Kent catering entrepreneur celebrates BIH Spotlight Awards win

News Posted 07/11/22
Maria Bradford, founder of Shwen Shwen in Kent, was named the winner of the African Food of the Year category at the inaugural BIH Spotlight Awards, which took place in London on 24 October.

The BIH Spotlight Awards celebrate businesses and individuals of exceptional talent and achievement from Black, Asian, and ethnic minority backgrounds working within the UK hospitality industry today.

Maria’s catering business, Shwen Shwen, based in Rainham, creates African food for dinner parties, weddings and corporate events.

Maria (pictured) said: “Winning the award in this category is really important to me. As a proud Sierra Leonean and proud African, I’m overjoyed to have received this recognition. I want to ensure our food has its place on the map.”

The BIH Spotlight Awards judging panel was co-chaired by industry luminaries, including TV presenter and celebrity chef Andi Oliver; Des Gunewardena, co-founder of D&D London; food and diversity consultant Mallika Basu; Masterchef winner and restaurateur Shelina Permalloo; author and chef Mike Reid; global rum ambassador Ian Burrell; wine and sake educator Shane Jones; Adele C Oxberry, CEO and founder of Umbrella Training; Monica Berg, co-owner of Tayēr + Elementary; and chef consultant Jay Morjaria.

The BIH Spotlight Awards is the brainchild of Lorraine Copes, a hospitality industry veteran and founder of Be Inclusive Hospitality, who is on a mission to advance racial equity in the hospitality industry.

Lorraine said: “I am absolutely overwhelmed by the sheer exhilaration and joy that I experienced during our first BIH Spotlight Awards Ceremony.

“When launching these awards, my mission was to shine a much-needed spotlight on our community and to celebrate the individual brilliance, dedication and passion that exists in our industry.

“I want to thank the public for their nominations and our esteemed panel for their support and selection of our winners. My heartfelt congratulations go to our 13 winners on their resounding and continued success.”

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