Eat Norfolk Food & Drink Awards 2018 open for nominations

Eat Norfolk Food & Drink Awards 2018 has launched - nominate now!

Eat Norfolk Food & Drink Awards 2018 has launched - nominate now! - Credit: Archant

We’re looking for the best of the best in the 2018 Eat Norfolk Food and Drink Awards - and you can help...

There can, surely, never have been a better time to be a lover of good food and drink in Norfolk.We have an astonishing array of talent on show in the county, from artisan crafters lovingly creating chutneys in their kitchens to restaurateurs offering diners the Michelin star experience and all points in between.

It is a wonderfully diverse and creative industry and such an exciting one to be a involved in. And here at EDP Norfolk magazine we are thrilled to be playing our part in highlighting the best of the best with the launch of our 2018 Eat Norfolk Food & Drink Awards.

This is our chance to shine a light on the stars of the food and drink world, to recognise and reward the great talents, the imagination, energy and professionalism on show across Norfolk. It is also the opportunity for you, the reader, to show your appreciation of your favourites by telling us who you think should be included in the search for the best in the business by nominating your favourites.

It is also a chance for the people at the coal face of the food and drink world to blow their own trumpets, to share with us what they have been doing in the last year and what they are proud of. Don’t be shy or too modest – you could be one of the ones called up to the stage at our great gala night to collect an award.

It is so easy to nominate a business or person – see the website for details of what to do.

Once the nominations have closed they are passed to our panel of experts and independent judges. They will then use their specialist knowledge and skills to complete the judging process in each category over the summer.

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Those shortlisted will be invited to our celebration and awards night on Monday, September 10 at OPEN, Norwich, when all the winners will be revealed.

Of course none of this would happen without the fantastic support of our sponsors who have come forward to support the awards. We’re delighted to see some old friends with us again and also to welcome some new faces to the awards.

Please get involved by nominating your favourites or yourself - all you have to do is visit the awards website at


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.

Field to Fork

Sponsored by Easton & Otley 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 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.

Best Restaurant

Sponsored by Gerald Giles

Nominees 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 unsurpassed level of customer service, demonstrating and understanding the diners’ expectations. This category will open to public vote, with people able to vote online or by post for the Norfolk restaurant they feel offers “that certain something”.

Outstanding Achievement

Sponsored by Hansells

This prestigious award sponsored by Hansells for the sixth 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 industry. The winner will be someone who excels in growing, producing, cooking, serving, selling or educating about food or drink. The judges will hand-pick an individual who sets standards to which others aspire. Past winners include Nick Mills, managing director of Brasted’s; Chris Coubrough, Flying Kiwi celebrity chef; Steve Thorpe, head of Hotel School at City College Norwich; Richard Hughes chef/restaurateur.

Chef of the Year

Sponsored by City College Norwich

This prestigious award is open to chefs who are working within 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 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.

Norfolk Home Chef of the Year

Sponsored by Richard Hughes Cookery School

This category is open to amateur cooks that reside in the county of 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 resume 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 who are selected for the next stage in the judging process will be invited to a cook-off where they will cook four portions of this menu for a panel of professional judges. Entrants can not be employed in a professional kitchen, not hold any professional qualifications and not be employed by the Assembly House, Norwich or any of the associated businesses or Archant Ltd.

Pride of Norfolk

Sponsored by Norse

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.

Best Family Dining

Sponsored by Food Care Systems

Judges will be looking for a restaurant, café or pub which really meets the needs of family dining, 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.

Best Independent Food and Drink Retailer

Sponsored by Bakers & Larners of Holt

This award recognises retailers 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, and any added facilities the retailer has to offer.

Best Pub

Nominees 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 build 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 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 January 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.

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 make the cafe or tea shop ‘special’. Judging will involve an unannounced visit to the shortlisted businesses.

Outstanding Front of House

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, and nominations will be accepted for teams or individuals.

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