'Independent' writer takes top prize in foodie Oscars

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The Independent Online
Simon Hopkinson (right), who writes on food for The Independent Magazine, has been awarded the title of Food Writer of the Year in the prestigious Glenfiddich Awards.

He was presented with his award before more than 500 guests at The Dorchester hotel in London on Tuesday night. Although Hopkinson is a chef who has come comparatively recently to food writing, he has already won a Glenfiddich book of the year award for Roast Chicken and Other Stories, along with his co-author, Lindsey Bareham, in 1995.

This year's book of the year was presented to Gordon Ramsay, a Michelin- starred chef, for his debut book, Passion for Flavour. BBC Education was awarded the Glenfiddich Trophy, for its Techno: Food, a series of programmes catering for the food technology module in the National Curriculum. The awards, the industry's premier accolades, recognise excellence in writing, publishing and broadcasting on food and drink matters.

Hopkinson - the founder and co-owner of the popular Bibendum restaurant in London, loved by foodies and celebrities alike - grew up in Bury, Lancashire, and was encouraged to enter the restaurant industry by his parents, both keen chefs. His first venture was a small restaurant in Fishguard, Wales, which he eventually left to move on to London to work in such fashionable establishments as Hilaire.

Renowned for his inventive style, Hopkinson is often described as one of the founding fathers of modern British cooking. He has been with The Independent Magazine for two years and is currently writing The Prawn Cocktail Years, a book which should reinvent and rehabilitate food cliches such as Black Forest gateau and coq au vin.

Each winner received a commemorative engraved quaich (a Scottish drinking cup), a cheque for pounds 800 and a case of single malt scotch whisky. Readers wishing to sample some of Simon's fare should note: although he will not be writing in this Saturday's Independent, his column will return the following weekend.