06 | May | 14

Richard Johnson

The Winner Is…

The BBC Food And Farming Awards are a Radio 4 institution, so I was proud to be asked to judge and present the Best Street Food Takeaway category with Tim Hayward last week. I was sat, in the front row, in a judgely line between Richard Corrigan and Raymond Blanc. If I really leant forward, and craned my neck to the right, I could wave to Sheila Dillon and Jamie Oliver, but that would have created a scene. I was tempted. It was the end of a long, long process (the Best Market judges had travelled 3,000 miles across Britain to visit the shortlisted finalists), so put it down to the tension. And the craft beer.

“Being a judge in the Street Food and Takeaway category was one crazy road trip” I said. “Me and my man Tim. Like Thelma and Louise, shore to shining shore, tasting of this sceptered isle. Out there [I gestured towards the centre of Bristol] we had to write our own Rules Of The Road. No Hotel California by The Eagles on the car stereo. And no knives and forks. Just God’s cutlery [I wiggled my fingers]. But we made it back. And we came up one heck of a shortlist.” Tim announced that Chilli Daddy, the Pembrokeshire Beach Company and Tongue N Cheek were shortlisted. Then I announced that the winner was….

the Pembrokeshire Beach Company. Or Cafe Mor as they were once known — when they won the British Street Food Awards in 2011. Jonathan Williams is already a serious player in Welsh food. It was a very close call, but Jonathan was the whole package. A passionate cook with a story to tell and a product to write home about. I felt very sad for Cristiano and Dr Weng — both of whom were there with their lovely families. But tomorrow belongs to them….