The Gourmand World Cookbook Awards Gala took place on February 22, 2013with books from 171 countries competing. It is the only sector of book publishing that benefits from such an Awards event with so many countries.

Among the accolade-receiving, there was kitchen demonstrations, food and drink tastings, conferences, book presentations and launches, authors signings, culinary art and photography, music and dancing. One new feature to this years event was the World Festival of Wine and Food Television, bringing together TV food producers, broadcasters and their stars. Among those who attended was legendary 3 star chef from the Waterside Inn, Michel Roux, who has attended the fair every year from 2010 to 2012. He explained why in his speech as President of Honor of the Fair in 2012: “This fair is absolutely unique. This fair is about respect. It gives a chance to everyone, whether you are big or small. Everyone gets attention here, and has an opportunity to get a close look at the culinary business. You can profit from the knowledge of professionals from all around the world in an absolutely unique way. Every young person who wants to be a professional in the gastronomy or culinary business has to be there”.

Last time, Alain Ducasse had scheduled a one hour visit. He stayed four hours… So did Pierre Gagnaire, Alain Dutournier or Claudia Roden, Lisa Ekus, and many others.

This year the UK camethird as the country with the most “Best in the World Awards”, behind France and China. Those to receive ‘Best of the World Awards’ were,

BOOK FOR PROFESSIONALS – BEST IN THE WORLD- UK – The Art of the Restaurateur, Nicholas Lander (Phaidon)

WOMAN CHEF COOKBOOK – BEST IN THE WORLD- UK – The British Larder, Madeline Bonvini-Hamel (Absolute Press)

BLOGGERS COOKBOOK – BEST IN THE WORLD- UK – Lemongrass and Ginger, Leemei Tan (Duncan Baird)

DESIGN – BEST IN THE WORLD- UK – Too Many Chiefs, Only One Indian, Sat Bains (Face)

ITALIAN CUISINE – BEST IN THE WORLD- UK – Polpo, Russell Norman (Bloomsbury)

MEDITERRANEAN – DUN GIFFORD AWARD – BEST IN THE WORLD- UK – Jerusalem, A Cookbook, Ottolenghi, Tamimi (Ebury)

CULINARY TRAVEL – BEST IN THE WORLD- UK – Ken and Ching, Exploring China, Ken Hom, Ching-He Huang (BBC)

Among others to receive Gourmand World Awards were Marlena Spieler who won ‘Jewish Cookbook-Second Best in the World-UK’ for her cookbook ‘Recipes from my Jewish Grandmother’ and Jean Cazals who won ‘Pastry and Sweets-Second Best in the World-UK’ for his ‘Tea Time’