2021 Essex Food & Drink Awards

Essex Food & Drink Awards logo

Nominate your favourites for the Essex & Drink Awards 2021 - Credit: Archant

Each year, the Essex Food and Drink Awards recognise the outstanding achievements of people in Essex who grow, rear, prepare and cook some of the best food and drink you’ll taste and buy anywhere in the country. It’s one of the highlights of our year.  
Last year due to the pandemic, the event was unable to be held. This year, the awards are back with a special event planned for November 8 at the fabulous Braxted Park in Great Braxted. It will be quite a celebration. It will also be a chance to recognise and thank Essex's inspirational hospitality industry which has worked so hard to adapt and survive with talent, ingenuity and dedication. The awards are only possible with the support of our generous sponsors. We are particularly delighted to welcome as our headline sponsor once again, and as sponsor of The Face of Food and Drink, Tiptree, supplier of preserves and royal warrant holder. 
As we launch the 2021 awards,  a big thank you must go to all our sponsors and our judges for their support and commitment to the Essex Food and Drink Awards. These are still uncertain and anxious times, and the hospitality industry needs our support now more than ever. This is a great opportunity for all food and drink related businesses in Essex to enter the awards, and for the finalists, a chance to celebrate together later this year.     
To find out more and to nominate your favourites, visit essexfada.co.uk

The categories

The Face of Food and Drink 2021
Sponsored by Tiptree
This non-entry category recognises an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the county’s food and drink sector. 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 select someone who is an expert in their field, has a proven track record, inspires colleagues, educates and sets standards at which others aim to attain. This award winner is selected by judges using their industry knowledge. 

Tiptree logo

Tiptree is the headline sponsor of this year's Essex Food & Drink Awards - Credit: Tiptree

Our headline sponsor: The Wilkin family have been farming at Tiptree, Essex, since 1757, and making quality preserves since 1885. They grow a wide range of traditional English fruits and use them to make conserves, condiments, and other treats in their nut-free factory by the farm. They received their first royal warrant from George V in 1911 and remain royal warrant holders as purveyors of Tiptree products to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. Every member of staff is part of an employee benefit trust, giving each a keen interest in the future of the business.  

Best Product or Producer
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.

Best Newcomer
Sponsored by Traymoor Quality Meats
The award is open to any business or individual who has started a food and/or drink venture in the last three years. 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, as well as 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.

Traymoor Quality Meats logo

Traymoor Quality Meats is a sponsor in the 2021 Essex Food & Drink Awards - Credit: Traymoor Quality Meats

Our sponsor: Traymoor Quality Meats was started 30 years ago out of a desire by the owner Andy Hyde to provide chefs with a bespoke service responding to their individual needs but with the prices usually only given to the larger chains of restaurants. It supplies fresh meat and deli products to restaurants, pubs and hotels throughout Essex. The company is now one of East Anglia’s leading catering butchers and believe this is testament to providing the best quality produce with customer service to match. They source local produce from Essex and surrounding areas and over the years built strong connections with many local producers. 

Cafe, Coffee or Tea Shop of the Year
Sponsored by Cuisine Royale
The judges will look for a café, coffee or teashop 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 which make the café or tea shop special.

Cuisine Royale logo

Cuisine Royale is sponsoring Cafe, Coffee or Teashop of the Year in the 2021 Essex Food & Drink Awards - Credit: Cuisine Royale

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Cuisine Royale is Essex’s leading independent dry goods supplier. Established in 1997 by Lesley Wallis, and now run by her brother, Robert Mackley from their warehouse in Great Canfield, it holds an extensive range of ambient, chilled and frozen products. They also stock a range of catering disposable items. The company is currently developing a product list, to meet the growing needs within the free from, plant based and vegan diversity required by chefs and to offer a complete menu to suit all. Cuisine Royale prides itself on a personal approach and prompt response, and aims to be friendly, efficient and considerate.   

Chef of the Year
This prestigious award is open to chefs who are currently 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. Readers, businesses and chefs are able to nominate in this category. We will then contact all chefs to submit a formal entry with the hope of reaching a live cook-off. 

Food and Drink Innovation
Sponsored by Maldon Salt
This award is looking for a pioneer product, service, community, business or person within the food and drink industry. The winner of this award will use data, marketing and creative solutions effectively to deliver a food or drink product or service within Essex.

Maldon Salt logo

Maldon Salt is sponsoring Food and Drink Innovation in the 2021 Essex Food & Drink Awards - Credit: Maldon Salt

Our sponsor: Established in 1882, Maldon Salt has been hand harvesting its world-famous sea salt flakes in the coastal town of Maldon for almost 140 years. It is a fourth-generation family run business whose craft is recognised the world over. Traditional methods and time-honoured techniques passed down through the centuries make Maldon’s pyramid salt flakes unique and it exports to over 60 countries around the world.  

Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year
Sponsored by Mr.Wheeler
Nominees will be accepted for exceptional restaurants across Essex which have the ability to create an unforgettable dining experience, cooked to a degree of excellence using fresh, local produce combined with an unsurpassed level of customer service, demonstrating and understanding the diners’ expectations. Judges will be looking for a fine-dining restaurant that has impeccable levels of customer satisfaction and menus which inspire and take diners on a taste sensational journey. 

Mr. Wheeler logo

Mr. Wheeler is a sponsor in the 2021 Essex Food & Drink Awards - Credit: Mr. Wheeler

Our sponsor: Mr.Wheeler is the evolution of 130 years of expertise, offering a carefully chosen selection of outstanding wines to private customers and the trade, from its base north of Colchester. The company is part of a new generation of independent wine specialist, with the heritage, expertise and personal service of an old-style merchant, yet with the tech-savvy approach and grasp of contemporary lifestyle choices you’d expect from a twenty first century wine company. The wines that its experts and vineyard partners choose are always the best – they deliver on quality, value and enjoyment. 

Pub of the Year
Sponsored by Beresfords Group
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 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. 

Beresfords logo

Beresfords is sponsoring Pub of the Year in the 2021 Essex Food & Drink Awards - Credit: Beresfords

Our sponsor: Beresfords Group is Essex’s largest family-owned independent property group and have been successfully operating within the property industry for over 50 years. The property specialists assist various individuals with all their property needs including residential sales, buy-to-let, property management, land and new homes and even a home dressing service. Beresfords Group always aim to provide a friendly, personal, professional and ethical service to each of their customers.  

Best Retailer
Sponsored by Newman Refrigeration
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, as well as any added facilities the retailer has to offer. This category is open to farm shops, markets and retailers. 

Newman Refrigeration logo

Newman Refrigeration is sponsoring Best Retailer in the 2021 Essex Food & Drink Awards - Credit: Newman Refrigeration

Our sponsor: Newman Refrigeration is a long-established independent company specialising in consultancy, system design, installation, service and maintenance of refrigeration, heat pump and air conditioning systems. They work in a variety of sectors including retail, hospitality, and commercial. The company employ some of the very best refrigeration people in the country and are true experts when it comes to system design, system retrofits, energy saving and sustainability. Exceptional communication, technical ability and vast experience sets their design department apart from their competitors. The business has been built on reputation and they are constantly recommended by companies.

Casual Restaurant of the Year
Sponsored by Hills prospect Nominees will be accepted for casual restaurants across the county of Essex which have the ability to create a relaxed and inclusive dining experience. The menu will be varied, using local fresh produce and be served with an excellent level of customer service.

Hills Prospect logo

Hills Prospect is sponsoring Casual Restaurant of the Year in the 2021 Essex Food & Drink Awards - Credit: Hills Prospect

Our sponsor: Hills Prospect are the largest independent drinks supplier in London and the South East supplying some of the biggest names in restaurants, bars, hotels and public houses with the widest choice of quality products — both the tried-and-tested favourites and on-trend craft brands. Established in 1977, the company has grown with irrepressible strength in the last four decades. They are confident you will not find better service than theirs; and with an extensive new premises, an expanding team and an ever-increasing portfolio of premium products, they would love to get to know you better.

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, café or pub. Understanding and anticipating customers’ needs, good knowledge of menus, dishes, provenance of ingredients and drink matching will be expected as well as a personable approach that complements the establishment and really
enhances the visit. This category seeks to recognise an often overlooked yet extremely important sector of the hospitality industry, and nominations should be for teams/organisations but can also name specific individuals 
within that. 

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