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Red Duke

Red Duke


The Duke Big Red Wine, a “confident in character and bold in taste,” cross regional blend of Tempranillo, Shiraz, Merlot and Garnacha grapes from the Campo de Borja and Manchuelah wine districts, is now being sold at Morrison at c£8.

Off Piste Wines’ “no-nonsense” off dry 2013 vintage with 10g residual sugar and a “silky and opulent scent”, is desbribed as an ideal accompaniament to “decadent” red meat, roasts and barbecue feasts.

Off-Piste owner Paul Letheren said: “People like to talk dry and drink sweet, as I know from my days of selling Yellow Tail.


Kent Chef of the Year finalists

Kent Chef of the Year finalists


Jeff Kipp, the chef owner of Saltwood on the Green restaurant near Hythe, has made the 3-man shortlist for Chef of the Year in this year’s Kent Life and Kent on Sunday Food & Drink Awards. Saltwood on the Green, Jeff’s first restaurant, opened in the picturesque village of Saltwood’s former general store in 2014. The American born-chef has worked in some of the world’s top kitchens, including, Gordon Ramsay, Charlie Trotter’s and Duck & Waffle, Sushi Samba.

Determined by public voting, the other two Chef of the Year finalists are Michael Fowler of Wallett’s Court and The Ambrette’s Dev Biswal. The competition now moves on the judging stage, where finalist will be visited, interviewed and assessed for the quality of their cooking, provenance of local produce ambience and service.

The awards are designed to champion, highlight and offer a showcase to the good and the great from the region’s food and drink industry, including local producers and suppliers, small farming businesses, chefs, restaurants, pubs and hoteliers. All the finalists are people who care about the countryside and the future of our local environment.

The winners will be announced at an awards dinner at Ashford International hotel on 15th October.

“It great to be recognised in our local media and be nominated for this prestigious award by so our loyal local customers, but the national coverage has attracted scores of gastro tourists from much further a field, who are staying in local hotels, using B and Bs, and breakfasts and spending money in the area’s shops,” said Kipp.

The full awards nomination list is : Farmers’ Market - Penshurst, Tonbridge, Knockholt; Farm Shop - MB Farms, Fullers Farm Shop, Kelseys Farm Shop; Newcomer - Cookery Studio Kent, Badlesmere, Paramour Pie Club, Ash, The Yard, Faversham; Food Producer - Simply Ice Cream, Solleys Ice Cream, Curiously Kentish; Drink Producer - Chapel Down, Anno Distillers, Wise Owl Cider; Independent Food and Drink Retailer -The Cheese Box, Margate Smokehouse, Steve the Fish; Tea Shop - Tiny Tim’s; Bessie’s Tea Parlour, Creek Creative; Customer Service - Three Tuns, Challock Village Shop and Post Office, Longfield Butchers; Pub of the Year - The Compasses Inn, Oyster Pearl, The Milk House; Chef of the Year - Jeff Kipp, Saltwood on the Green, Dev Biswal, The Ambrette, Michael Fowler, Wallett’s Court; Restaurant of the Year - The Marquis at Alkham, The Corner House, Chapter One. The Kent Life Food and Drink Hero of the Year shortlist and winner will be announced at the awards.


Bling kitchen for Essex launch

Bling kitchen for Essex launch


Giggling Squid, the new Thai restaurant which opens in Billericay on 17th August, is to install a ‘gold-plated’ kitchen cabinet for the launch.

Apparently, the “stunning” piece of equipment would not look out of place alongside the golden laser deployed by the baddie Scaramanga in the James Bond movie ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’, which was filmed on the Thai island of Khao Phing Kan.

A shortage of industrial kitchen equipment parts caused by a combination of disruption to Channel Tunnel services and staff holidays, meant their supplier was unable to delivery a top-of-the range refrigerated food storage and preparation unit in time for the restaurant opening – which is already fully booked.

To resolve the problem the high performance professional refrigeration and freezer equipment manufacturer, Gram Commercial, is to lend the restaurant its unique gold ‘Gastro K1807’, which was created to celebrate the Kent-based company’s 50th (Golden) anniversary.

The version being loaned to Giggling Squid was ‘sexed up’ by Norwich-based Totally Dynamic, who usually custom wrap sports cars and speed boats for product launches and livered fleet vehicles.

Non blinged versions of the counter have a list price of over £5,000. The loan item is worth considerably more and will be protected by 24-hour security until a new unit can be supplied.

“All our dishes are created onsite using fresh ingredients, so these chilled cabinets, which also serve as a food preparation surface are a vital piece of kit for our chefs,” said restaurant owner Wa Laurillard.


Curry Awards

Curry Awards


The finalists of the 5th Asian Curry Awards will be announced at a networking lunch at the House of Commons on Monday 12th October.

Restaurateurs will have the chance to meet their local MPs and discuss challenging issues facing the curry restaurant and takeaway industry with their fellow business owners. Curry lovers still have time to vote for their favourite Indian, Bangladeshi Chinese, Thai, Japanese and Malaysian restaurants and chefs. Voting closes on the 30th September.

The Parliamentary lunch follows a live cook off competition and chefs workshop at the University of West London in Ealing on at the 5th October. The cook off will determine the winners of the Asian & Oriental Chef of the Year and the Young Asian & Oriental Chef of the Year categories.

In London, the early front runners in public voting are Benares, Café Spice Namaste, Chutney Mary, Cinnamon Club, Masala Zone, Quilion Gymkana and Veeraswamy.

Around the country, top Thai restaurants currently topping the poll are Blue Elephant, Busabai Eathai, Chaopharaya, Giggling Squid, Rosa, Thaikun, Thai Square and Rosa – although none has established a clear lead.

“Ultimately, the winners will be decided buy a team of judges led by Pat Chapman, editor of the Cobra Good Curry Guide, but the shortlist will be determined by votes from members of the public – there’s very little daylight between them with everything still to play for,” said Asian Curry Awards chairman, Yawar Khan.

There are also regional award categories, with the winners being revealed at an awards ceremony at the London Hilton on Sunday 15th November.

Curry lovers can vote by sending the name and location of their favourite restaurant to vote@asiancurryawards.com


Pimento Clock

Pimento Clock


Pimento, the chili-infused ginger drink from France, has added four new wholesalers to its roster. The Cress Co, Red Plum, Wesco and Haywoods Drinks will distribute the unique soft drink to on and off-trade outlets including; delis, farm shops, restaurants, shops, hotels, pubs and bars.

Pimento is a “totally refreshing mix” of fizzy tonic with natural ginger and hot chilli pepper flavours – which delivers a “distinctive and sensational kick!”

It contains 7g of sugar per 100ml - less than many other ginger beers on the market, is non-alcoholic and is billed as the “perfect solution for an increasing number of adults who are longing to find a really satisfying ‘grown-up’ soft drink”.

It can also be used as a mixer for dark rum, vodka and gin.


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