Silvija Davidson, former committee member, has been awarded the prestigious Guild of Fine Food Contribution to Food & Drink Award 2023.

Golden Fork Award for Guild Member


Silvija Davidson, former committee member, has been awarded the prestigious Guild of Fine Food Contribution to Food & Drink Award 2023.


[Pic Caption] Silvija, centre, receives the Golden Fork Award from GFF directors Tortie Farrand, left, and Christabel Cairns.


The trophy was presented at a ceremony celebrating some of the very best of British and International Food and Drink at the The Guild of Fine Food (GFF) Golden Fork Awards in London at the Battersea Arts Centre on 11 September


Golden Forks are presented to producers of the best-of-the-best products submitted for judging to the annual Great Taste Awards. They are chosen from the top three star *** products in different categories.


Silvija’s award has previously been only for Lifetime Achievement following “an illustrious career” but Guild director Tortie Farrand, said this year GFF wanted to acknowledge Silvija’s  on-going “immense and far-reaching  contribution to the world of fine food and drink,  that often happens quietly behind the scenes”.


In the commendation Tortie and fellow director Christabel Cairns praised Silvija’s “wonderful, eclectic palate combined with a refined and dedicated writing style”.


Her appetite and thirst for food & drink knowledge began at an early age, said Tortie, after her parents fled Latvia as refugees to settle in the north of England where her school environment was not entirely sympathetic as she learned English.


The family collected wild mushrooms – long before foraging was a thing – “and she often helped to prepare the fish and eels that her father caught on fishing trips to the Lake District.” At the dinner table they discussed the relative merits of the different potato varieties they enjoyed, and Silvija helped her grandfather make barrels of lactic fermented sauerkraut and preserve the foraged wild mushrooms.


From school, against the odds, Silvija gained a place at Cambridge University after which she worked at a publishing house in Oxford, had a role at The International Wine & Food Society, became a freelance writer for Scotland on Sunday, and a contributor to a series of Time-Life books. In 1995, she authored Loaf, Crust and Crumb, a book championing the merits of real bread and its growth and diversity – something which still rings true nearly 30 years later.


More recently Silvija, a finalist in the very first MasterChef competition, has worked for a wine merchant preparing wine-matched suppers and co-edited a publication that reviews the London food scene from alternative angles. 


 “She has also made contributions working with Slow Food UK, the Academy of Chocolate and Le Cordon Bleu in London. She is, of course, an integral part of our very own Great Taste awards. “


“Knowledgeable, kind and with a keen palate and an expert nose; she has long been declared a ‘supertaster’, “ said Christabel.


“This led her to surprise and astonish the venerable Shaun Hill, after she correctly identified asafoetida in one of his dishes - a spice normally used in Indian cooking.  He was certain she wouldn’t name it! “


“It is that dedication and encyclopaedic knowledge, coupled with a willingness to continue to learn and share her knowledge with others, that has led her to contribute so much to food and drink writing and to be a cornerstone of many accreditation schemes, helping makers improve and celebrate the very best.“