This year, to celebrate 30 years of Great Taste supporting artisan food and drink producers who supply independent retailers, the Guild of Fine Food launched the Great Taste Bursary.
50 micro producers were given the chance to enter Great Taste free of charge. These products went through the Great Taste process along with all other entries and, of those who received a bursary place, an extraordinary twenty-one were awarded a Great Taste award.
Here, we introduce you to a few of the winners:
Steve is a retired primary school headteacher making Marinated King Oyster Mushroom Antipasti in Cumbria. Steve grows mushrooms, but initially couldn’t find enough customers, and didn’t want to waste the fresh mushrooms so found a way to preserve them. He is a 2-star winner this year.
It’s early days for Leroy’s Jamaican Red Pepper Jelly, which is inspired by his dad’s stories of spreading this jelly on hard dough bread in Jamaica as a boy. He started making it after the recent loss of his dad. A celebration of his Welsh mother and Jamaican father, he hopes he is making his dad proud and since winning his 1-star from Great Taste he’s had enquiries from garden centres, Cardiff Airport and a North Wales wholesaler. He says “the future looks so bright, I would never have dreamed of this!”.
Just over a year ago, Anna turned her kitchen in Margate into a sourdough microBAKERY and her Dark Chocolate Sourdough wowed judges enough to be awarded a star. She points out that running a business on your own means you hardly stop and celebrate your wins. Her star, and specifically the feedback from judges, has given her an incredible boost of confidence, validated what she’s doing and given her the encouragement to keep going.
Karobi makes ghee in small batches. She describes being “stunned” to have won a 3-star, which she says has “validated” her “niche and less well known” product.
Aaron has been baking brownies since high school. He applied to Great British Bake Off and told his partner he’d start baking professionally even if he didn’t get through. In 2022, he opened properly with a premises in Galashiels and since the Great Taste results were announced in August, he’s been getting new customers coming to his shop specifically asking for his 1-star Great Taste brownie. Aaron also plants a tree for every sale. So far he’s planted nearly 9,000.
There are 21 bursary stories like this, and thousands across Great Taste. Discover thousands of award-winning products, the producers who make them and the independent shops to buy them in the Guild of Fine Food Directory.
The Great Taste Bursary opens for 2024 applications in December 2023 and will close for applications on Sunday 14th January. For more information, please click here.