The best places to eat in Manchester as Food & Drink Festival confirms 2020 award winners

Escape To Freight Island

The best food, drink and takeaway services in Manchester were confirmed this week – as Manchester Food & Drink Festival (MFDF) announced the official winners of their prestigious awards ceremony.

The 23rd MFDF Awards was hosted online as a virtual ceremony at MODA Living Apartments on Monday (October 5) – with the ordinary format and categories changed to reflect the sterling efforts of the hospitality sector during a deeply challenging year.

Presented in partnership with headline sponsors Just Eat, the festival awards “celebrated the innovation, resilience, altruism and successes that have taken place within the industry”, with new awards designed to recognise the industry’s innovations since lockdown.

Categories for 2020 included Best DIY Delivery Food Offering, Best Food and Drink Box Delivery, Best Innovation and Lockdown Heroes. 

Wholesome Junkies

Votes were cast by the public in the days leading up to the ceremony – which saw the camera cut to winners once they had been revealed by star presenters Noddy Holder, Rhian Sugden, Clint Boon, John Thomson, Victoria Ekanoye, and Sair Khan.

There were wins on the night for Rudy’s, Shindigger, Wholesome Junkies, Cork of the North and Escape to Freight Island – as well as a special award for Mary-Ellen McTague who recruited an army of fellow hospitality workers to feed heroes on the frontline.

The full list of winners for Manchester Food & Drink Festival Awards 2020 were as follows:

BEST ONLINE ‘AT HOME’ FOOD AND DRINK CONTENT SPONSORED BY MODA ANGEL GARDENS 

Recognising the best online food and drink content shared during lockdown by Manchester’s chefs, producers and industry experts. 

  • Cork of the North – For their live wine tasting masterclasses broadcast via social media.

THE BEST RESTAURANT TAKEAWAY ADAPTATION SPONSORED BY JUST EAT 

Recognising restaurants who have adapted their business model, menus and offering to provide a takeaway/delivery service during lockdown. 

BEST DIY DELIVERY FOOD OFFERING SPONSORED BY ROOMZZZ APARTHOTELS 

Recognising the restaurants, chefs and businesses who have created ‘do it yourself’ recipe delivery meal kits for people to create their own restaurant quality meals/dishes at home. 

  • Northern Soul – Grill it Yourself Kit – Unit 10-11 Church Street, Manchester M4 1PN

BEST FOOD AND DRINK BOX DELIVERY  

Recognising the best food and drink delivery boxes created to serve the community with fine food and drink during lockdown. 

  • ShinDigger Brewing Co – Beer Delivery Boxes In Under 3 Hours – Unit 11, Springfield Lane Industrial Estate, Salford, M3 7JQ 

BEST INNOVATION SPONSORED BY HUN WINE

Recognising the most impressive business innovations by food and drink operators during the COVID-19 crisis. 

Cork of the North

NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR SPONSORED BY BULLEIT BOURBON

Recognising the best new food and drink operations to open in Greater Manchester since the last awards decision period. 

BEST ONLINE VEGGIE/VEGAN OFFERING SPONSORED BY MEATLESS FARM 

This award recognises the restaurants and food businesses that have provided innovative and exciting menu options for vegetarian and vegan diners via takeaway/delivery services during lockdown. 

ARTISAN DRINKS PRODUCER OF THE YEAR SPONSORED BY FRANKLIN & SONS

This award recognises the plethora of fabulous local drinks producers, from gins and ciders to ales and meads, if it’s produced in Greater Manchester and tastes great, we want to celebrate it.

TAKE AWAY COFFEE EXPERIENCE OF THE YEAR

This category recognises quality coffee takeaways during the COVID-19 crisis. This category is an adaptation of The Coffee Shop of the year award and only recognises those businesses that were able to stay open via takeaway.

STREET FOOD TRADER OF THE YEAR

Awarding one of the Greater Manchester-based street food legends who have adapted their services to provide takeaways and deliveries during lockdown.

LOCKDOWN HEROES SPONSORED BY MEN

Recognising those individuals and businesses who have provided continued support for the wider community, the food and drink industry and Greater Manchester as a whole during the COVID-19 Crisis..

HOWARDS AND RUTH OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT

Recognising someone who has contributed something outstanding to the food and drink industry in Greater Manchester.

  • Mary-Ellen McTague from The Creameries and Eat Well MCR. 

Phil Jones, The Manchester Food and Drink Festival Founding Director, said: “We’re very pleased to be able to recognise our brilliant hospitality sector during this extraordinarily difficult time.

“MFDF is proud to celebrate such a wonderful range of businesses and individuals, all showcasing the strong stuff that our local industry is made of. There’s been huge amounts of innovation and creativity – even during such a tough time, we’ve much to celebrate.

“Congratulations to all the winners, and nominees – the Festival will continue to support the industry however it can over the coming months.

“Roll on April 2021.”

MFDF itself has been rescheduled to take place in April.

Stay up-to-date with what’s happening in and around Greater Manchester via The Manc’s What’s On section.

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