Kent Life and Kent on Sunday Food & Drink Awards 2016

Kent Life and Kent on Sunday's fourth Food & Drinks Awards

Kent Life and Kent on Sunday's fourth Food & Drinks Awards - Credit: Getty Images/Ingram Publishing

We are delighted to announce the fourth Kent Life and Kent on Sunday Food & Drink Awards, brought to you in association with our headline sponsor Alaris Kitchens


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Nominations are now being encouraged for the 2016 Kent Life and Kent on Sunday Food & Drink Awards. The awards dinner will take place on 17 October 2016, from 6.30pm to midnight. The venue will be Ashford International Hotel, who hosted the 2015 Awards. The prestigious awards, which launched in 2013, are designed to champion, highlight and offer a showcase to the great and the good from the region’s food and drink industry, including local producers and suppliers, small farming businesses, chefs, pubs, restaurants and hoteliers. All will be people who care passionately about the Kent countryside and the future of our local environment. The companies included will all nominated by you, our wonderful Kent Life and Kent on Sunday readers. We want to know if you’ve received a fantastic meal at your local pub or have been impressed by the produce and service at your neighbourhood Farmers’ Market or farm shop. The nomination form is available in this issue and will be repeated next month. It is also available to complete online at:, where you can read more about the awards and see pictures of last year’s winners.

Entries close on 7 August 2016. Our handpicked panel of high-profile judges who all live and work in Kent will then select a shortlist, kickstarting the independent judging process where finalists will be visited or interviewed to determine a worthy winner in each category. All finalists will be invited to the prestigious awards ceremony, where they will enjoy a sparkling reception and a delicious three-course meal with wine before finding out if they are a winner. This is our fourth Kent Life and Kent on Sunday Food & Drink Awards and we are immensely proud to be able to offer you once again the chance to recognise and reward the deserving businesses within our local food and drink industry that go above and beyond expectations. These awards are what you make of them, so if you are the owner of a restaurant, a chef or local producer, then spread the word among your clients, customers and visitors. It takes no time at all to make your nomination. You can email, post or nominate online. The judging panel is looking for quality over quantity, focusing on good comments rather than simply the number of nominations received, so everybody is in with a chance no matter how big or small their business. Don’t forget to let us know when you have made your recommendation on our Twitter page @kentlife and @KOSMedia by using #kentfda – similarly, if you are looking for nominations, please use this hashtag.

Calling Kent Life and Kent on Sunday readers! Nominate your Kent food and drink favourites by emailing us at or nominate online at


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Awards criteria

Newcomer of the Year

Sponsored by Clive Emson land & property auctioneers

This popular category is open to anyone in the food or drink industry who has started a new venture within the last 18 months. We want to know what impact they have made on the local community and if they have started to achieve any success further afield. Are they helping to promote Kent food and drink to a new audience or have they found a new way to promote an old favourite?

Independent Food or Drink Retailer of the Year

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Sponsored by Illuminate Skin Clinic

This celebrates that special food or drink shop that we all treasure. The retailer who includes wonderful local produce in their offering and knows where all their stock comes from to make that special link between field and plate. Our winner will have a special ‘must-have’ range and make a real contribution to their local community. Going to their shop will be a treat in itself.

Café of the Year

This category has changed a little from last year’s Tea Shop of the Year to include those places that concentrate on coffee! Tea and coffee shops are an integral part of the Kent food and drink scene and we’d like to know your favourites. Who makes the best tea and coffees, serves the nicest cakes and biscuits and the freshest scones? Are the sandwiches freshly cut and liberally filled? Do the staff make coming in for a cup of tea or coffee feel like a special event? Most importantly, are most of the ingredients locally sourced? We’re looking forward to hearing about your favourites.

Food Producer of the Year

Sponsored by Maserati

This category celebrates our local producers. We are looking for someone who consistently provides both top quality local produce and service to their customers. We are keen to hear of any innovations, so if they’re doing something new, we’d like to hear about it. So if your local baker, grocer or farmer delights please let us know.

Drink Producer of the Year

This category celebrates our local drink producers. Whether it’s gorgeous Kentish fizz or delicious juice, we want to find the producers who play such a vital role in the county’s food and drink economy. We want to know who you think makes the best drink, alcoholic or not, in Kent and why it is so special. We are keen to hear of any innovations, so if they’re doing something new, for example, a fabulous new flavour, we’d like to hear about it.

Farm Shop of the Year

A good farm shop needs to have that extra-special something to tempt shoppers away from their local supermarket. Are the staff friendly and knowledgeable, is the range of produce and the layout of an excellent standard, does your local farm shop offer a box scheme? Is most of the produce sold there grown or raised on that farm, or nearby and if not would the owner be able to tell you where it is from? Nominate your favourite now!

Farmer’s Market of the Year

Sponsored by Perrys Accountants

The key to a good Farmers’ Market is not only the range of produce and the quality of its stalls but also the principles that it supports – for example, does it work as a co-operative with other farmers? Is most of the produce sold there grown or raised locally? Are the stallholders welcoming and knowledgeable? Is the layout easy to navigate as you move around the market? Are any extras offered on a regular basis, such as cookery demonstrations or talks? Is it well advertised so you can plan your visit in advance and is there good accessibility and parking? Let us know so we can tell everyone about the best place to go.

Pub of the Year

Sponsored by Eastwell Manor

A good pub these days has to offer more than a warm welcome and excellent ale. We are looking for an inn that also offers delicious locally-sourced food with seasonal variations. As well as excellent food and drink, it must offer fantastic friendly customer service and real value for money. Pubs are genuinely the hub of their local community. To misquote a popular TV programme, pubs are all about ambience, ambience, ambience. If you know a great one, even if it isn’t your local, let us all know by voting for them.

Restaurant of the Year

Sponsored by The Foxhunter Park

The Kent Life and Kent on Sunday Restaurant of the Year needs to offer an incomparable dining experience, from the ambience to the service and most importantly the food. Is it locally sourced? Do they support local producers and are they recognised on the menu? Look through their wine list, do they have local as well as international wines and Champagnes and can the staff tell you more if you ask? We’d expect nothing less from the 2016 Restaurant of the Year.

Chef of the Year

Sponsored by The Canterbury Auction Galleries

Kent is blessed with outstanding chefs working in the county’s fantastic array of restaurants. The Chef of the Year should be someone who has devoted him or herself to the cause of serving the best possible food. They will demonstrate technical ability, use of seasonal ingredients, presentation of the food and an understanding of how flavours work together. They will be able to lead and inspire their team and to talk to customers knowledgeably about the dishes they have enjoyed. Above all, we are looking for passion – that magic ingredient that defines true greatness in the kitchen.

Customer Service of the Year

Sponsored by Fenwick of Canterbury

Most of our awards recognise customer service in some form. This category celebrates this vital element for its own sake. Do you know an individual, organisation or establishment that offers fabulous service that goes above and beyond what you expect? We all know excellent service when we have received it, now is your chance to get it recognised. If you know a person, company, producer, pub, shop or restaurant that is a delight to deal with, then let us know.

Kent Food and Drink Hero of the Year

Kent has a food and drink scene that is among the most vibrant in the UK as you would expect from the Garden of England. This category celebrates the individual who has made a positive impact on the food or drink community – someone who goes the extra mile to promote Kent to a wider audience and is passionate about local produce throughout. Now is your chance to nominate your own Kent Food and Drink Hero.