André Simon Award Winners Announced

Andre Simon Awards 2017 Winners L to R Peter Liem, Stephen Harris, Victoria Moore and Dave Broom 486

Drink books scoop three out of four prestigious prizes at the André Simon Awards 

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 on Monday 12 February at the Goring Hotel in London. The prestigious awards showcase the very best of contemporary food and drink writing, and this year proved no different.

Andre Simon Awards 2017 Stephen Harris (The Sportsman) 448

Image shows Stephen Harris

Stephen Harris’ book The Sportsman (Phaidon Press) scooped 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. The book shares extracts from Harris’ diary and personal ephemera – including photos from his punk years.

In the Drink category, wine expert and critic Peter Liem won the top 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.

Andre Simon Awards 2017 Peter Liem (Champagne) 469

Image shows Peter Liem

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.

Andre Simon Awards 2017 Winners L to R Peter Liem, Stephen Harris, Victoria Moore and Dave Broom 486

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. This year Rachel Cooke assessed the food books and Joe Fattorini assessed the drink books. Books are judged on whether they are original, enjoyable, educational, and their production values. While the food and drink assessors guide the Trustees, the Trustees’ decision is final. The André Simon Food & Drink Book Award Trustees are Nicholas Lander (Chair), Sarah Jane Evans MW, David Gleave MW and Xanthe Clay.

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