Decanter columnist Andrew Jefford swept the board at the 2003 Glenfiddich Food and Drink Awards tonight, winning three of coveted annual writing and broadcasting awards.
Jefford – who writes a bi-monthly column for Decanter magazine – won Wine Writer of the Year for work in Decanter and Waitrose Food Illustrated, Drinks Writer of the Year for work in Decanter and Harpers, and finally the Glenfiddich Trophy, for overall excellence in the field of food and drink writing.
He admitted he was ‘gobsmacked’ to have to make his way to the podium not one but three times to accept his gongs from TV presenter and avowed foodie Kirsty Wark.
‘I’ve been told I’ve got to say a few words,’ he announced to a packed hall at London’s Vinopolis, ‘but I’m gobsmacked.’
Accepting a cheque for £3000 as well as several litres of vintage Glenfiddich single malt, he opted to offer some advice to aspiring food writers. ‘Feel passion for your subject and just communicate it,’ he said. ‘The style will take care of itself.’ He added, ‘And be lucky with your editors. There are some brilliant food and drink editors out there, and some appalling ones. I’m very lucky in the ones I’ve had.’
Later he told decanter.com, ‘It’s ironic to win all this in the year that I lost my column at the Evening Standard and my radio spot,’ referring to two jobs he lost in cutbacks. The axing of his London Evening Standard job as wine writer by new editor Veronica Wadley in September last year sent tremors through the wine industry and led to a campaign for his reinstatement by the Circle of Wine Writers.
Other winners included Decanter writers John and Erica Platter for their book Africa Uncorked, Richard Ehrlich (Bar Writer of the Year), and celebrity chef Jamie Oliver for his TV programme Jamie’s Kitchen. Magazine cookery writer went to Brian Glover, who consults for Decanter on food and wine matching. Georgia Glynn Smith won the Photography award for work in Sainsbury’s Magazine and Living etc.
Finally, the Glenfiddich Independent Spirit of the Year Award – given to an individual or campaign which is thought to have made an outstanding contribution towards widening the understanding and appreciation of food and drink in Britain – was presented to James Parvitt, National Coordinator of the National Association of Farmers’ Markets. This is an organisation that runs some 250 food markets throughout the UK, independently of the supermarkets.
Pavitt – who started the first farmers’ market in Stratford-upon-Avon in the Midlands, is widely credited with creating a mini-revolution in attitudes towards fresh, local produce, and going some way towards breaking the stranglehold of the major supermarkets.
Written by Adam Lechmere19 May 2003