Many people ask me what the Great Taste Awards does for a business, and is it worth the money for entering. Well, since the results of this year’s awards were announced this year at the back end of September, I pretty much haven’t stopped.
This blog should have been written way back then, but my little business pulled off another shock by winning another three-star accolade for my Spicy Mango Chutney. Six stars in less than two years for two products.
This in itself was pretty amazing news given the year we’ve had but on top of the award, I was named in The Times newspapers top 50 products and then to cap it all off, the BBC Good Food Magazines three of the best chutneys and preserves. I cannot begin to describe how I feel about this, but to be fair I haven’t had much chance to sit down and contemplate it since then. It has been go go go for the past two month with Christmas right around the corner.
The Great Taste Awards this year were a quiet affair. Gone were the judges all sitting around the table discussing the quality of the products. Gone were the huge logistics of judging in such a small-time frame. Very nearly gone were the awards, but John Farrand, MD of the Guild of Fine Foods, in a typical British way, said no, we shall shoulder the burden and make sure the awards still go ahead by working within our constraints and making sure food wins! (Paraphrasing somewhat).
And indeed, they did. After a week of normal judging ahead of lockdown, the Guild of Fine Food quickly had to establish a way in which to judge the remaining 12,000 products. In early May, a remote judging system was established, with entries consolidated at the Guild of Fine Food’s HQ in Dorset and then sent to smaller groups of judges, working remotely and sharing the experience over Zoom. This ensured that a similar number of experts assessed every food and drink product.
Out of 12,777 products sent in from 106 different countries, 205 were awarded a 3-star, 1,294 received a 2-star and 3,818 were awarded a 1-star accolade.
Judged by 144 of the most discerning palates, belonging to food critics, chefs, cooks, restaurateurs, buyers, retailers and producers, as well as food writers and journalists, Great Taste is the most coveted of all food and drink awards. As well as a badge of honour, the unmistakeable black and gold Great Taste label is a signpost to an outstanding product, which has been discovered through hours and hours of blind tasting.