There is just one month to go before our fabulous Suffolk Food and Drink Awards winners are announced.

This week, we annouced our finalists and the pre-event excitement is really hotting up.To get you in the mood for the big event on Monday, April 29, we caught up with our headline sponsor, Thomas Ridley and their sales director Jon Matthews who talks to us about the judging process and what to expect on the night.    

East Anglian Daily Times: Book your tickets now for the big nightBook your tickets now for the big night (Image: Newsquest)

What was it like being a judge for the Chef of the Year category?
Incredibly hard! All of the chefs shortlisted were so different and each so brilliant in what they brought to the table. But it was great to team up with Chef-Patron Lee Bye from the Tuddenham Mill again on the judging; his perspective really enhanced the whole process and we are really pleased with the winner we picked! 

Why did Thomas Ridley decide to support the awards this year? 
Suffolk has so much talent to celebrate, from passionate producers, a fine mix of hospitality outlets to hugely talented chefs and foodie entrepreneurs. And it’s been a huge shame that these awards haven’t been able to run since 2019. So, when we heard the awards were coming back, we jumped at the chance to get involved and help shout about that talent. As Thomas Ridley works closely with its customers, old and new, supplying cafes, pubs, hotels, schools, restaurants and much more, we felt this was the perfect opportunity to give back and help support the Suffolk food and drink industry.   

What’s your favourite thing about Suffolk’s foodie scene? 
The diverse array of chefs using local produce to build their menus. It’s fantastic to have so much passion and personality on our doorstep creating exciting dining experiences, which are really putting Suffolk on the map as a foodie destination. We just need to keep shouting about how great our county is - that’s why we’re so passionate about supporting these awards as the headline sponsor.  

Which category are you most excited about on the night? 
I’m personally very excited about the Chef of the Year Award (as one of the judges!) and as sponsor, the Outstanding Achievement Award. The criteria for Outstanding Achievement was very broad and there’s no shortlist, so it will be a complete surprise on the night! 

A bit about the awards

* The 2024 Suffolk Food and Drink Awards are brought to you by Suffolk magazine, in association with the East Anglian Daily Times.

* The 11 categories include Chef of the Year, Food and Drink Retailer, Pub or Bar of the Year, the Field to Fork award and Cafe/Coffee Shop of the Year.

* The Suffolk Food and Drink Awards 2024 take place at Snape Maltings on Monday  April 29.

*To book your tickets, visit