It was an amazing night for ilumi at the [Free From Food Awards] last night! Around 300 of the nation's foremost free-from foodies assembled at the beautiful [Royal College of Physicians] in London, ready to enjoy a night of awards, delicious nibbles, and networking. We were well-represented, having sent our marketing whizzes Christy and Siobhan down on the train that morning, ready for anything – but we don't think even they were quite prepared for the success we were about to have!
The ceremony was even bigger than last year, testament to the growing and vibrant free-from market here in the UK, and the quality of the food on offer really was exceptional. Our team may have indulged in perhaps just one too many of the delicious pakoras created by [The Indian Coeliac], and Christy assures us that some of the bread was downright incredible.
In her speech, Director [Michelle Berriedale-Johnson] pointed out how far the industry has come in a few short years. When she created the Free-From Food Awards six years ago, she admits, finding products that actually tasted nice was a bit of a challenge – but now she says the judges are getting quite spoiled by the incredible tastes and variety on offer. Finally, she said, free-from food is reaching the point of being 'just food' that can happily be eaten by everyone. (And as proponents of exactly this point of view, we have to agree wholeheartedly!)
Once the awards ceremony began in earnest, the nerves set in, as we waited for the [results] in the first of three categories we'd been short-listed in: [Best Meat-Based Ready Meal]. And we weren't disappointed – our [Lamb Rogan Josh] took the honours! After accepting the certificate, an excited Siobhan ran out of the room to get a mobile signal and tweet about our win, but she was a bit too hasty... another win came hard on its heels, this time for our [Kerala Chicken Curry]!
We were also very proud to see a number of companies we've worked with get awards and commendations, particularly [Venice Bakery], [CELIA Lager], [D&D Chocolates], [Nairns], and [Greens], who not only won our sponsored Gluten-Free Beer category, but also scooped a special award for “services to gluten-free beer” (which came complete with a kiss for David from celebrity chef Antony Worrall Thompson)!
Christy and Siobhan are en route back to lovely Durham as we speak, with their pockets full of business cards from lots of great companies - so far from resting on our laurels, we're getting back to work, and looking forward to lots of great innovative partnerships to come!
Congratulations from everyone at ilumi to all the winners, and many thanks to Free From Foods Matter for sponsoring such a vibrant and well-organised awards ceremony! See you next year!