Over 12,000 votes have already been counted for Sussex Food and Drink Awards 2019 Finalists, which is seeking the best food and drink producers, farmers, butchers and places serving and selling local produce. With just a few days left, organisers are urging people to vote for their favourites by midnight on 17 January 2019 at

Said Paula Seager, co-director of Natural Partnerships CIC, who runs the awards, “It is fantastic to see so many people voting and giving our superb food and drink producers in the region the recognition that they deserve, which is what these awards are all about.

“Businesses from across the county have made it onto the list including 37 from West Sussex, 15 from East Sussex and five from Brighton and Hove. Please do go online and vote for your favourite to win, it’s really quick and easy and could make all the difference, as the competition is incredibly tight this year. The public vote will help our expert judges to select the top three Grand Finalists 2019 in each category, who will be announced in March.”

Sussex is renowned for its innovation in making artisan food products and this year's Sussex Food Producer of the Year category, sponsored by Southern Co-op, represents so much of what is special about the region. The impressive finalist line up includes an award-winning charcuterie, mouthwatering cheesemakers, organic farm produce, brilliant bakers, indulgent chocolatiers, specialist ice cream makers, delectable preserve producers and expert fish and meat smokers.

Farmers Markets are a familiar fixture in many of the towns and villages across the county and have grown enormously in popularity over the last decade. They are one of the best advocates in supporting local and regional food and drink producers and offer a great opportunity to sample some of the very best that Sussex has to offer. Seven of the best Sussex Farmers’ Markets have made it through as finalists for this category sponsored by Harvey’s Brewery.

From traditional family butchers who have passed down their skills from generation to generation, to resourceful outlets who specialise in locally sourced meats or farm shops that have managed to diversify and build a reputation in quality and zero carbon footprint, they are all well represented in this year’s Sussex Butcher of the Year category sponsored by RP Meats Wholesale Ltd.

Sussex Food Shop of the Year sponsored by Sussex Food and Drink Network presents a delightful spread of both new and old from across the region, each offering its own unique take on bringing plough to plate. Some familiar names as well as some exciting new can be found on the shortlist this year.

Residents of Sussex have an outstanding choice of where they choose to dine out from Michelin star restaurants, country pubs, elegant fine dining, trendy city establishments and gastro pubs, all of which are reflected in the finalist line up in this year's Sussex Eating Experience of the Year category, sponsored by Natural Partnerships CIC.

The Sussex Drink Producer category, sponsored by Natural PR, not only offers some of the county’s, but the country’s very best wine producers, brewers, non-alcoholic drink producers and specialist gin and spirit makers so make sure your favourite Sussex tipple makes it through to the final round. 

Three other categories also remain open for entries until 17 January 2019, including Young Sussex Farmer of the Year, seeking a farmer aged 35 or under, who is making a real difference on their own or on someone else’s farm, sponsored by the South of England Agricultural Society in association with Farmers Weekly; and Sussex Newcomer of the Year sponsored by SRC-Time, which could be any new food and drink business doing something special in Sussex.

Top chefs aged 16 to 25 are being encouraged to enter the Sussex Young Chef of the Year sponsored by Blakes Foods and participate in a cook off in March 2019 at the Gallery at the Greater Brighton Metropolitan College. Nationally acclaimed chef, Matt Gillan from Pike and Pine/Red Roaster, Brighton and Electro Pirate will head up a new panel of judges which includes fellow Michelin star chefs George Blogg from Gravetye Manor near East Grinstead and Tristan Mason from Restaurant Tristan in Horsham; Daniel Clifford from the renowned two Michelin star, Midsummer House in Cambridge; Fran Villiani, Food Blogger and designer in Brighton; and sponsor and former restaurateur, Adrian Burr from Blakes Foods.

As well as earning the huge respect and recognition that these awards now carry, Grand Finalists from all ten categories will be invited to attend a BAFTA-style ceremony on 15 May 2019 at the Amex Stadium in Brighton, where the winners will be revealed and 400 guests will enjoy a seven-course Sussex produce banquet, hosted by awards patron Sally Gunnell OBE and Danny Pike from BBC Sussex. 

Vote for your favourite now by visiting