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Nominations open for Hertfordshire Life Food & Drink Awards 2017

PUBLISHED: 12:53 07 February 2017 | UPDATED: 12:57 07 February 2017

Food and Drink Awards 2017 - nominations are open!

Food and Drink Awards 2017 - nominations are open!

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Here are the 12 categories and criteria to nominate your favourite Herts food and drink businesses (or nominate your own business or staff) for an award. Go to hertfordshirefada.co.uk

Hertfordshire Life editor Richard Young Hertfordshire Life editor Richard Young

Nominations are now open for the Hertfordshire Life Food & Drink Awards 2017 - a celebration of all that is great about our local food and drink industry and giving valuable recognition to a wide range of eateries, producers, growers, suppliers and food and drink outlets across the county.

To choose the very best in each of our categories we are looking to you, our readers, to nominate who you think deserves to win. So if you have had a special meal in a Hertfordshire restaurant, been impressed with the produce and service at a local farm shop or café, love your local pub or have a favourite food or drink produced in the county, then let us know. And if you want to shout about your great business then you can do that too.

Food and Drink Awards 2016 Food and Drink Awards 2016

There are 12 categories to enter, covering a broad range of activities across the food and drink industry, and remember, if your favourite isn’t entered, it can’t win!

Finalists will be selected by a panel of expert judges, who will visit all those shortlisted, and the winners announced at a glittering awards ceremony. Last year’s Sopwell House-hosted inaugural event was attended by more than 160 people from the cream of the county’s food and drink industry.

Judge and Master Chef semi-finalist Saira Hamilton entertains guests Judge and Master Chef semi-finalist Saira Hamilton entertains guests

If you know a venue that deserves one of the awards, vote online at our dedicated website hertfordshirefada.co.uk not forgetting to tell us why your nomination is so great. You can enter as many venues and categories as you like.

Nominated businesses and individuals will be asked to supply additional information for use during the judging.

Here are just some reactions from winners in the 2016 contest:

Judge and Radio 2 presenter Janey Lee Grace presents the Pride of Hertfordshire award Judge and Radio 2 presenter Janey Lee Grace presents the Pride of Hertfordshire award

‘I would like to thank the team at Herts Life, the readers and judges for the awards we received. It was a fantastic day hosted at Sopwell House.’ - Phil Thompson, THOMPSON St Albans (Restaurant of the Year and Best Chef)

‘We are so proud to win Newcomer of the Year, especially from such an impressive group of finalists.’ - The Cookery, Hoddesdon

Chef of the Year and Restaurant of the Year winner Phil Thompson Chef of the Year and Restaurant of the Year winner Phil Thompson

‘I am deeply honoured and humbled. It is a great privilege to be recognised by the Hertfordshire community culinary excellence.’ - Chad Rahman, Chez Mumtaj, St Albans (Food and Drink Hero)

The categories

Here are the 12 categories and their criteria for you to nominate your favourite Herts food and drink businesses (or nominate your own business or staff) for an award. Go to hertfordshirefada.co.uk

RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR

The restaurant of the year will offer a fabulous dining experience, everything from ambience to the service and most importantly, the food. Are ingredients locally sourced? Is the drinks list local as well as international? Can staff tell you more about the food and drink if you ask? Whether it’s big or small, if it ranks high for fine dining, give it your vote.

INDEPENDENT CAFÉ/TEA ROOM OF THE YEAR

Judges of this category will be looking for a café, garden centre, museum or farm affiliated venue that really meets the needs of its customers. Does it demonstrate attention to diners both in terms of its food offering, atmosphere, information and variety of menu?

BEST INDEPENDENT RETAILER

The winner of this award will consistently show an expert knowledge and, like all our finalists, an unrivalled passion for their trade. It could be a deli, a wine or beer store, greengrocer, baker or something unique. They will likely support great local produce as well as from further afield.

PUB OF THE YEAR

Whether it’s the food, the drink, the good company or the strong role in the community (ideally, all of them) we want to find the best pubs in the county. Tell us why you love your favourite – it could be your local or one you are happy to travel miles to.

OUTSTANDING CUSTOMER SERVICE

Nothing makes a business stand out more than excellent customer service, no matter the size of the company. So if staff at a food and/or drink venue consistently give you a warm welcome, go the extra mile and make you feel at your ease, vote for them here.

PRODUCER/PRODUCT OF THE YEAR

This award recognises local producers whose passion for Hertfordshire produce is at the heart of their business. It’s open to all producers who demonstrate a real passion for our county’s food and drink.

FAMILY DINING AWARD

This is the place that never fails to keep the kids happy, without forgetting the parents. Do you know somewhere offering tasty, reasonably priced, nutritious children’s meals as well as facilities to keep the children entertained in a welcoming environment? Then tell us about it.

CHEF OF THE YEAR

This award aims to recognise those chefs who show an exceptional awareness of produce and have the knowledge and expertise to use their ingredients to create sensational, seasonal menus – local sourcing is a bonus as always.

NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR

This award is open to businesses that have started a new venture in the food and/or drink industry in the past 18 months. We want to know what impact it has made on the local community, success so far and plans for the future.

FOOD & DRINK HERO OF THE YEAR

This person will have made a lasting contribution to the food and drink community. It could be a celebrity, a critic, a barman, waiter or farmer who goes that extra mile to make a difference in the food and drink industry in Hertfordshire.

BEST LOCAL INDUSTRY SUPPLIER

This category aims to celebrate our local suppliers who play such a vital role in the food and drink community. The winner of this category can be an individual or company that consistently provides reliable, quality products to customers and is always looking for the opportunity to go further.

SERVICE TO THE COMMUNITY

Here we’re looking for food and/or drink-led initiatives that aim to inspire and educate local communities. Whether that’s cookery courses, brewery or farm tours, community allotments or imaginative charity schemes that add something special to the food and drinks scene in the county, we would love to see ideas that have really made a difference to others in Hertfordshire.

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