London was party central last night. Across town from the Evening Standard's Influentials party, another key date in the foodie diary, the Observer Food Monthly Awards were taking place.
As ever, pretty much everyone you could imagine was at it - newly Michelin-starred chef James Knappett and his wife Sandia, Fergus Henderson's right hand man Trevor Gulliver, the Clove Club crew, chef Bruno Loubet. You name them and they were there.
The evening's awards, compered by the Observer's restaurant critic Jay Rayner and - fresh from the Great British Bake Off tent - Sue Perkins, featured plenty of non-London winners. Among those, a hugely popular winner was The Walnut Tree Inn's Shaun Hill who picked up a gong for Outstanding Achievement. And the crowd tried (and failed) not to go all soft-eyed at the video of kid goats slo-mo gambolling in the field. "I'd given them all names and back stories," quipped Sue as the award for best producer went to Cabrito Goat Meat in Devon.
Surrey baker Gavin Knox won Best Reader's recipe for his winning combo of chocolate and bacon brownies, while London blogger Irina Wang of Wandercrush picked up Best Food Photo. And - we can claim her now she's living here - Jack Monroe won Best Food Blog.
Other London winners were:
- The Ledbury - voted Best Restaurant (London runners-up were Bocca di Lupo, Hawksmoor and Moro)
- Camden pub Colonel Fawcett - Best Sunday lunch (runners-up Bull & Last and Bacchus in Hoxton)
- Silk Road in Camberwell - Best Cheap Eat (runners-up were Franco Manca, Koya and Wahaca)
- Sabrina Ghayour - Best new cookbook for Persiana
- April Lily Partridge from the Club at The Ivy - Best Young Chef
London runner-up in the Best Place To Drink awards were Nightjar, Frank's and 69 Colebrooke Row. Grain Store, Wahaca and the Duke of Cambridge were pipped to the Best Ethical Restaurant post by Bristol's Friska. Islington butcher Turner and George and Fortis Green's Prohitibion were runners-up for Best Independent Retailer.
Finally, the year's Best Food Personality went to Nigella Lawson who declared herself thrilled by the award, noting that for her the relationship between writer and reader is the most important.For the full list see the Observer Food Monthly out on Sunday.