Winners in the 2022 Bite Sussex Rising Star Awards

The finals of the BITE Sussex Rising Stars Awards were hosted on Monday this week (28 November) at Soho House’s Brighton Beach House in Sussex. Amongst those awarded were two individuals who work closely with English wine in the county, jointly scooping the Wine Rising Star trophy.

The Rising Star Awards are an annual celebration of the contribution young people make to the food, drink and hospitality industry of the county. To be eligible for the final, nominees had to be aged 26 or under at the end of November 2022.

Nominations were supplied by public, colleagues and customers, with the top two nominees in each category going through to final interviews with a panel of respected industry experts. Awards categories recognise both front-of-house and behind-the-scenes talent.

“I can hand-on-heart say that the Rising Stars interview process never gets any easier”, said Sir Peter Field, chair of the judges.

“Nominees have all had very different journeys to get to where they are today, so it’s a tough job for our judges to delve deep into career progression, commitment and aspirations”.

The two finalists for the Wine Rising Star Award come from different areas of the industry, one from the hospitality sector and the other from production and retail. Each impressed the judges so much that they were jointly presented the Rising Star Award:

Jack Evans is sommelier at The Pig in the South Downs which, along with the other hotels in The Pig Group actively promote locally-produced food and drinks.

Jonny Driscoll works part of the week at Ridgeview as cellar hand and the rest of the week for Brighton independent wine merchant Butlers Wine Cellar.

Commented Andrew Kay, one of the judges: “the truth is, that when it comes to making a final decision, we could not find one single point of difference in their approach, attitude and commitment to their chose field. What really matters of course is seeing that rare combination of passion and potential, a willingness to invest in the future of wine and their personal futures too.

Co-judge Julia Trustram Eve of WineGB added: “We were so impressed with both candidates saw in each their passion, drive and commitment. Equally encouraging is how both are engaging their passion with other younger consumers – the future is looking very bright with two such stars.”

You can find the full Bite Sussex Rising Star 2022 winners’ list here