Friday, 20th October saw movers and shakers of the Staffordshire culinary scene attend a glittering ceremony at Lichfield Cathedral to mark the NFU Mutual Taste of Staffordshire Good Food Awards 2017.
The event offered special cause for celebration for the Stone Food & Drink Festival team, with Chairman Richard Stevens presented with a special Recognition within the Industry award. In addition to acknowledging Richard’s hard work as a volunteer director since the festival started some 12 years ago, the award also recognised his commitment to helping put Stone – and indeed Staffordshire – firmly on the foodie map; notably his work on other events including the Stafford Cheese & Ale Festival, Sandon Spring Fair and the Demonstration Kitchen at Staffordshire County Show.
Richard attended the award ceremony with his wife Janet and several fellow festival team members – but he had no idea where the evening would lead, as he explains:
“I attended the award ceremony under the impression that it was the festival as a whole that was a finalist in one of the categories – I genuinely had no idea that it would be an award to recognise my personal input. I am truly humbled by this honour and it means a huge amount to be recognised within an industry I am so passionate about. I would like to thank Taste of Staffordshire and NFU Mutual for bestowing the honour, and also all of my fellow directors and volunteers for the Stone Food & Drink Festival as without their hard work the event just couldn’t happen.
“I’d also like to thank Janet for her patience and support – especially on those days when the festival workload is particularly heavy. There was talk around the dinner table at home of my retiring as Chairman in 2018, but that would seem rather churlish now – so I won’t be going anywhere!”
With the 2017 Stone Food & Drink Festival attracting record crowds of over 18,000 over the three days plans are already in motion for the 2018 event, which will take place on the 5th, 6th & 7th October next year.