Chefs’ Choice Awards 2020: small chocolate tart steals the show

Brakes came out on top at the annual awards last night with their dark chocolate offering, with flavours from India, plant-based innovations and café gourmand seen amongst the winners 

4 March 2020

Major wholesale supplier Brakes triumphed last night at the Chefs’ Choice Awards 2020, with their La Boulangerie small dark chocolate tart winning the overall award for best product.

Hailed as a “premium product with a luxurious feel that really delivered”, the all-butter pastry tart comes filled with a chocolate ganache and is finished with a chocolate glaze.

It was a successful evening for a number of Brakes’ sweet finalists, with their white chocolate and raspberry cheesecake named the best finished dessert/gateau and their raspberry and matcha Battenberg slice (also from sub-brand La Boulangerie) coming out on top in the sweet/savoury snacks category.

Created by Food Spark’s parent company, William Reed Business Media, the annual Chefs’ Choice Awards highlight the credentials of mid-market food service products, bringing together professionals from the hospitality, wholesale and food manufacturing industries to recognise innovations across different categories.

This year’s awards received a record amount of entries, with nearly 100 products shortlisted across 19 categories including chilled salads, preserves, meat, and cheese and dairy products.

Brakes’s Goan paste was named best in the sweet/savoury sauce category

Plant-based rolls on while regional Indian scores

While the UK’s big three foodservice companies Brakes, Booker and Bidfood were well-represented, the awards also showcased a diverse selection of smaller suppliers including Love Taste Co., Whitby Seafoods, Delifrance and Major International.

Innovations were particularly prevalent in the vegan and plant-based category, with Winterbotham Darby taking home a ‘Highly Rated’ award for its Vivera plant shawarma kebab and Bidfood winning the category with their Everyday Favourites vegan sausage roll.

Flavours from across India were a hit with Brakes’s Goan paste named best in the sweet/savoury sauce category and Major International’s Keralan pan-Asian base topping the free-from category, with regional cuisines enjoying increased NPD focus and consumer interest of late.

Booker, meanwhile, won the preserves category with their Chef’s Larder hazelnut chocolate spread (with a recent survey from Nutella suggesting that consumers are still nutty for hazelnut) while Délifrance came away with the bread and morning goods crown with their mini indulgent selection (this being a ‘café gourmand’ – a selection of small desserts and pastries often enjoyed with a coffee – which Brioche Pasquier recently cited as a potential UK trend for 2020).

“Chefs and the pubs, restaurants, hotels and other catering businesses they represent need all the help they can get in these challenging and uncertain times. Competition is as intense as ever, operating costs are high and hiring and retaining skilled staff is a challenge,” said event director Sonia Young.

“The right product can help stretched teams meet their customer’s expectations, and that’s where quality foodservice suppliers come in. Think of these awards as a seal of approval to improve customer trust, engagement and sales, allowing suppliers to independently validate the taste and value of their products.”

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