MK Food & Leisure Awards 2018

I attend the annual foodie awards and get my hands on all the food and the winners. Lucky I know which ones to eat…or do I… 🙃


Last night was the 7th annual Milton Keynes Food & Leisure Awards. This year being held at the Holiday Inn Central in CMK.


All the foodies, business owners, sponsors and friends and family got dressed up in their fines all eager to find out who was going to scoop some of the coveted MKFLA awards.


Fizz and canapés were on on hand to kick off the evening.


They were delicious.


I understand these were made by a company called Pidy. There was a variety of them but favourites were the square mini vol au vent filled with spinach, garlic & veggie parmesan and the braised beef brisket & jacket potato foam tartlet. As I am writing this I am dreaming of having a plate full of them to tuck into. This needs to be a thing. Canapés for blogging fodder. Nom.


But tastes to one side, the best part of fizz and nibbles at the beginning of an event like this is the epic greetings and people watching as everyone shuffled in. It’s not very often I get to attend a fancy black tie event and I adored the dress and suit spotting. Everyone really made an effort and the room sparkled.

Oh and incase you was wondering here’s what I wore. Black tie the LouBou way.

After mingling and catching up with fellow blogger Sophie (Sophie etc) and the manager Jodie Deighton from The Wheatsheaf in Bow Brickhill it was then time to take our seats in the main atrium.

I was sat on table five with a whole table full of lovely street food champs to keep me company. Saf’s Kitchen, The Rub and Bandit Street Food.


Take a look at Saf and Jess from Saf’s Kitchen below. How stunning did they look in their outfits?




The awards and evening was hosted by Chris Gregg and his amazing sequin dinner jacket that we all love to see come out for the awards.


And to start off the evening the Mayor of Milton Keynes, David Hopkins gave us a speech.



Then it was time to start getting our munch on.


I do love and hate it in equal ratios when events give bread and butter on tables (equal ratios is how I like eating my bread and butter too 😂). I love it because I can’t resist bread and butter, hate it because I hate to spoil my appetite for the main attraction.

Starters then came out.

Halloumi ‘fries’
Crispy sumac-scented halloumi steaks, pea and mint puree, pomegranate seeds and molasses, lime yogurt, dehydrated onions, chilli flakes


The starter and main course for the evening were prepared, conceived and cooked by Spencer Ollington from Eat with Spencer and Jeffrey Payne from Jeff the Chef Catering. Both are previous winners of the MK Food & Leisure Awards Chef of the Year award and have cooked for the awards ceremony for the last two years.


After the starters it was time to present some awards:

Hotel of the Year (under 50 rooms)

Winner: M Gallery By Sofitel Woughton House 


Hotel of the Year (over 50 rooms)

Winner: Doubletree by Hilton


Best Destination or Attraction

Winner: Milton Keynes Theatre


Best Cafe or Coffee House

Winner: Nonna’s


Pub of the Year

Winner: The Bell & Bear


Bar of the Year

Winner: The Craufurd Arms


Then it was time to focus our attentions back on our plates as the main courses were served.

Roast Beef & Yorkshire Pudding
4 hour slow-roasted sirloin of Bedfordshire beef, tarragon infused mini Yorkshire pudding, buttered roast potato, smoked cauliflower cheese puree, caper and raisin baby vegetables, red wine jus


And for the vegetarians (including me as I didn’t fancy beef)…

Spring vegetable
Spring vegetables and butter bean super grains, sticky date and cherry tomato chutney, red pepper coulis, pickled courgettes


Then it was time for a live performer.


He was a good singer (sorry I didn’t catch your name mr-singer-man.)


In between all the festivities local company Wharf Distillery treated us all to try their Safine Drenc, Wharf Distillery’s Northamptonshire Gin. It was ruddy delicious (below).



Then it was all gin-infused eyes 👀 back to the stage, more awards time!

Best Local Product – Food

Highly Recommended: Traditional Piccalilli from Friars Farm


Winner: Chocolate Brigadeiros from Atelier The Brigadeiro


Best Local Product – Drink

Highly Recommended: Blonde Summer Ale from Cloud Nine


Winner: Seville Orange Gin from The Fruity Farmer


Best use of Local Produce

Winner: The Bell & Bear


Best Family Restaurant

Winner: MK Buffet Village 

Best Asian Restaurant

Winner: Calcutta Brasserie


Best Branded Restaurant

Winner: Turtle Bay



Best Newcomer

Winner: Fratelli’s



Restaurant of the Year

Winner: The Brasserie Milton Keynes College



Then it was time for dessert. This dessert was prepared by Milton Keynes College.

Chocolate Delice
Decadent dark chocolate and hazelnut device, pink grapefruit sorbet, elderflower curd, caramelised white chocolate curls, crisp chocolate tile, yoghurt gel and apple blossom

Then no time to waste. Grub down. More awards!

Waiter of the Year

Winner: Aaron Gates from The Cross Keys


Waitress of the Year

Winner: Amanda Hennelly from Loch Fyne


Street Food of the Year

Winner: Bandit



Chef of the Year

3rd Place: Laura Fedoriw The Brasserie at Milton Keynes College (FIRST FEMALE CHEF TO ENTER!)

2nd Place: William Bowman-Smith Nonna’s

1st Place & WINNER: Shane Clarke The Swan Inn Milton Keynes Village




Then it was time to call it a night on the awards for 2018. Everyone went home clutching their fluffy lambs we was all given. I fell asleep cuddling mine, Half Pint has since named him Daisy.

Thanks to all the organisers. The hotel who hosted us and all their staff who waited on us so well. Spencer, Jeff, Pidy and MK College and all the chefs in the kitchen who kept us fed. You made it! (Literally 😁).

I am already excited for 2019. More female chefs. More food. More awards. Keep it coming MK!