget. In fact I feel another one coming on…

Casamia salmon poached in olive oil with Jerusalem artichoke puree

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Guild of Food Writers awards 2008

Guild of Food Writers awardsJill Dupliex accepting her awardKatie Stewart and Elisabeth WinklerKatie Stewart and HughCookbook

The Guild of Food Writers’s annual awards party is a glittering must-go, this year held at Tamesa in the Oxo tower on the South Bank of the Thames. I was a judge of one of the awards but, shhhh, that’s all I can say about it.

Sustainability was a strong theme, from sponsors, the Alaska Seafood marketing institute and Bonterra organic wines, to the winners.

Listen, I rate the Observer’s ethical eco-hero, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall for his animal welfare work. But he endeared himself further by making sure (see pic 1) that his fellow author, Nick Fisher, shared the award for The River Cottage fish book. (If you click on that link, read the Amazon review by Henrietta Green of Food Lovers Britain.)

I loved Jill Dupleix‘s wise words on accepting (pic 2) the Miriam Polunin prize for Work on healthy eating. She said: “I look forward to the time when there isn’t a special category for healthy eating and all food writing is healthy.” Yeah, sister, bring it on!

The sustainability theme continued with Sarah Raven’s Garden Cookbook, which addressed food miles and provenance.

It’s always nice when you agree with the judges. Hattie Ellis won for Planet Chicken. It is a beautifully-written easy-read on a hard subject: how we treat intensively-reared chickens.

Then Bill Buckley announced that the winner (taratara) of the Lifetime achievement award was…Katie Stewart. I took this award personally (again) – The Times calendar cookbook with its seasonal recipes has been a favourite for decades. (See my beat-up food-stained version in pic 5).

An awards ceremony is such an emotional event, I was starving by the end. My hunt for food took me to a quiet part of the room where Katie stood with friends. I am afraid I could not resist asking to be photographed with her (pic 3). She said the Times cookbook was her daughter-in-law’s favourite too because people nowadays want the classics, like toad in the hole.

Then Hugh approached – clearly another Stewart devotee. (I must admit Katie looks happier with Hugh than with me but hey, that’s show biz).

Prue Leith OBE presented the awards. She explained how she gave up cooking to campaign. A champion of real food in schools, she is a woman after my own heart.

This became more evident later. There was a queue for the ladies’ and on Prue’s advice, I used the (empty) gents’ while she stood guard. I liked that – the way she encouraged an unconventional route to get results.