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Nominations are now open for the Essex Life Food & Drink Awards

PUBLISHED: 12:45 28 March 2018 | UPDATED: 12:53 28 March 2018

Essex Life Food & Drink Awards

Essex Life Food & Drink Awards


This is your chance to tell us who you think should win. The Essex Life Food & Drink Awards - sponsored by Tiptree once again - are well established as the most prestigious food and drink awards within the county and aim to celebrate all that is great about our local food and drink industry, giving valuable recognition to producers, growers, suppliers and hospitality venues across the region

To choose the very best winners in each category we are looking to you, our readers, to nominate who you think deserves a chance to win these coveted awards. So if you have had a special meal in an Essex restaurant or pub, been impressed with the produce and service at a local farm shop or cafe, or have a favourite food or drink that is produced within the county, now is the time to let us know.

There are 11 categories to enter covering a broad range of sectors 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 and the winner will be announced at a glittering awards ceremony later this year.

You can enter online or download a form which you can send to us at the below address. Simply tick the box of the category you wish to enter, including the name and address of your nomination and a few words to explain the reasons for your selection. You can enter as many times as you like and as many categories as you like.

Send your completed nomination forms to: The Events Team, Essex Life Food & Drink Awards, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, Norfolk NR1 1RE

Online entry and the downloadable farms are available through this link.

Find out more about our headline sponsors Tiptree here.


Essex Life Food & Drink AwardsEssex Life Food & Drink Awards

The Categories

Family Dining Award – sponsored by Traymoor Quality Meats

Judges will be looking for a restaurant, café or pub which really meets the needs of family dining to create a great day out, by demonstrating attention to the requirements across the generations of diners, both in terms of its food offering, atmosphere and the variety of menu for guests regardless of age.

The award reflects the whole experience, so is aimed at establishments that place a great emphasis on standards of service, both front of house and in food preparation, as well as having ‘that certain something’ which makes it appeal to the whole family.

Essex Life Food & Drink AwardsEssex Life Food & Drink Awards

Pub of the Year – sponsored by G + G Gallo Drinks Distribution

Nominees are accepted for fantastic pubs across Essex which have created a distinct and high quality offering for their customers – both traditional drinking pubs and those that have built a reputation their restaurant and/or bar menu.

Common to all finalists will be great standards of customer service and understanding of their market, technical expertise in sourcing and providing a good range and standard of drinks – both alcoholic and non-alcoholic – plus a sense of character that makes a visit to these pubs enjoyable and memorable.

Essex Life Food & Drink AwardsEssex Life Food & Drink Awards

Restaurant of the Year – sponsored by Wilks & Co Wine Merchants

The judges will look for the restaurant or eaterie in Essex which has the ability to create an outstanding dining experience, cook to a degree of excellence using fresh, local produce and provide an excellent level of customer service, demonstrating and understanding the diner’s expectations.

Judges will be impressed by technical expertise, customer service, relaxed, comfortable ambience and an imaginative menu. Judging will involve an unannounced visit to the category finalists.

Essex Life Food & Drink AwardsEssex Life Food & Drink Awards

Best Essex Producer – sponsored by Bellefontaines’ Jewellers

This award recognises the fantastic food and drink products being created within the county. Judges will be looking for a first class product that demonstrates the manufacturer’s flair for creating, developing and delivering a distinctive, successful and respected item, either as a stand-alone or as part of its brand.

Manufacture of this will have been in Essex, although it is not essential that every ingredient is sourced from within the county’s borders.

Essex Life Food & Drink AwardsEssex Life Food & Drink Awards

Pride of Essex Award – sponsored by East of England Co-op

This award recognises a product or brand that the county is proud to call its own by demonstrating the excellence of food and drink production within Essex or even further afield. Judges will consider those which are respected brand leaders beyond the county borders, whether in terms of produce, product or full brand range, and which instill a real sense of pride in the county.

The Pride of Essex Award is open to all food and drink producers and suppliers such as farmers, brewers butchers, bakers, fishmongers and delicatessens demonstrating a real passion for the county and the food and drink made here.

Essex Life Food & Drink AwardsEssex Life Food & Drink Awards

Best Newcomer

The award is open to any business or individual who has started a food and/or drink venture in the last three years (since March 2015). The judges will be looking for an outstanding early stage business which has already become a success story or shows promise to become one.

The winner will be a company which is able to demonstrate a pioneering approach, strong performance over the past year, the potential to flourish and be sustainable. Among the qualities the judges will be looking for are a dedicated effort to drive the business forward, potential and vision.

Essex Life Food & Drink AwardsEssex Life Food & Drink Awards

Best Coffee/Tea Shop – sponsored by Beresfords Country and Village

The judges will look for the coffee or tea shop in Essex which is able to create an outstanding customer experience – a warm welcome, high quality tea and/or coffee plus a range of other drinks, tasty food made from fresh, local produce, all served with an excellent level of customer service.

Judges will be impressed by a relaxed, comfortable ambience, originality, an imaginative menu and aspects make the cafe or tea shop ‘special’. Judging will involve an unannounced visit to the category finalists.

Essex Life Food & Drink AwardsEssex Life Food & Drink Awards

Best Independent Food & Drink Retailer

This award recognises retailers such as butchers, bakers, delicatessens, farmer’s markets and more with a passion for high-quality products and fresh local produce, as well as outstanding customer service.

The judges will be impressed by an attractive, well laid out shop, stocked with a wide variety of excellent products, staff who provide friendly, helpful customer service, and have good product knowledge, innovation in products and presentation and any additional facilities and services that the retailer provides.

Essex Life Food & Drink AwardsEssex Life Food & Drink Awards

Customer Service Award – sponsored by Hatfields Home Furnishers

Judges in this category will be looking for the level of service that makes a truly enjoyable visit to the restaurant, hotel, café or pub. They will be impressed by the ability to understand and anticipate customers’ needs, good knowledge of menus, dishes, provenance of ingredients and of drink matching, as well as a personable approach that complements the establishment and really enhances the visit.

This category recognises an often overlooked yet extremely important sector of the hospitality industry, and nominations will be accepted for teams or individuals.

Essex Life Food & Drink AwardsEssex Life Food & Drink Awards

Food & Drink Hero – sponsored by NFU Mutual

This award recognises an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to Essex’s food industry. The winner could come from any part of the industry – a grower, producer, cook, restaurateur, retailer, educator or local food and drink champion.

The judges will be looking for someone who is an expert in their chosen field, has a proven track record, inspires colleagues, educates and sets standards for others aim to attain.

Essex Life Food & Drink AwardsEssex Life Food & Drink Awards

Chef of the Year – sponsored by Allstaff Employment

This prestigious award is open to chefs who are working within the Essex food and drink industry.

Competitors may come from all areas of the hospitality business, including hotels, restaurants, pubs, contract catering, fine dining, private and public sectors. This will recognise the close link of fine food with using the best of local produce.

Essex Life Food & Drink AwardsEssex Life Food & Drink Awards

How to enter:

Readers and businesses are requested to make nominations, before chefs will then be invited to make a formal submission to qualify for a live cook-off. Further details at www.essexfada.co.uk


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