WINNER: JUDGES CHOICE AWARD at Fortnum & Mason Food And Drink Awards


I won’t keep you all in the same suspense that I was in tonight – I’ve just got home and thought I’d better write something scrambled and incoherent about the Fortnum And Mason Food And Drink Awards…

“Tonight’s Judges Choice Award, made at their discretion in recognition of a piece of work, an individual or a campaign thought to have inspired people to enjoy, explore and experiment with food and drink.

“Picked by the judges as ‘one to watch’, the award goes to a single mother from Southend, whose delicious recipes, published online, are so nutritious and thrifty that they are being handed out by food banks as examples of how to manage on next to nothing.”

It was at the word ‘Southend’ that the penny dropped, and I’m very glad Xanthe Clay caught me in a hug as I was shaking like a little, extremely surprised, leaf. I made it to the stage, took one look at Claudia Winkleman and yelped ‘Oh my god it’s you!’ (I’m so cool.)


I continued my coolness with an impromptu rambling speech that said something along the lines of ‘it was all very nice to be invited but I thought you all just felt a bit sorry for me eating chickpeas and chopped tomatoes, and wanted to give me some blinis and a nice night out. And, Er, I’m here, with a shiny thing in my hand, and – Thankyou.’


And indeed, Thankyou. Because if I sat typing quietly away about a hundred things I could do with chopped tomatoes and lemon curd, and nobody read it, I’d be shouting into a void. Thankyou every single one of you, for your time, your interest, your responses, your comments, for you.


Thankyou Tom and Xanthe and Fiona and Lisa, for everything, and Ewan and Lindsay and Flo at Fortnums, for being lovely.

I have a shiny thing. And I haven’t stopped grinning all night.


Jack Monroe. Twitter: @MsJackMonroe

Categories: Blog


  1. So well deserved …. and you’re putting Southend on the map as the culinary captial of the UK! Rise up Southend … show us more …..

  2. WOW

    I am in awe of you. I am glad of your efforts. You are a wonderful role model, for many.

  3. Well done and congratulations to you for all your hard work You desrve every minute of tonight and I hope ‘small boy’ was proud of his Mum
    love from the ‘other’ Jack in Kent xx

  4. So exciting, you are inspiring to everyone!! Even me, who cannot even boil an egg properly!

  5. My word, and I thought I had a “Creature Comforts” grin! πŸ˜€ Well done. Very happy for you. Look forward to buying the published book. (I’m expecting many lovely veggie recipies.) x

  6. Dear Jack

    I have been reading your blog for several months and have wanted to write to you to tell you what an inspiration you are, and Thank You, for sharing.

    I’ve been gleaning recipe ideas to help see us through the never-ending difficulties, strain and poverty having been unemployed since July. You have given me, like many others, help, hope and inspiration.

    So, to hear this marvellous news tonight, I feel now is the time to pipe up! I am absolutely thrilled to hear you have been given this most wonderful triumphant award! Very many congratulations Jack. This accolade is pure recognition indeed of your amazing zeal, creativity and drive through adversity, giving hope where there had been unrelenting darkness.

    Thank you. You’re courage is inspiring. Keep up the great work. Congratulations once again, you deserve it πŸ™‚

    Best wishes
    Aboard NB Sapphire, GUC, nr Bedfordshire

  7. Couldn’t happen to a nicer person. Chickpeas make me gag, but after reading your posts, I might try them! Across the pond. I still don’t know what chopped tomatoes are. Canned tomatoes? Stewed tomatoes? Ann

  8. Massive congratulations! I am soooo, so pleased for you. And we love your carrot and coriander soup. πŸ˜‰

  9. Oh well done Jack! How absolutely lovely that people validate you as a flag bearer for all of us that have more month than money! You deserve it!
    Warm Regards,

    Kim Andersen
    421 2913

  10. … and I couldn’t stop grinning after reading this! I’m so glad I stumbled on to your blog a couple of weeks ago. These little successes really do put a smile on my face. Well done!

  11. Not long now and you will be able to look back at this and think yuck carrot and coriander soup, that’s for the peasants! You will get to the place that you so defiantly argue against. But you know that already don’t you.

  12. Way-hay, things are looking up. Hope you had a lovely evening, your son looked grogeous and so proud on the photo you posted earlier. Congratulations & well done!!!!!! -Tracy

  13. I only recently stumbled across your blog. Am so glad I did. As well as inspiring it is practical and useful. Well done on your fantastic award.

  14. Congratulations on winning a well deserved award! I have been following your blog ever since I read Xanthe Clay’s article in The Telegraph. Your recipes are inspiring others who are in straightened circumstances which is admirable. Great to hear the afood Banks are distributing them too. I have also tried some of your recipes and they are very easy to make and extremely tasty. Lovely to see your little boy, looking so proud and sparkly-eyed!

  15. Just heard you on Radio 5 – you are so inspiring. Keep going who knows what amazing thing will happen for you next.

  16. PLEDGE – Well done and well deserved! Now ask for an advance from Penguin so you are not forced to move and sell your furniture! I shall be buying your book. Kind Regards Liz
    Sent from my BlackBerry smartphone from Virgin Media

  17. Oh WOW!!

    Well Done, if ever an award was earnt this one was. I’m absolutely thrilled for you, and how wonderful that SB was there to see you pick it up, he’ll be so proud of his Mum, that sort of memory stays with a child all through life.

  18. i just shed a few tears of joy reading your post … and when you realised they were talking about you! your story has touched me over here in ireland. a yank saying – making lemonade when life gives you lemons, applies to your actions πŸ™‚ i love benjamin zander’s ‘the art of possibility’ and love seeing it happen for people …

  19. Well done Jack that’s absolutely amazing, I’ve been quietly following your blog for a while now & it doesn’t surprise me at all that this has happened to you. I brought my daughter up in a council flat on my own in the late 90s (had her when I was 20) & you remind me a lot of me when I was younger. But the truth is its much harder for single parents these days. I was able to go to uni when my daughter was younger thanks to a tiny dependents grant of about Β£3k: there’s no way Id be able to do that now. Keep fighting & writing & giving inspiration to others who have no money as your thoughts are really relevant and important right now, Sam xx

  20. Well done Jack on your award. Hope you had a brilliant evening (and a lovely meal).

  21. Wonderful you deserve this award you are an inspiration to many people I love your recipes and blogs, congratulations .

  22. Hi Jack, well done and so well deserved, life is on the up for you and small boy now, you are an excellent voice for the young and the powers that be are taking note!! Well done Julie!

  23. I stupidly just cried reading this, hormones…. But, wonderful, so pleased for you. Congratulations. Much deserved, you’re an inspiration!

  24. Ohhhhhh – so pleased for you! Lovely to see you looking so happy – what a wonderful evening you will remember all your life.I am off to my local foodbank later this week to check that they know about you and your recipes. You are certainly helping to save my life at the moment! xx

  25. Wow, along with the rest of the world, Congratulations! Well done, power to you.

  26. From all the way over here in New Zealand – woot!!
    Small Boy has the most gorgeous smile, and you would have to be one of the people I have come to admire most. My 13 yr old daughter was devastated on your behalf about having to move again. She thinks you a great role model – as do i. Kia kaha (stay strong).

  27. Jack,
    am newish reader, so missed the post (assume you posted) where you are having to move? is it okay to ask what happened? is your current landord making you move? is it funds? not my business, i realize..but have in very short order come to worry over you….

    • I’ve chosen to move, due to cuts to tax credits – means I can’t afford my current place (2 bed flat) plus bills. I envisage it will be a temporary measure until I’m back on my feet again, and the advance from Penguin can’t come quickly enough! But it’s not a decision I took lightly, I think it’s for the best. If a little terrifying.

  28. This great news has made my day, Jack! Many congratulations, so well deserved. SB (lovely photo of him) will remember, with pride, his mum going on stage to collect that shiny thing.
    So you didn’t have a speech prepared in advance? Lol!

  29. ah…will hope for the best for you. with a SB it is always tough to move, for you and him. Hoping you are moving into a safe situation…

    concerns me a bit when you say “if a little terrifying”..hoping there is physical security?

  30. So so pleased to hear your award news ‘a girl called Jack’… have tins of chick peas and kidney beans in my store cupboard thanks to you . Congratulations.

  31. Congratulations Jack – I cannot imagine a more deserving winner.

    Best wishes from Down Under.

  32. I am addicted to your blog and I couldn’t think of a more deserving person for this award. Well done Jack!

    P.S. I tried your kidney bean and carrot burger recipe on my 10-month old son this week (I made them as little ‘bites’ instead of a burder) and he loved it.

  33. Congratulations!
    This New Yorker couldn’t be more proud of your accomplishments!
    I’m living in a small town on Romney Marsh, unable to work while here (for now).
    Every cent, or should I say “p” counts.
    I’m soaking some chickpeas now and contemplating writing in my own blog that I started and abandoned many years ago!
    You’ve inspired me!
    BTW, Moroccan Bean Stew recipe coming up soon…

  34. Sob! Sob! Wring out hankie! So pleased for you, Jack. Enjoy polishing your shiny thing!!! x

  35. So very well deserved and so glad that the very worst of
    your bad times are over and wish you every success with
    your book and only good things from now on for
    you and Small Boy

  36. Heartiest congratulations, so very happy for you. You are a star!!! I love the little man. He must be so proud of him Mum.

    Deirdre x. Isle of Man

  37. Well done Jack, I’m so pleased for you. You so deserve it. When I read you’d been invited, I looked at the F&M awards and wondered why weren’t up for an award (wasn’t sure what awards they gave out). Anyway, I’m really pleased they’ve seen your fabulous talent and determination and have recognised it. I’ll be buying your book too.

  38. Congratulations Jack! Sooo pleased you won. It makes a change to see someone who deserves to win, actually win!! Enjoy yourself (and your son). You make it so much easier for all those of us who are struggling along as you make us remember we’re not alone in this πŸ™‚ Thank you x

  39. Well done Jack, as others have said on here, you truly are an inspiration. I’ll be buying your book next year, I can’t wait to add it to the ever growing pile of frugal cookbooks – just to help out with the Rossendale Foodbank (got a better price for stuff on ebay than I thought I would, so bought the books!). Will let you know how our ‘Food Revolution Day’ goes on Friday, that is another exciting development with the Foodbank and a local housing association.

    Congratulations again, it’s well deserved – and SB has such a yummy mummy, in more ways than one!

  40. Congratulations. You are an inspiration and deserve to be recognised for what you have achieved for yourself and your beautiful son.

  41. I love it when good things happen to good people. Congratulations, you totally deserve the shiny!

  42. Jack this is brill! So pleased for you! You are really an inspiration and look forward to ready your blogs xx

  43. Congratulations amazing lady, looking forward to buying your book when it is published. I tried four of your recipies this week, all were scrummy – thank you πŸ™‚

  44. As well as sending you a massive congratulations I just wanted to also say your SB is absolutely stunning!! Thank you for everything you do, you help and inspire so many.


  45. Huge congratulations to you lady. I have been where you are and I know how hard it is. I have complete admiration for you. I didn’t have the courage (or the savvy!?!) to go public and my cooking skills were not anywhere near the league of yours. A packet of shop’s own brand 8p noodles filled my little girl’s tummy on many occassions. My life is very good now and I can assure you, yours will be too. You have the right ideas and you have the determination. I wish you all the best (and will continue to read your blog quietly in the background). x

  46. Bloody brilliant! I came over all teary reading that. So well deserved, may this be the start of only wonderful things for you and the handsome little chap.

  47. Congratutulations, the award is well deserved and will open doors for you-my daughter won a Cosmo award last year for her blog and so many good things have come her way since. I feel so proud of you even though I’ve only been following you for a few months. Well done!

  48. Huge congratulations on your award but more so just for having started your blog,stuck to it (and your metaphorical guns) and got the recognition you deserve.

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