Chef and campaigner Jamie Oliver and first-time author Rachel Roddy were among the winners at the André Simon Food & Drink Book Awards.
Oliver’s Everyday Super Food (Michael Joseph) was awarded the John Avery Award which recognises both Oliver's "influential" new book and his "exceptional contribution to the food industry spanning nearly two decades." The book looks at the "gradual and significant changes we can make to our diet to improve health and wellbeing."
Meanwhile Roddy scooped the prize for food writing for her debut publication, Five Quarters: Recipes and Notes from a Kitchen in Rome (Saltyard Books). The book was commended by judges for its "vibrant evocation of the tastes and smells of Rome, refreshing simplicity and unstyled production" and charts a year in Roddy’s kitchen in a suburb of the Italian capital.
Pat Llewellyn, this year’s assessor for the food books, said: “Interesting new voices are emerging in food publishing, with books that show flair, passion and refreshingly authentic approaches to the world of food. This year's winner, Five Quarters by Rachel Roddy, was a beautifully designed and photographed book, and a genuinely hypnotic read that demonstrated a true love affair with Rome. Recipes that at first glance seemed well worn and familiar became fresh and interesting."
She added: "I am very happy that Jamie Oliver’s latest book Everyday Super Food has won the highly coveted John Avery Award. It has been great to watch him grow into one of the most influential food writers of our time”.
Meanwhile, investigative journalist Suzanne Mustacich won this year’s prize in the drink category for Thirsty Dragon (Henry Holt), which explores "China’s lust for Bordeaux and its threat to the world’s best wines." The judges described the publication as "an exhaustively researched tale of business skulduggery and fierce cultural classes with a dramatic narrative, eloquent style and fascinating cultural analysis."
Mimi Avery, this year’s assessor for the drink books, said: “This was such an exciting process to be part of and I really enjoyed reading the wide variety of book entries. Such was the calibre that whittling them down was daunting at times. Thirsty Dragon was a truly fascinating and dramatic read. This gripping account reveals for the first time what I believe will be viewed in future as a turning point in wine history”.
First Bite (Fourth Estate) by food scholar Bee Wilson was also recognised with a special commendation in acknowledgment of its "brilliant study of how we form our food preferences and how we may be able to change them."
This year’s shortlisted authors – selected from over 150 entries – also included Anna Jones's A Modern Way to Cook (Fourth Estate), Charlotte Pike's Fermented (Kyle Books), Olia Hercules's Mamushka (Mitchell Beazley), Jordan Bourke & Rejina Pyo's Our Korean Kitchen (W&N), Richard Mayson's Madeira (Infinite Idea Ltd), Marion Nestle's Soda Politics (Oxford University Press) and Oz Clarke's The History of Wine in 100 Bottles (Pavillion).
The winners were announced at a ceremony at the Goring Hotel in London, with each shortlisted author receiving £200 while the winner in each category was awarded £2,000. The recipients of the award in honour of John Avery received £1500, while the winner of the Special Commendation was awarded £1,500.