Delicious Produce Awards
The country\'s top chefs & industry experts including our own Alla Wolf-Tasker lift the lid on Australia\'s best produce
The 2013 national judges included Guilaume Brahimi, Christine Manfield, Alla Wolf-Tasker, Shannon Bennett and Maggie Beer.
With 3110 nominations flooding in from around the country, the delicious. Produce Awards has been seen its biggest year yet. As the judges gathered at delicious. headquarters in Sydney to taste their way through the state finalists to determine the 2013 winners and medallists, there were mock threats of hair-pulling and eating each other bandied across the table as each championed their favourite.
Some fresh faces, including acclaimed Sydney chef Christine Manfield, Guillaume Brahimi of Guillaume at Bennelong and Bistro Guillaume, and Vue de Monde’s Shannon Bennette joined existing judges Alla Wolf-Tasker and Maggie Beer. This year, joining delicious. Food Director Valli Little, was a panel of industry experts made up of provedore Simon Johnson, Colin Holt of Hudson’s Meat and seafood guru John Susman of Fishtales. For the non-produce categories, our critic’s panel – John Lethlean, Necia Wilden, Simon Marnie, Simon Thompsen, Matt Preston and Jane Adams – offered their advice.
“Every year the Produce Awards are different, but every year something stands out as being the most exciting thing you’ve ever seen,” says awards patron Maggie Beer. “There’s only a trend for excellence. I’ve seen past winners whose businesses have become economically sustainable as a result of the awards – how important is that?”.
The pool of finalists not only demonstrated the world –class quality of Australian produce, but also the geographical scope of our landscape. “It was apparent that a lot of states specialised in different things,” says Shannon. “There were a lot of agricultural products out of Victoria, particularly beef and lamb, some great Tasmanian seafood and South Australia had some good olive oil and dairy products. NSW seemed to showcase a bit of everything, showing how vast it is, and WA had some really special seafood.”
Among the nominations, the judges were happy to see new regions in the spotlight, too. “There are a few interesting additions to what have been the traditional food regions we know,” says Christine. “We were impressed by desert limes from Victoria’s Glenrowan region and blueberries from Moondarra, also in Victoria.”
These awards celebrate the labour of Australia’s primary and secondary producers, but they’re also an important resource for chefs and the public to encourage greater integrity in the food on our plates. “As chefs, we’re the last barrier before the consumer, so it’s our duty to help raise awareness and recognition of producers doing great things,” says Guillaume. “When it comes to food, I’d like to encourage people to think globally but source locally.”
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