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Sudbury’s Rafi’s Spicebox named best independent retailer at the 2017 Observer Food Monthly Awards

PUBLISHED: 10:50 13 October 2017 | UPDATED: 10:50 13 October 2017

Jay Rayner and Nigella Lawson present the Best Independent Retailer award to owners of Rafi's Spicebox, Lee and Kevin Fernandez.

Jay Rayner and Nigella Lawson present the Best Independent Retailer award to owners of Rafi's Spicebox, Lee and Kevin Fernandez.

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A curry-making business which started life in Suffolk has picked up a prestigious national food award.

Owners of Rafi's Spicebox, Lee and Kevin Fernandez who won the Best Independent Retailer award at the 
 Observer Food Monthly Awards 2017, Owners of Rafi's Spicebox, Lee and Kevin Fernandez who won the Best Independent Retailer award at the Observer Food Monthly Awards 2017,

Rafi’s Spicebox, whose first shop still operates in Sudbury, was named best independent retailer at the 2017 Observer Food Monthly Awards last night.

The business sells handmade curry mixes and since opening its first shop on Sudbury’s North Street in 1989 has gone on to launch five other stores across the country, in locations such as York, Leeds and Harrogate, as well as a successful online operation.

The company is named after its founder Rafi Fernandez, who died in 2013 leaving her sons Lee and Kevin as co-owners.

Lee Fernandez said: “We’re absolutely honoured to have won what, in our eyes, is the country’s highest accolade in the food industry. We wouldn’t be in this position now without our fantastic customers, who were kind enough to vote for us.”

Brother Kevin added: “We need to send massive thanks to our brilliant team and family, we employ an amazing group with incredible passion and knowledge.

“Finally, we owe great thanks to our Mum, Rafi who like many Indian mothers is probably looking down on us now with a proud yet slightly critical grin. We owe all this to her unrivalled talent and inspiration.”

The awards, which are now in their 14th year, are voted for by both readers and a judging panel, and champion the best producers, restaurants, and retailers in the UK. Judges included Observer restaurant critic Jay Rayner and celebrity chef Nigella Lawson who also co-hosted the event at London’s Freemason Hall.

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