Whether it’s making red wine vinegar in oak or distilling nettle mead, experimentation is key for Clark, whose CV includes The Ten Bells and St John Bread & Wine. His entry ‘Herring fillets marinated in Bramley apple juice served with buttermilk whey and baby white turnips’ was a bold move and the ageing of fish a technical feat.
Bevan is obsessive about drinks, whether smoking his own oak or creating sweet Vermouth. He cures, brews, pickles and tinkers with any British ingredients he can lay his hands on. His complex creations include Chase gin with saffron, chipotle pickled samphire, sweet Vermouth, stirred with a touch of dried sea kelp.
‘It started in Paris – the least British of places – but I was young and in love.’ They split up. ‘I found solace in the finest cakes,’ recalls Smadja. Nowadays her creations include pistachio pannacotta tarts with rhubarb and orange blossom, and Le Snickers Tart, salted caramel peanuts, nougat cream and jivara chocolate mousse.
Poppy & Sebastian
The trio have created a tiny Bao bar inspired by Taiwan and make Xiao Chi small eats, serving signatures such as Soya Milk Fried Chicken (chicken marinated in soya milk, twice fried) and Gua Bao (steamed bun with pork belly, peanut powder, home pickles, coriander).
Charcutier Illtud entered spiced salt beef, potted meat, boudin blanc, rolled ears and trotter sausages.
Of his small family farm, he says: ‘We buck the trends to produce pork in the pre-war cottaging method.’ His charcuterie is a unique Welsh product, no imitation of European styles.
Edinburgh-based Freeman entered a Cold Brew Mulled Cascara Ying Yang. ‘Cascara, traditionally a coffee processing by-product, is cold brewed for 18 hours with hints of bergamot and smoky woodiness. The cold brew is then gently mulled with fresh spices and finally seasoned with black pepper and cane sugar and served hot,’ he explains.
Gastrophonic put on dining events incorporating light and sound. They say: ‘Gastrophonic is the pairing of great food and tasty drinks with music and lighting to create multi-sensory events, inspired by research.’
Blogger Graves secured her share of the spoils with an unusual and scatological piece extolling the joys of Peckham fried chicken. She's written three books about food.
Miss South announced herself with a heavyweight blogpost about eating on the breadline. In November 2014, she released her first book, Slow Cooked, a paean to her beloved slow-cooker.
North/South Food Blog
Young runs the Real Bread Campaign, which calls for healthier bread than that made using the Chorley Wood Process. He quit his job and signed up as a volunteer after being shocked when he discovered the hidden costs behind industrial loaves.
Real Bread Campaign