Established over four decades ago to celebrate the very best of contemporary food and drink writing, the books nominated for the André Simon Food and Drink Book Awards 2022 cover themes which range from foraged foods to an exploration of grief through cooking, the remarkable medicinal history of alcohol to the colonial roots of the global wine industry.
There are seven food and four drink books in this year’s shortlist. The food books reflect theburgeoning trend of memoir in food writing, intertwining human relationships and stories with food and recipes. As the shortlisted book Eat, Share, Love observes: food can be a universal language and sharing our intimate personal stories behind recipes has the ability to ‘build bridges.’ Unusually, five of this year’s food books also come from first-time authors. Each year the André Simon trustees are guided by independent assessors.
Fozia Ismail is this year’s food assessor. She is a cook, scholar and founder of Arawelo Eats, a platform for exploring politics, identity and colonialism through East African food. Matt Walls is this year’s drink assessor, he is an award-winning freelance wine writer, author and consultant who contributes to various UK and international publications.
“This year’s André Simon Food & Drink Book Awards shortlist is a testament to the remarkable talent and diversity in the world of food and drink writing, as well as some impressive first-time writers. From memoirs to in-depth historical explorations, these books show the power of food and drink to bring people together, heal and inspire. Food is not just sustenance for our bodies but also for our souls. It is a privilege to celebrate and recognise these exceptional works.” –
Nick Lander, Chair of the André Simon Awards.
Click on the links below to read our reviews of the shortlisted food books
Breadsong Kitty and Al Tait, Bloomsbury Publishing
Cooking: Simply and Well, for One or Many, Jeremy Lee, Fourth Estate
Eat Share Love Kalpna Woolf, Meze Publishing
Lune: Croissants All Day, All Night, Kate Reid, Hardie Grant
Motherland, Melissa Thompson, Bloomsbury Publishing
The Wilderness Cure, Mo Wilde, Simon & Schuster
The Year of Miracles, Ella Risbridger, Bloomsbury Publishing
Breadsong by Kitty and Al Tait tells the inspiring story of how baking changed the lives of the dad and daughter team behind The Orange Bakery in Oxfordshire, transforming teenager Kitty’s life after suffering from crippling depression, accompanied by their favourite recipes. Cooking: Simply and Well, for One Or Many by Jeremy Lee is a masterclass in simple everyday ingredients uncovering the renowned chef’s rediscovery of home cooking; brimming with stories, wit and indispensable advice. Eat Share Love by Kalpna Woolf is an inspirational collection of recipes from home cooks around the world accompanied by the personal stories behind them,revealing touching tales of love, family, friendship, happiness, loss, laughter and much more.
Lune: Croissants All Day, All Night by Kate Reid is the ultimate guide to perfectly and precisely baking the world’s best-loved pastry and Kate’s journey from Formula One engineer to owner of the Lune Croissanterie where precision and innovation remain essential. Motherland by Melissa Thompson is a celebration of Jamaican food and the island’s complex cultural history, taking us on a journey from its roots to the modern dishes now eaten around the world, with in-depth research woven into the recipes and personal stories.
The Wilderness Cure by Mo Wilde is a diary of a wild experiment; a timely and inspiring memoir of Mo’s radical pledge: to live only off free, foraged food for an entire year. She sees foraging as one of the last acts of defiance in the concrete world. The Year of Miracles by Ella Risbridger is a heart warming mix of memoir and food writing. Ella charts a year through the lens of her kitchen, weaving touching reflections on grief, love and hope together with must-try recipes.
This year’s food assessor Fozia Ismail explains: “It’s been a really difficult decision shortlisting these wonderful books. Many of the shortlisted works have a strong narrative quality that speaks to the emotionally challenging times we live in today, as well as providing inspiring food stories and recipes that give solace, learning, and joy. What an achievement for all the authors shortlisted and thank you for such wonderful work!”
The Shortlisted Drink Books
A Sense of Place Dave Broom Octopus
Drinking with the Valkyries Andrew Jefford Academie du Vin Library
Imperial Wine Jennifer Regan-Lefebvre University of California Press
The Perfect Tonic Camper English William Collins
This year’s shortlisted drinks books delve into whisky, wine, colonialism and the history of alcohol and medicine, offering new perspectives. In A Sense of Place, former André Simon winner Dave Broom, travels around his native Scotland visiting distilleries from Islay to Orkney telling the story of whisky’s history, considering what whisky is now, and where it is going, with stunning specially commissioned photography by Christina Kernohan.
In Drinking with the Valkyries author Andrew Jefford shares his fascinating observations from half a century of wine discovery. This collection of revised essays, opinions, and articles explores the beauty of wine difference, offering a philosophy of wine founded on personal discovery. Imperial Wine by Jennifer Regan-Lefebvre provides a deep dive into the colonial roots of the global wine industry. This is the first book to argue that today’s wine industry exists as a result of settler colonialism and that imperialism was central to viticulture in the British colonies. The Perfect Tonic by Camper English is an interconnected history of alcohol and medicine. The book reveals how and why the contents of our medicine and liquor cabinets were, until recently, one and the same.
This year’s Drinks assessor Matt Walls discusses the shortlist: “After much deliberation, our final drinks shortlist contains four contrasting styles of book, all of which are equally absorbing. Dave Broom’s A Sense of Place transports you to Scotland so vividly you can almost smell the whisky, as he looks at its links to people, place, culture and community.
In The Perfect Tonic, Camper English covers the fascinating and peculiar medicinal history of beer, wines, spirits and cocktails with irrepressible flair and wit. In her eye-opening, meticulously-researched Imperial Wine Jennifer Regan-Lefebvre examines how deeply the roots of the international wine trade are embedded in Empire and settler colonialism. And finally, in Drinking with the Valkyries, Andrew Jefford lets us share his wonder of wine through his peerlessly precise use of the English language.”
The winners will be announced at an in-person awards ceremony on Tuesday 14 March, an event that’s become an annual celebration of Britain’s best food and drink writing.
About the André Simon Food & Drink Book Awards
The André Simon Food & Drink Book Awards were founded in 1978 to honour the charismatic leader of the English wine trade André Louis Simon who wrote 104 books throughout his lifetime. They are the only awards in the UK to exclusively recognise the achievements of food and drink writers. Past winners include Elizabeth David, Michel Roux, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Nigel Slater, Rick Stein, Hugh Johnson and Oz Clarke.
There are two categories for entry: food and drinks. For the winner of each category there is an award of £2,000. In addition, there are awards of £1,500 in honour of John Avery and the Special Commendation Award of £1,500 – both of these are at the discretion of the judges.
The André Simon Food & Drink Book Award Trustees are Nicholas Lander (Chair), Sarah Jane Evans MW, David Gleave MW and Xanthe Clay. See further details on the awards, the judging criteria, judges and trustees via the website at www.andresimon.co.uk.