Nominate your Surrey Life Food Heroes

People clinking glasses with red wine

Raising a glass to all our Surrey food and drink businesses - Credit: Pexels Jep Gambardella

In search of those fantastic food and drink industry businesses that have come back fighting

Last month Surrey Life launched its 2021 Food Heroes campaign in recognition of all the hard work members of the food and drink industry have shown over the past 18 months. 

This year the Surrey Life team wanted this important sector to be celebrated by you, the readers, for its many accomplishments both during and after the various COVID-19 lockdowns. 

A firm believer and supporter of the ingenuity of small business owners is Simon Lewis, chief executive officer of leading Esher-based financial planning company Partridge Muir & Warren, which has joined forces with Surrey Life to honour our Food & Drink Heroes. 

'Business buccaneers'

‘I think of a lot of these companies as business buccaneers,’ says Simon, who has been a champion of the Surrey Life Food & Drink Awards for several years. ‘They have had to react quickly, to adapt to the latest trends and tastes and, over the past year or so, to a very different economic market.

Man in blue suit

Local industry champion - Simon Lewis - CEO of Partridge Muir & Warren - Credit: PMW

'It’s a tough industry and we want them to know that we value everything they have been through.’ 

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Like many of us, Simon discovered a new appreciation of his local high street during the first lockdown as trips to the supermarket became an arduous and even risky endeavour.  

‘I started buying meat from my local butcher who always had plenty of advice and suggestions about how to prepare or cook the meat,’ he explains. ‘It opened up another part of the community to me and I was impressed at how quickly they grew and adapted their business. In fact, it has actually taken over the shop next door, opening a deli. It has added another string to its business and also brought something great and fresh to the high street.

'It is this kind of quick-thinking, adaptability that we want to support. Sadly it didn't stop me burning the meat on the barbecue!'

'This is something we want to cheerlead'

Simon continues: ‘The past year has made a lot more people aware of their local eco system and Surrey has great food and drink businesses throughout. It’s a very cosmopolitan county and as residents we are spoiled for choice for restaurants, pubs, cafes and producers. This is something we want to cheerlead.  

‘I see the industry as almost a cat’s eye in the road, lighting the way for other parts of the county. Even after all it has been through, there is a vibrancy and an excitement about the sector that deserved to be recognised.’ 

And we think so to, which is why we asking readers of Surrey Life to help us acknowledge and celebrate all those local foodie businesses that truly went above and beyond during the darkest days and also those that have emerged, showing imagination, determination and creativity in order to ensure Surrey's food and drink industry, remains the cream of the crop. 

To help you, we have devised five categories: 

  1. Community food initiative - perhaps a community group organised regular meals for those who were shielding or collected shopping for those unable to get out. Let us know about the difference it made and how it brought people closer together. 
  2. Local food/drink delivery experience - did a delivery person go out of their way to ensure you/or someone you knew got food when you needed it? Or did your local pub or restaurant keep you well stocked with your favourites? This is the time to blow their trumpet for them! 
  3. Independent local retail - do you know of a business that has adapted to expand its offer and reach in response to exceptional circumstances? Did you rediscover a high street retailer that is now part of your weekly grocery shop? If so, let us know. 
  4. New product or producer - have you been impressed by a food or drink business that has emerged over the past few months? Is there now a cafe you can't walk past without popping in for a sneaky snack or quick coffee? 
  5. Back with a bang - who has seized the opportunity to welcome you with open arms? Here's your chance to raise a glass to those who have gone that extra mile to make you feel glad you went out – out. 

How to get involved: 

To tell us about your Surrey Food Hero, simply drop an email to: jane.thynne@archant.co.uk. We cannot wait to hear from you and we will let you know who cooked up a storm in our special Autumn Food Issue.  

You can find out more about Partridge Muir & Warren and how it could help your business here: pmw.co.uk/

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Partridge Muir & Warren - supporters of Surrey Life Food & Drink Heroes - Credit: PMW

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