St Albans’ Pudding Stop shortlisted for award

MOBILE eaterie The Pudding Stop was listed as a finalist in the BBC’s 2012 Food and Farming Awards last Sunday.

The street-food vendor beat six other nominees to get down to the final three in the Best Streetfood/Takeaway category.

Owner of The Pudding Stop, Johnny Shepherd, said that he found out he was in the competition through a customer who had in fact nominated him.

He then got a call from the food programme producers telling him he had been shortlisted.

The judges include chefs Angela Hartnett and Valentine Warner, and drinks writers Pete Brown and Victoria Moore.

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver famously dubbed the awards the “Oscars of the food world”, as they celebrate the best of Britain’s food and drinks producers, cooks, markets and food shops.

Johnny said: “I was humbled that one of my customers thought highly enough of my business that she would take the time to nominate me for a well-respected national food award.”

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The popular pudding provider currently operates on two levels.

Primarily it serves as a portable street-food vendor offering “quality and handmade puddings every day for customers to take home” and is usually based outside St Albans City train station or at the St Albans and Harpenden farmers’ markets.

But Johnny explained that his business also supplied food to restaurants and those in need of desserts, with a client list boasting Coco Di Mama, Lussmanns, The Blueberry Caf� in Harpenden and The Hub in Redbourn.

When asked why independent St Albans businesses were prospering Johnny said: “St Albans is a city saturated with restaurant chains.

“Therefore, the local independents offering proper quality and reasonably priced food will always be popular. Plus, unlike chains, with independents customers regularly see the people behind these small businesses and they become friends and feel valued as a customer.

“Me and Charlie from Soko Coffee know the names of all our regulars.”

Another of the city’s favourite independent food haunts, the aforementioned Lussmans, is also celebrating after winning two awards recently.

The restaurant group, which has eateries in St Albans and Hertford, won the Herts Green Award 2012 for the Best Hotel or Hospitality Environmental Programme.

It also won a 2012 Janey Lee Grace Platinum Award for sustainability.

Founder Andrei Lussmann said: “Sustainability starts locally and so it’s great to be recognised for our work in this area.”

The winner of the 2012 BBC Food and Farming Awards will be announced on Wednesday, November 28, at a ceremony at the NEC in Birmingham.