EAT Norfolk Food & Drink Awards 2020 is now OPEN for entries
PUBLISHED: 14:54 19 February 2020 | UPDATED: 14:54 19 February 2020
The search begins for the Norfolk food and drink champions of 2020
This year is a special one for the EAT Norfolk Food and Drink Awards as 2020 marks the 20th running of these awards. Since their inception they have grown into the county's premier food and drink awards, the one everyone wants to win.
Last year we had a record number of entries from Norfolk businesses large and small and we also had to recruit a record number of judges to help select the worthy winners from that enormous field.
This year we are delighted to welcome a new headline sponsor - Bakers & Larners of Holt. This is a huge year for this much-loved family store as it celebrates 250 years of business and we are thrilled that it has chosen to support the awards again, this year in such a pivotal role.
There are some new names on the 20th anniversary sponsors list and we are also very glad to welcome back a large number of supporters for another year; without their backing the awards would not happen and we are extremely grateful to them all.
Now it is over to you; we need your nominations for these prestigious awards. What's your favourite restaurant? Who keeps a great pint of beer, offers outstanding service? Where can you get a great afternoon tea?
It is so simple to put your favourites up for the honours - and we also welcome self-nomination, so there's no need to hide your light under a bushel.
Simply go to the website and follow the instructions; who knows, it could be your name that gets called out as the winner in our gala night at OPEN this September!
- Best Newcomer
Sponsored by Norwich Research Park
The award is open to any business or individual who has started a food and/or drink Venture in the last three years (since January 2017). The judges will be looking for an outstanding early stage business which has already become a success story or shows promise of becoming 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.
- Chef of the Year
Sponsored by City College Norwich
This prestigious award is open to chefs who are working in the Norfolk 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. Readers and businesses are requested to make nominations; chefs will then be invited to make a formal submission towards a live cook-off in the Hotel School. Competitors are required to submit their signature main course dish which showcases good quality, locally sourced Norfolk produce. From the initial entries the judges will select chefs to take part in a live cook-off at City College Norwich on July 7.
- Restaurant of the Year
Sponsored by Gerald Giles
Nominations will be accepted for fantastic restaurants across Norfolk which have the ability to create an unforgettable dining experience, cook to a degree of excellence using fresh, local produce combined with an impressive level of customer service, demonstrating and understanding the diners' expectations. This category will open to initial public vote, with judges making unannounced visits to shortlisted restaurants.
- Outstanding Front of House
Sponsored by Norwich Accountancy Services
Judges in this category will be looking for the level of front of house provision that makes a truly enjoyable visit to the restaurant, hotel, cafe or pub. Understanding and anticipating customers' needs, good knowledge of menus, dishes, provenance of ingredients and of drink matching will be expected and a personable approach that complements the establishment and really enhances the visit will be sought. This category seeks to recognise an often overlooked yet extremely important sector of the hospitality industry.
- Pub of the Year
Sponsored by Foodcare
Nominations are accepted for fantastic pubs across Norfolk which have created a distinct and high quality offering for their customers - both traditional drinking pubs and those that have built a reputation for 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.
- Best Coffee/Tea Shop
The judges will look for the coffee or tea shop in Norfolk 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 which make the cafe or tea shop 'special'. Judging will involve public vote to select the four finalists, then an unannounced visit to the finalists to select the winner.
- Field to Fork
Sponsored by Easton College
Judges are looking for individuals or businesses with the ability and vision to produce and market quality food products in this region. These are growers and producers who are passionate about what they do and who have the talent and skill to grow, develop and market an outstanding and commercially scalable food product. They also need to show environmental credentials and demonstrate contribution to the local community. This category is open for entries as well as recommendations.
- Norfolk Home Chef of the Year
Sponsored by Richard Hughes Cookery School
This category is open to amateur cooks who reside in Norfolk. In your entry please include the title of your chosen main course and dessert along with the recipe for both. The judges would also like to see a brief resumé and to know why you chose your menu, what it means to you and who you usually cook it for? The judges will be looking for a meal which showcases local produce. Those selected for the next stage will be invited to a cook-off on June 21 when they will cook their menu for a panel of judges. Entrants cannot be employed in a professional kitchen, not hold any professional cooking qualifications and not be employed by the Assembly House, Norwich, or any of the associated businesses, or Archant.
- Pride of Norfolk
Sponsored by Barsby Produce
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 Norfolk, although it is not essential that every ingredient is sourced from within the county's borders. This category is open for entries as well as recommendations.
- Best Afternoon Tea
Sponsored by Castlemeadow Care
One of our most delightful traditions is afternoon tea, and this award is searching for the very best offering in the county. Judges will be looking for the café, restaurant or hotel that offers an afternoon tea for customers which is a really pleasurable experience that combines a super choice of sandwiches, cakes, scones, tea and more, with a lovely atmosphere, great service and a touch of luxury.
- Outstanding Achievement
Sponsored by Hansells Solicitors and Financial Advisers
This prestigious award, sponsored by Hansells for the ninth consecutive year, is a non-entry category. Judges use a lifetime's experience and expertise to identify an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the Norfolk food and drink industry. The winner will be someone who excels in growing, producing, cooking, serving, selling or educating about food or drink. The judges will pick an individual who sets standards to which others aspire. Past winners include Nick De'Ath of De'Ath Hospitality, Delia Smith, chef; Nick Mills, of Brasted's; Chris Coubrough, chef; Steve Thorpe, head of Hotel School at City College Norwich and Richard Hughes, chef/restaurateur.
- Best Independent Food and Drink Retailer
Sponsored by East of England Co-op
This award recognises retailers (for example shops, delicatessens, butchers) who combine vision, a passion for high quality products and freshness of local produce. Marks will be awarded for clear, well laid-out shops which offer a wide variety of great products and for staff who demonstrate memorable standards of customer care, product knowledge and service. Judges will be looking for innovation in products and presentation, as well as any added facilities the retailer has to offer.
- Beer Quality Award
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Sponsored by Woodforde's Brewery
The Beer Quality Award recognises and promotes these values and is open to all types of bars, pubs and venues.
- Excellent cellar management, exemplary cleanliness and appropriate cellar temperature control.
- Good staff knowledge of the processes involved in receiving, storing, rotating and changing kegs and/or casks, for different beers.
- A well-planned bar area designed to help maintain beer quality and dispense excellent beer.
- Good use of fonts to present the beer range to the consumer.
- A full stock of appropriate glassware for each type of beer, including branded glassware, nucleated glasses and specialist beer glasses.
- A good, well-understood system of glass cleaning, storage and replenishment.
- Excellence in dispense, good staff knowledge of the pouring and presentation techniques required for the different beers and consistent delivery of perfectly presented beer.
- Clear demonstration of the understanding of the importance of quality among all staff.
- About our headline sponsor, Bakers & Larners of Holt
Bakers & Larners of Holt, established in 1770, is a proud, independent, family-run business with a rich and remarkable history dating back 250 years. The award-winning exceptional department store, remains a mainstay in the Georgian town of Holt's community and has seen four centuries and nine monarchs with just one family leading the business.
The store is home to a fantastic range of departments from ladies and menswear, home furnishings, a garden centre, pet care and DIY to its award-winning food hall where locally-sourced produce is a key feature of the delicatessen. A visit to the well-stocked fine wine and spirits department, which stands proudly above a 17th century wine cellar, is a must.
Bakers & Larners of Holt employs almost 100 staff in a mix of part and full-time roles. Staff are empowered to shape the future of Bakers & Larners of Holt by helping develop product ranges, collaborate with local suppliers, share expert knowledge and by putting customers at the very heart of the business.
Bakers & Larners of Holt forms part of the diverse CT Baker Group which comprises CT Baker Builders' Merchants in Holt, Aylsham, North Walsham and Stalham and CT Baker Budgens of Holt and Aylsham stores.
- Best Newcomer sponsor
From the soil to our health, Norwich Research Park's vision is to change lives and rethink society through pioneering research and innovation, reframing the future of research and delivering regional growth. Norwich Research Park is home to a wealth of world-leading research. Its 3,000 scientists and clinicians work in some of the areas of greatest importance to society today. It is a unique mix blending a major university teaching hospital with a leading university and internationally important research institutes that enables people to gain new knowledge of soil, plants, therapeutics and diagnostics, food, nutrition, health and healthy ageing. It is an inspirational place to work; where the world will look, not only for answers to global challenges, but also to learn from its success at creating a true research and innovation community, where organisations and people flourish and grow, in an environment that breeds and nurtures creativity and well-being.
- Chef of the Year sponsor
City College Norwich is the largest provider of technical education for the hospitality industry in Norfolk. This includes the development of the next generation of food and service professionals, as well as supporting the continued professional development of people across the whole of the food and drink sector. Students are trained in the college's renowned 'Highly Commended' AA College Rosette rated Debut Restaurant. The college's high standard of education sees many students progress on to roles at some of the country's most renowned establishments, including Hotel Café Royal and The Savoy, with notable alumni including Tom Aikens and Richard Bainbridge.
- Restaurant of the Year sponsor
Gerald Giles is your local electrical retailer with global, high-quality brands at great value prices. It takes pride in providing top-of-the-range kitchen appliance brands such as Miele, Neff and Smeg to its customers in Norfolk and beyond. For over 70 years, the Gerald Giles business ethos has been to provide excellent customer service and high-quality electrical products at competitive prices. The brands it works with are renowned for having incredibly high quality and innovation so it is particularly proud to be the only retailer chosen to represent Miele in Norfolk. Gerald Giles boasts an experienced team of experts covering every aspect of its business, from delivery to installation, servicing to repair, as well as a friendly and knowledgeable sales and customer service team.
- Outstanding Front of House sponsor
Norwich Accountancy Services provides an affordable yet high quality accountancy service for small businesses and individuals. It aims to meet your needs by working hard to ensure that you don't pay any more tax than you legally have to, treating your returns as if they were its own. The company was established in 2010 and recently moved into its new office. It is now conveniently located in Norwich city centre at 10a Castle Meadow. It covers all aspects of personal and business taxation and also has dedicated payroll, VAT and auto enrolment departments. It also supports several local charities.
- Pub of the Year sponsor
Foodcare specialises in the supply of tableware and catering essentials, helping to design the perfect match between the menu, food presentation and the eating experience. It is inspired by food, offering a personal service to all its customers. It supports customers from small cafés and village halls to gastro pubs, restaurants and hotels through to national operators such as the NHS, care homes and high street chains.
- Field to Fork sponsor
Easton College is a leading provider of education for 16-18 year olds and adults in Norfolk. Easton College provides specialist state-of-the-art facilities for agriculture, sport, construction and animal care within a stunning 200-hectare campus. The college has strong links with the agriculture and food and drink industries in the region and offers a wide range of training from vocational courses and apprenticeships to degrees and higher education. Easton College started an exciting new era in January 2020, following its merger with City College Norwich.
- Norfolk Home Chef of the Year sponsor
This award winning cookery school is part of The Assembly House Norwich in Norwich city centre. The cookery school offers hand-on cookery classes, demonstrations, corporate cookery days and hosts an annual food festival with guest chefs and foodie literary events. Chef director Richard Hughes has over 40 years' experience in commercial kitchens and is a well known personality in the Norfolk food scene, being a regular at cookery demonstrations and a patron of Norfolk Food and Drink.
- Pride of Norfolk sponsor
Barsby Produce is a family-run business that has been serving East Anglia with top quality fresh produce for over 40 years. During this time it has seen its core customer base move towards the catering industry and has reacted to this by adapting the business to become specialists in this area. This now sees Barsby supplying a range of customers including all Michelin-starred restaurants in Norfolk.
Barsby remains in touch with the needs of its customers and continues to be passionate about its role of providing the link between grower and chef and constantly strives to provide top quality produce with an honest, reliable service.
- Best Afternoon Tea sponsor
Castlemeadow Care is an award winning Norfolk company that owns and operates care homes across Norfolk and Suffolk providing residential, dementia and nursing care. It is celebrating 20 years in business and employs over 400 people. Woodgate Park Retirement Village, Dereham, is a spacious development of bungalows for people looking for their own independence while at the same time having the reassurance of additional support when needed.
Its most recent acquisition is Highfield House Care Home in Halesworth, with expansion plans continuing in Norfolk and Suffolk adding a further three retirement villages and two new build care homes to its current portfolio.
Castlemeadow Care is passionate about giving back and being part of the wider community, locally sponsoring a variety of great causes and on a world-wide level building schools in Sierra Leone.
- Outstanding Achievement sponsor
Hansells Solicitors and Financial Advisers has been woven within the fabric of Norfolk's business and community life since 1827. Throughout that time, Hansells has been driven by a desire to help the county's enterprises prosper and flourish in local, national and international marketplaces. Convinced that Norfolk plc makes an unrivalled contribution to Great Britain's reputation for quality of service and product, Hansells is immensely proud to help its clients achieve and maintain those standards. Offices in Norwich, Aylsham, Cromer, Sheringham, North Walsham, Reepham, and Wymondham underpin Hansells' philosophy of supporting clients in communities where they operate. Hansells underlines that commitment through county and local community sponsorships. Hansells, whose core law specialisms include agriculture and hospitality, employs 117.
- Best Independent Food and Drink Retailer sponsor
The largest independent retailer in the region, the East of England Co-op, has served communities for over 150 years. First founded to provide honest, quality products, today the East of England Co-op offers food stores and specialist services across Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire. The East of England Co-op has proudly supported local producers and growers across East Anglia through its multi-award winning Sourced Locally initiative. From bread, eggs, beer and sausages, to preserves, fruit juices, potatoes and deli products, each East of England Co-op store carries a range of Sourced Locally produce, making it easier for consumers to 'keep it local'. A membership organisation, owned by over 260,000 local people, the East of England Co-op share parts of its profit each year with local communities, helping them to do amazing things. This includes a focus on helping to combat food poverty and improving understanding of the benefits of recycling and reducing food waste.
- Beer Quality Award sponsor
Woodforde's Brewery is all about brewing great tasting beer. It is the largest brewery in Norfolk, situated eight miles outside Norwich, with a brewery tap and shop on site. Established in 1981, it has always been committed to making great beer and has won over 130 awards, including two Supreme Champion Beer of Britain awards. That says something about its beer. Even though you can find its beer on tap nationwide, Woodforde's Brewery is extremely proud to be born and brewing in Norfolk.