Cotswold Fayre’s search for the next talented and innovative young entrepreneur looking to crack the fine food industry is well underway. Meet the three finalists that have impressed the judging panel this year, hear their stories and decide who will get your vote at this year’s Speciality and Fine Food Fair.
Celebrating its fifth year, Cotswold Fayre’s Young Food and Drink Entrepreneur of the Year Award has seen more inspiring and talented applicants than ever before.
Paul Hargreaves, chief executive of Cotswold Fayre and the mastermind behind the scheme has been overwhelmed with the calibre of candidates this year; “I remember walking around the Speciality and Fine Food Fair in 2012 and being severely underwhelmed by the lack of young people trying to enter this fantastic industry. Now, five years on, it’s great to see how far things have come along. Thanks to this and a growing number of similar initiatives, paired with the fact that millennials are more interested in what they eat than ever, it is great to see so many ambitious young business people bringing new, innovative products to market. The quality of this year’s semi-final was absolutely superb, the best ever - bring on the final!”
This year, the winning applicant will receive £1,500 in funding, but more importantly, they will win a year of mentoring from Paul and his highly experienced management team.
Meet the Finalists!
Milly Wilson, Skinny Dipping Dips (24)
After graduating from Newcastle University with an Economics degree, 24 year old Milly worked as a chef and private caterer before taking the leap and setting up Skinny Dipping Dips alongside her best friend.
Keen to bring the dip category up to speed with the exciting innovation in the rest of the health food market, Skinny Dipping Dips launched almost a year ago.
Milly says: “After lots of experimenting in the kitchen, I decided on three flavours of natural vegetable dips for the range: Charred Aubergine and Lemon; Kale, Chilli and Lime; and Broadbean and Mint.”
Having lived in the South of France for half of her childhood, Milly developed a love of good food and an understanding of the importance of quality produce, and is hoping to impress at this year’s final.
“The dip category is constantly growing in the UK, but there is little innovation. With Skinny Dipping Dips, the aim is to add more exciting flavours to the market as well as some fun and character to the dip aisle!”, says Milly.
Karina Sudenyte, Get Wonky (22)
Undertaking her final year of studying Human Resource Management at the University of South Wales, 22 year old Karina is hoping her range of artisan, ethical and delicious juice will secure her this year’s title.
Get Wonky was born out of Karina’s passion to address the amount of fruit that is wasted for no reason other than looking misshapen or wonky. The gluten-free and vegan friendly drinks are packaged in sustainable bottles made from recycled glass including all of the company’s messages which really caught the eye of this year’s judging panel.
There are four flavours available: Apple, Strawberry, Beetroot and Chokeberry, with each bottle saving an average of eight wonky fruits!
Karina explains: “We help growers that can’t shift wonky produce that would otherwise be wasted while creating a tasty, naturally sweet drink. In the next 12 months, we hope to save 300 tonnes of wonky fruit!”
Chloë Stewart, nibs etc. (25)
25 year old Chloë has always been obsessed with food, so it’s no surprise that nibs etc. was born out of a passion for food and fighting waste.
“What started as a food blog about upcycling leftovers and no waste recipes, has grown offline into a business making delicious food from ingredients that would otherwise be thrown away, specifically juice pulp”, says Chloë.
The range currently includes three breakfast and snack food items made from juice pulp: Juice Pulp Granola, Pulp-Banana Loaf and the judges’ favourite, Pulp Crackers.
She adds: “nibs etc. brings us back to our roots, creating beautiful and innovative food using misunderstood ingredients, where nothing is wasted and everything is appreciated.”
The winner of Cotswold Fayre’s Young Food and Drink Entrepreneur of the Year 2017 is down to you.
Head over to the 'Food for Thought' area, in the discovery zone, at the Speciality and Fine Food Fair on Monday 4th September 2017 at 12.15pm to hear from the finalists themselves and vote for your favourite.