André Simon Food and Drink Book Awards shortlists released

Feb 5, 2021

The Trustees of the André Simon Food and Drink book awards are ‘delighted to announce the 2020 shortlist in the 50th anniversary year of André Simon’s death.’

This year’s panel was guided by independent assessors, food editor of The Sunday Times, Lisa Markwell, for the food books and wine expert and restaurateur, John Hoskins MW, for the drink books. The other judges are Nicholas Lander (Chair), Sarah Jane Evans MW, David Gleave MW and Xanthe Clay.

Celebrating the best of food and drink writing, the shortlist comprises 11 nominees: seven food books and four drink books selected from a longlist of 22 titles and over 170 initial entries. This is the first year in the awards’ history that judges have selected a longlist.

Nick Lander, chair of the André Simon Memorial Fund, said: “This year’s food nominees takes us on a culinary journey around the world from the comfort of our own kitchens: from Afghanistan (Parwana) to Central Asia (Red Sands). Others take a scientific look at food including Mark Kurlansky’s Salmon, which explores how the fish is a marker for the health of our planet and Harold McGee’s Nose Dive, an extraordinary examination of our sense of smell.”

The wine-centred drinks books shortlist also include regional explorations from the classic wines of Bordeaux (Inside Bordeaux) to the ancient viticulture of Georgia (The Wines of Georgia) and the drinks that shaped Australia (Intoxicating) as well as ‘a bold, modern wine guide for the new generation (Wine from Another Galaxy: Noble Rot).’

The André Simon Food and Drink Book Awards 2020 will be announced on 3 March in a virtual awards’ ceremony.

Shortlisted food books 2020

Jikoni by Ravinder Bhogal (Bloomsbury)
Summer Kitchens by Olia Hercules (Bloomsbury)
Falastin: A Cookbook by Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley (Ebury)
Nose Dive by Harold McGee (John Murray)
Parwana by Durkhanai Ayubi (Murdoch Books)
Salmon by Mark Kurlansky (Oneworld)
Red Sands by Caroline Eden (Quadrille)

Shortlisted drinks books 2020

Inside Bordeaux: the châteaux, their wines and the terroir by Jane Anson (Berry Bros. & Rudd Press)
The Wines of Georgia by Lisa Granik (Infinite Ideas)
Wine from Another Galaxy: Noble Rot by Dan Keeling and Mark Andrew (Quadrille)
Intoxicating: Ten Drinks that Shaped Australia by Max Allen (Thames & Hudson Australia)

The Noble Rot Book: Wine from Another Galaxy by Dan Keeling and Mark Andrew


“Noble Rot manages to unravel the mysteries of wine with insight and humour. A wonderful – and essential – read for anyone interested in the world of wine, or even for those, like me, who just drink it.” Nigella Lawson

“The Noble Rot guys have the ability to describe wines as if theyre either future friends, or rock-stars coming to blow your mind.” Caitlin Moran

“Noble Rot has brought originality, humour and now space travel to the very serious business of drinking wine. About time too.” Brian Eno

“Dan and Mark do that thing that only crazy knowledgeable enthusiasts can do, they make you a crazy enthusiast too. If they said, ‘We’ve found a wine like no other, a wine that actually lights up the sky, but you can only drink it in the desert at midnight, are you coming? Id be off, and I’d be confident of meteor showers. They provoke curiosity – ‘how does anyone make this extraordinary drink just with grapes?’ – excitement, joy, and a longing for knowledge. Now, in this book, they’re sharing the knowledge.” Diana Henry

“To really know and love a wine one should know the grower and the vineyard. This isn’t always or even often possible, which is why the Rotters introduce these wines at source. You learn that making wine, as cooking should be, is an act of love. You will come to love this book too.” Rowley Leigh

Choosing wine in a restaurant or shop can seem an unfathomable business. But, according to Dan Keeling and Mark Andrew, the duo behind London’s Noble Rot, it needn’t be that way.

In Wine from Another Galaxy they’ll help you to understand how it is made, where to buy it, what to look for when you drink it, and how to talk about it. And once you’ve mastered the basics, they’ll take you on a journey through the best of European wine culture, meeting the people and places behind their favourite bottles. Indeed, Dan and Mark have spent years visiting growers that you probably haven’t heard of, from the original thinkers of the natural wine movement to the iconic estates of Burgundy and Bordeaux. This is the alternative, accessible, no-holds-barred guide to wine, where the usual clichés and rules don’t apply.