YBF awards seek nation’s young food and drink pioneers

Tony ConigliaroThe search for Britain’s brightest young pioneers in food and drink is under way with the launch of this year’s YBFs.

The awards are now open for entries, with a category for alcoholic drinks and cocktails to be judged by leading bartender Tony Conigliaro (pictured), co-founder of London bars 69 Colebrooke Row and The Zetter Townhouse.

The YBFs – launched two years ago as the Young British Foodies – is a nationwide search to discover, embrace and celebrate the unsung heroes who are set to shake up the food and drink world and become the faces of the future.

Other judges include food and drink experimentalists Bompas and Parr, top chef Nuno Mendes of Chiltern Firehouse in London, Petra Barran of street food champions Kerb and food critic Marina O’Loughlin.

The winner of last year’s alcohol category, also judged by Tony Conigliaro, was mixologist Jack Bevan of Somerset-based food and drink pop-up specialist The Ethicurean.

Jack created a twist on a classic with the Gardeners Old Fashioned, using Somerset cider brandy infused with burnt Somerset oak mixed with chipotle tincture, vanilla, bitters and toffee apple cake syrup.

He said: “It was an honour to win the alcohol category and a fine way to meet the brilliant individuals in my field. The chance to develop a drink for the awards was an incentive to delve deep into my knowledge and the result was a true test of my skills.”

Lily Vanilli, co-founder of the YBFs, said: “In the last two years the YBFs has showcased some of the most talented new chefs, bartenders, baristas and bakers in the UK.

“With British food and drink rising in popularity and acclaim, this new wave of entrepreneurs is challenging convention and revolutionising the way we look at food.

“The YBFs are about celebrating passion, innovation and creativity and we are very excited to meet this year’s entrants. If the calibre of previous years is anything to go by, the YBFs 2014 promises to spotlight something truly exciting.”

Alongside alcohol, the other seven categories are: Street; Experiential; Baking; Meat; Chefs; Honorary; and Food Writing.

Winners will be able to show off their skills on the awards evenings at an “exhibition” to champion the YBF movement.

The YBFs were created by Lily, a creative baker, with food journalist Chloe Scott-Moncrieff and Amy Thorne of Taste PR.

Entries close in July. Visit www.the-ybfs.com for entry details.

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