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Last night I attended the awards ceremony for the Young British Foodies held at Park Village in Camden, to see whether my dream of a single animal cheese was enough to scoop the “Honorary YBF” prize for which I was nominated.

Pimped homemade cheese

Pimped homemade cheese

As well as being in the running for the awards, I had also been asked to provide some of my homemade cheese to feed the hungry foodies gathered at the event – supplying whole cheeses for tasting, as well as collaborating with Kiren Puri of the Bladebone Inn to create “Goat’s Cheese Balls” (beetroot wrapped in goat’s cheese flavoured with wood sorrel, then covered in breadcrumbs).  Kiren also very kindly helped my rather basic cheese presentation by adding some hand-picked wood sorrel and pansies.

Spot the homemade cheese!

Spot the homemade cheese!

Since I’m a home cheese maker, all of the cheese I make goes either to friends and family, or interested local foodies – so it was pretty nerve-wracking offering it up in this way, but I’ve got to admit it felt good seeing people’s surprised faces as they taste it and then went back for seconds!

Goat's Cheese Balls

Goat’s Cheese Balls

Sadly I missed Kiren’s “Goat Cheese Balls”, as they were seemingly all nabbed before coming out of the kitchen!  They look pretty amazing though.

So, on to the results!  Competition in the “Honorary YBF” category was extremely tough, and was judged by the Young British Foodie founders – Chloe Scott, Lily Jones of Lily Vanilli Bakery and Amy Thorne.  The contestants were:

  • Ben Vear (@benjaminvear)- a fourth generation ice cream maker, whose family have been producing award winning ice cream for more than 87 years.  I managed to chat to Ben quite a bit at the awards, who described his idea of building a “multi-sensory” ice cream, with sea spray and various different flavours and textures being revealed as you eat
  • Nick Weston (@nick_weston)- a hunter / gatherer / forager, who provided foraged pickled ash keys and pine needle vinegar as a starter for award attendees
  • Mark Gevaux (@theribman) – also known as “The Rib Man”, responsible for quite literally the best ribs in London.  Usually parked up on Brick Lane, for the awards Mark provided an endless queue of hungry foodies with tasty pork rolls, covered with his famous hot sauce
  • Jenny Dawson (@rubiesinrubble) – an inspirational lady who produces a range of  chutneys & jams, handmade from surplus fruit & vegetables with the aim of providing work for long-term unemployed people.  She has a stall at Borough Market, where I’m hoping to find her to discuss a “surplus cheese” project
  • Ole Martin Hansen (@hansen_lydersen) – the salmon-smoking Norwegian who I featured alongside in the Observer Food Monthly last year.  He provided a vast number of smoked salmon canapes for the hungry masses, all presented perfectly
  • Andy Mahoney (@handyface) – me!
Getting ready to announce the results

Getting ready to announce the results

And the winner is … well, there were two – Ole and Mark! Congratulations to you both, very well deserved!

As someone who does this solely in my spare time, it was a great honour to be nominated alongside such established professionals and really inspiring to meet them on the night.  Stay tuned for news of our future collaborations.