Tuesday, 13 February 2018
André Simon Food & Drink Book Awards 2017
Press release announcing the results:
'Drink books SCoOP three out of four prestigious prizeS at AndrÉ Simon Awards
LONDON, 13 FEBRUARY 2018 – US wine expert and critic, Peter Liem and self-taught chef, Stephen Harris, were among the winners at the André Simon Food & Drink Book Awards 2017 last night, Monday 12 February, at the Goring Hotel in London. The prestigious awards showcase the best of contemporary food and drink writing.
Stephen Harris’ book The Sportsman (Phaidon Press) was awarded the 2017 prize for food writing. Stephen Harris had several lives before he decided to turn what was once called a “grotty rundown pub by the sea” in Kent into an internationally acclaimed Michelin-starred restaurant. First a musician – he launched a punk band with his brother Christopher during his teen years – and then a history teacher and a financial advisor in the City of London, Harris’ engaging essays introduce the reader to the rich culinary history of the area; the Kentish landscape; how he found The Sportsman and his philosophy that intertwines punk music and food. The book shares extracts from Harris’ diary and personal ephemera including photos from his punk years.
British journalist and food writer, Rachel Cooke, this year’s assessor for food books, said: “The kind of book you want to win a prize like this must capture a moment, say something about where we are, as well as being inspirational, well-written, useful and expert. The Sportsman does that. Its interest in, and passion for, provenance is going to seem ever more relevant in the years to come, post Brexit. It's a singularly British book, and yet it looks outward, with hope. Stephen Harris, who has worked with such dedication and commitment to make his restaurant one of our truly great places, couldn’t deserve this award more.’’
In the Drink category, wine expert and critic Peter Liem won the Award for his book Champagne: The Essential Guide to Wines, Producers and Terroirs of The Iconic Region (Mitchell Beazley). As well as being elegant and beautifully-illustrated, with a pull-out tray containing seven Louis Larmat vinicultural maps, the judges felt it was an authoritative account of one of the world’s most iconic but also misunderstood wines. Often obscured by a multi-billion marketing industry, the French region actually counts hundreds of smaller producers and terroirs, which produce some of the best Champagne consumers are not aware of. Peter Liem’s book aims to tell their story.
Joe Fattorini, this year’s assessor for drink books, said: “This is a book that we'll return to for many years, not only as an authoritative catalogue or even a book that also explores perhaps the world’s most celebrated wine region, but as a book that asks questions about the nature of terroir and place. Peter Liem tackles uncomfortable truths hidden beneath decades of exquisite branding and positioning and tells personal stories among clearly-argued technical debates.’’
The Way of Whisky (Mitchell Beazley) by Dave Broom was recognised with the John Avery Award for its in-depth research of Japanese whisky and culture. Beautifully produced, the book shares Dave Broom’s personal journey around Japan’s whisky distilleries. Interspersed with this are profiles of craftspeople, chefs, bartenders and others, as Broom investigates what makes Japanese whisky Japanese.
Meanwhile, British wine journalist Victoria Moore was recognised with a Special Commendation for her new book The Wine Dine Dictionary (Granta Books). The judges praised Moore for her well-conceived and intuitive handbook, which helps readers pick the right bottle of wine based on the food they eat and for cooking the right food based on the wine they want to drink.
In an unusual year, three out of the four winning books were drink books. This year’s shortlisted authors – selected from nearly 150 entries – also included Bursting Bubbles by Robert Walters, By The Smoke and The Smell by Thad Vogler and Miracle Brew by Pete Brown, who was also shortlisted in the André Simon Awards 2016 for his book The Apple Orchard.
In the food category, the diverse publications range from Gather Cook Feast by Toast co-founder Jessica Seaton and Anna Colquhoun to Gary Taubes’ The Case Against Sugar and The Meaning of Rice by Michael Booth. Cuisines from all around the world were celebrated by Reem Kassis’ The Palestinian Table and Nino Mendes’ Lisboeta.
Winners in the food and drink categories are each awarded £2000; recipients of the John Avery Award and the Special Commendation receive £1500 each.'