Food’s Finest 2021

The best thing about being a citizen of two countries is not, I think, the gift of having two passports, although at the moment that is a decided advantage, and it is not even having better access than a tourist to other places, ways of thinking and ways of being, no, I think the best thing about having dual citizenship is that it gives you more people to celebrate. And this was certainly the case when I read the nominations and winners in this years Gourmand International, which consider cookbooks and vote for the Best in the World 2021, from 80 countries and regions in food publishing. Covid, of course put a spar in announcement plans, but in November 2021 those from the categories of Authors, Publishers, Countries & Regions, Lifestyle and Subjects met to be awarded their Best in the World 2021. And I get to celebrate both UK and NZ winners.

Let’s start with the country I chose to be a citizen of, New Zealand, and see how they fared in the winner stakes. Let’s start with the category Authors, section Food Books Fighting Covid 19. I was so happy, and a bit bemused, to see that third place went to The Mighty Waikato Cookbook (Waikato Civil Defense). New Zealander Chelsea Winter’s Supergood, is celebrated in second place in the section Celebrity Chef – English, while the first place in the Blogger section went to New Zealand’s Shared Kitchen by Julie & Ilaria Biuso. New Zealand was also represented in the section Hotel Cookbooks with fourth place going to South, Matakauri Lodge Cookbook, by Jonathan Rogers, Justin Craig. New Zealand next makes a winning appearance in the Lifestyle category – Indigenous Foods section with a well deserved first place win for the book Hiakai, by Monique Fiso. Finally, Henri & Gerhard Egger with their Volcanic Kitchens also win first place for New Zealand in the category Subjects: Easy Recipes at Home. Congratulations to everyone in the vibrant New Zealand food industry and especially to the winners in all of the above sections in the world of food.

And now we move on to the country of my citizenship of birth, the UK.

The UK was well represented by winning third place in the Innovative section of the Author category with Cooking for Your Genes, by Debbi & Helen Nathan, while Sam Bilton took fourth place in the Author Blogger category with his collection, First catch your gingerbread. Still in the Author category, Captain Satsuma has landed, by JL Hopson and Russell Becker took third place in the self-published section and No kitchen cookery for Irish primary school, by Katherine Tate took first place in the Cooking Schools/Education, Author category.

In the Publishers category, Best of the Best Audio section, Nigella Lawson came third with her Cook, Eat, Repeat by Chatto & Windus, while in the Cookbook-Bookstores section, the UK/Sharjah – A Taste of Eid, by Emma Marsden, Foreword Saliha Mahmood Ahmed, from Brunch Books – London Book Fair – Sharjah Book Fair, came a respectable third. Staying with the Publishers category Scotland is placed first in the Illustrations section with the graphic novel cookbook Tomorrow’s Kitchen, by Shuangshuang Hao & Deborah May, from Kitchen Press, while Aegean Recipes, from the mountains to the sea, by Marianna Leviditaki & Charlotte Hoal from Kyle Books took fourth place in the Design section. The Corporate section saw M&S taking fourth place with Cook with M & S Cookbook, by Chris Barber, for Marks & Spencer. The App publisher Waste took second place in the App section with their OLIO app, and, finally in the Publishing category, University Press section, Cambridge University Press took fourth place with Rebecca Earle’s Feeding the People.

The category Countries and Regions section International saw a third place awarded to From Mountain to Sea, by Kate Probert, while the section Italian food saw UK take fourth place with Under the Olive Tree, by Anna Maggio; the section Mediterranean awarded second place to The Mediterranean Diet, by Victor Preedy and Ronald Ross Watson; Carpathia, by Irina Georgescuthe took fourth place in the Eastern Europe section; while in the Chinese section third place went to China, a cookbook, by Terry Tan and Japanese food made easy, by Aya Nishimura took third place in the Japanese section. The Jewish section saw third place go to The girl who came from Tel Aviv, by Limi Robinson and The Lebanese Cookbook, by Ghillie Basan took fourth place in the section Asian published outside Asia. The section called The Silk Road saw Natural products of Silk Road Plants, by Raymond Cooper, Jeffrey Dean Beakin awarded second place, and again, Tomorrow’s kitchen, ShuangShuang Hao, by Deborah May (Scotland/UK) was awarded second place in the section Migrants. Finally in the Countries and Regions category, section Women, the UK was awarded second place with Rising Hope, by Luminary Bakery.

When we move to the category of Lifestyle we see that the UK takes first place in the section Climate & Food Books with Food and climate change without the hot air, by Sarah. L. Bridle. Ollie Hunter takes third place in the section Sustainability – Books with 30 ways to join the Food Revolution while the Health and Nutrition section gave second place to Delicious Ella, Quick & Easy, by Ella Mills Woodward, with Food Writing awarding second place to Taste and the TV chef, by Gilly Smith. D. Murrell’s A Foodie Afloat took second place in Food Tourism Books, while Oats in the North, Wheat from the South, by Regula Isewijn was awarded fourth place in the Food Heritage section. Many Mouths, by Nadja Durbach was placed second in the important section Food Security, while Life Kitchen, by Ryan Riley and Professor Barry Smith were also placed second in the section Health and Nutrition Professional Books. The final award in the Lifestyle category was given to Ben Aitken’s book The Gran Tour, and this was awarded fourth place in the Seniors section.

The Subjects category was also kind to many UK entrants. Thus, in the section Pastries & Desserts, The National Trust of Puddings, by Regula Ysewijn took fourth place, while The Seafood Shack, by Kirsty Scobie, Fenelia Renwick was awarded fouth place in the Fish & Seafood section. A splendid first place was awarded to Raymond Blanc in the Fruits section for his book The Lost Orchard and in the Fermentation section a fourth place was awarded to Fermentation River Cottage Handbook, by Rachel de Themple.

In the final category Fund Raising and Non-Profit, first place was awarded to A Taste of Home, by Kyle Cathie in the Europe section.

So, if you have a foodie in the house and you are lost for what to buy as a present and you like to celebrate your local achievements, I do hope the above book winners from the UK and New Zealand give you some perhaps unthought of choices. If you want to celebrate participants from other countries then here is the full list of Gourmand International’s Food Culture, Best in the World 2021 – enjoy!