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Fallowfield caterer reaches Food and Farming final

Deborah Kermath, head caterer at Ashburne Hall, has beaten thousands of contestants to reach the finals BBC Radio 4’s Food and Farming Awards.

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Head of catering for Fallowfield Campus’s Ashburne Hall Deborah Kermath has reached the final round of Radio 4’s Food and Farming Awards 2014, in a year of a record-breaking number of nominations.

Deborah has made it to the final three of the Cook of the Year section. Her competition comes from a chef at Ravenscliffe High School, Halifax, and a team of caterers at an Inverness Hospice.

She is the head of Ashburne Hall’s Food in Residence, and provides two meals a day to the 180 residents of the hall.

As well as providing breakfast and dinner for the students, Kermath has worked with organisations to create opportunities for local producers and growers to sell their produce.

Deborah said she was “tremendously honoured to be nominated for this prestigious award.

“The inclusion of high quality sustainable products on my freshly-prepared menu from local growers and farms is undoubtedly a fundamental passion of mine and it is fantastic that my students can celebrate such good food every day!”

The finalists for the eight categories were announced at the end of February and appeared on a special episode of Radio 4’s Food Programme on Sunday 10th March.

Overall, the twenty-four finalists vying for the eight Food and Farming Awards come from a wide range of regions from East Sussex to the Isle of Gigha, Scotland.

Contestants include a street food vendor marketing unpopular cuts of meat and fish, a social supermarket selling low-price surplus to those claiming benefits, and a fifth-generation butcher from the Wirral.

Chef, writer, presenter, and chair of the judges Valentine Warner said “the scale of the public’s response has been overwhelming.” There have been over 6,000 nominations for the Awards, a record-breaking amount.

The Food and Farming Awards are held to celebrate Britain’s local food scene and the people behind it. It aims to “honour those who have done most to promote the cause of good food”.

Categories include Best Food Market, Best Food Producer and Best Street Food/Takeaway.

The Awards have been running for fourteen years and cover producers, chefs and initiatives both large and small. In recent years seven categories have increased to ten to reflect the rising popularity of things such as brewing and distilling.

The nominations, sent in by the general public, are narrowed down to three by a panel of judges, this year including chef Raymond Blanc and public health officer Gabriel Scally.

After this the judges travel to visit and meet the finalists before meeting to discuss and agree on a winner.

The Cook of the Year is described as “someone who is preparing tasty, healthy meals on a budget in a hospital, school, care-home or other workplace and deserves to be celebrated.”

Winners of each category will be announced at an awards ceremony held in Bristol on the 1st May 2014.

The winners of two further categories—the Derek Cooper Lifetime achievement award, which goes to an individual or organisation who has changed our relationship with food, and Food Personality of the Year 2014—will be announced at this ceremony.