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Potatoes and pavlova win at food writers awards

Potatoes and pavlova win at food writers awards

It’s back to basics for the 2009 Culinary Quill Awards announced at the NZ Guild of Food Writers Conference in Napier tonight (Oct. 16).

Winning writing includes a brochure about how to do creative things with the humble spud while another meticulously records the history of our favourite fluffy dessert, the pavlova.

Also among the winners is an author who won the Lifestyle category at the Montana New Zealand Book awards.

The biannual awards were first presented in 1995 and are open to members of the Guild. Emerging writers also have a category they can enter.

The food writers Non-Recipe Book of the Year category has been won by Otago University professor Helen Leach for The Pavlova Story, described by the judges as “an outstanding example of culinary history”.

And yes, the meticulously-researched and entertaining book does settle the debate over who first produced the pavlova and the Aussies won’t be happy. It also includes 12 classic pavlova recipes.

The humble potato was recently the subject of a profile-raising campaign by Potatoes New Zealand. A brochure entitled If you can bake a potato, you can make a meal produced by food and education consultant Glenda Gourley from Tauranga) took out the Educational, Health and Nutrition category at the awards.

Another noted winner was Auckland-based freelance curator and writer Alex Johnston for Ladies a Plate in the Recipe Book of the Year category. Her retrospect on New Zealand baking also won the Lifestyle and Contemporary Culture category at the recent Montana Book Awards.

The full list of award winners is:
Book of the Year – Food: Helen Leach (Dunedin), The Pavlova Story
Other finalists: Jill Brewis (Auckland) for The Grower’s Cookbook; Lauraine Jacobs (Auckland), Matakana.

Recipe Book of the Year: Alexa Johnston, Auckland, Ladies a Plate
Other finalists: Allyson Gofton (Auckland); Annabel Langbein (Auckland)

Electronic Media Award: Food in a Minute
Other finalists:; Peta Unplugged

Gastronomy Award: Charmian Smith (Dunedin), Following a Fragrant Trail
Other finalists: Denise Irvine, (Hamilton); Ray McVinnie (Auckland).

Educational, health and Nutrition Award: Glenda Gourley (Tauranga, If you can bake a potato, you can make a meal
Other finalists: David Burton (Wellington); Sarah la Touche, (Waiheke).

Food Styling Award: Ginny Grant (Auckland), Raspberry Ripple Semifreddo Slider
Other finalist: Catherine Bell, Auckland

Tui Flower Recipe Award: Ray McVinnie (Auckland), Off the Hook
Other finalists: Annie Bastow, Auckland; Fiona Smith, Auckland; Ginny Grant Auckland.

Emerging Food Writer: Virgil Evetts (Auckland) for A Very Special Blossom which examines the free range debate.
Runner up: Lea Paykel (Auckland) for Coastal Caviar
Third finalist: Sally Ronaldson (Wellington, Juicy, Succulent Berries from Piopio

The New Zealand Guild of Food Writers is the professional body for food journalists and others involved in writing about, presenting, promoting, illustrating and teaching about the specialist area of food and beverages.

Altogether 72 entries from 39 writers were received for the 2009 awards.

Note: full results will be available on the guild website at from Monday October 19, 2009.


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