Read the 2022 Young Food Writer of the Year’s winning poem

The Guild of Food Writer’s annual Young Food Writer of the Year competition aims to encourage the next generation of hungry wordsmiths, welcoming entries from children aged 10-18. Keep scrolling to learn more and read the winning entry by an exciting new talent…

Read the 2022 Young Food Writer of the Year’s winning poem

The theme of 2022’s Young Food Writer of the Year competition, sponsored by Sacla’, was ‘Food Fit for a Queen’ – a nod to the late Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee in February of that year. Entrants were asked to pen a piece of prose or poetry that could expand on the theme in any direction, taking inspiration from history and real-life royalty to fantasy and literary ideas, such Alice in Wonderland’s Queen of Hearts.

The judging panel of industry experts comprised delicious. magazine’s editorial director Karen Barnes; restaurateur and author Yotam Ottolenghi; food writers Xanthe Clay, Kalpna Woolf and Tom Parker Bowles; TV presenter and author Stefan Gates; editor and Guild vice-chair Samuel Goldsmith; and magazine The Week Junior’s managing editor Vanessa Harriss and features editor Ben Isaacs.

delicious. was proud to support the 15-18-year-old age category, with the prize being awarded to 18-year-old Maryam Ahmed from Birmingham. Her poem Modern Tea Party brings to life the flavours of a cross-cultural celebratory spread, along with the experiences of British Indian families.

Judge Xanthe Clay said, “Maryam’s poem feels personal and relevant, the mosaic of the second-generation experience of flavour, interwoven with acutely observed cultural detail.” Read Maryam’s poem in full below…

Modern Tea Party by Maryam Ahmed

Handfuls of Dairy Milk and Bombay mix in old biscuit tins,
And sickly sweet Vimto in plastic cups,
And an assortment of quality street saved for after dinner,
For the children, obsessed with Teletubbies and already forgetting their mother tongue.

Sticky toffee pudding with sweet, sweet pistachio kulfi,
And greasy battered sausages in tender rotis,
And fried tilapia and spiced chips,
For the busy medical student, pressured by their parents relentlessly.

A plateful of delicate okra fries, with HP sauce on the side,
And scotch eggs spiced with turmeric and my grandmother’s Indian spice mix,
And all-butter scones with a thick layer of mango chutney, topped with lychee,
For the second generation children, stuck between Janus’ doorway.

Succinctly layered trifle with elderberries and garden strawberries,
And malty yet ‘nutritionally delicious’ Ovaltine,
And a sneaky slice of jam roly-poly with cardamom custard,
For the old-timers, reminiscent of their childhood Indian summers.

Overly diluted Robinsons for the little ‘uns,
And strongly steeped Assam tea for the gentlemen
And an even stronger spicy chai,
For the ladies, in their sarees and inherited sapphire rings.

For more information on the 2022 winners of the Guild of Food Writers’ Young Food Writer of the Year competition, click here.

More to discover

Subscribe to our magazine

Food stories, skills and tested recipes, straight to your door... Enjoy 5 issues for just £5 with our special introductory offer.


Unleash your inner chef

Looking for inspiration? Receive the latest recipes with our newsletter

We treat your data with care. See our privacy policy. By signing up, you are agreeing to delicious.’ terms and conditions. Unsubscribe at any time.