I’m Kay Wagstaff, sole owner of the Quirky Cook, a Derbyshire-based small food business, operating from my home kitchen. I have been creating and perfecting foods professionally since 2008, producing handmade chutneys, award-winning Traditional Piccalilli and innovative Black Garlic relishes.
I was initially approached by Saffron Millington to see if I would like to take a stall at the Marketing Derby Food & Drink Awards 2016. By the time she had explained what this would mean to me as a local food producer, I was sold on the idea without hesitation.
This was the first time I had attended this event and I would do it again. It was an extremely well-organised, well-run, evening and I was impressed by the level of support and attendance it received.
It proved to be a great networking opportunity, enabling me to promote myself, my company and to showcase my products to guests and other local producers.
I used the event as a promotional opportunity, offering samples of products and talking about them, but I also sold them – both before and after the awards had taken place. I even had several people contact me by phone or email to make further enquiries or purchases.
I have already indicated to the organisers that I believe these awards should be extended to include local food producers. Whilst I have achieved recognition through the Guild of Fine Food Great Taste Awards 2016, I would be equally proud to display a sticker on my products saying “The Best of Derbyshire” or something similar. I am proud of my products but equally proud of my heritage. I am an ardent supporter of local produce and artisan food producers and feel there is an opportunity within the Marketing Derby Food & Drink Awards for a Local Food Producer category.