Nominate your favourite restaurant, café, pub, bar, producer or shop for the St Albans Food & Drink Awards 2018.
This year you can even nominate the best place to go for a hot drink with the addition of the new Best Hot Beverage category.
The winners of these popular annual awards will be announced at the St Albans Food & Drink Festival in the autumn.
Nominations for the awards are open until Friday 20 July 2018. You can name as few or as many places or producers as you like in St Albans District, using the online form at www.enjoystalbans.com/foodanddrink.
The full list of categories are:
Best Restaurant for a Special Occasion: The winner of this category will serve excellent food and have that elusive ‘wow’ factor to help you celebrate in style at lunchtime and the evening.
Best Restaurant for Everyday Dining: Nominations are invited for venues that serve good food at lunchtime and the evening, offering a more formal dining experience than a café.
Best Pub: The judges are looking for a community-focused pub that serves up a range of good food and drink in a comfortable and relaxed environment.
Best Bar: The winner of this category will provide a diverse and creative drinks menu that has been created by knowledgeable staff.
Best Café: Venues that serve meals and drinks during the day in a comfortable and relaxed environment are eligible for this category.
Best Hot Beverage: The judges are looking for the best place to get a hot beverage to drink in or on the go.
Best Local Producer: Local businesses in St Albans District that produce or use raw ingredients in their food or drink products can be nominated for this category. Previous winners include brewers, bakers, cider makers, cheese producers and farmers.
Best Food & Drink Shop: Venues selling food or drinks of all types for people to purchase and take home are eligible for nomination.
Best Market Stall: Stallholders must have traded food or drink goods at Charter or Farmers’ Markets in St Albans or Harpenden at least six times in the last 12 months to be eligible for this category. The goods can be sold from a market stall or a catering van.
Best Takeaway: Venues that allow people to purchase food and/or beverages to be taken away to consume off site can be nominated for this category.
Best Place to Do Business: Nominations are sought for venues that provide facilities and support to business people to conduct meetings, facilitate remote working and support networking opportunities.
Most Family Friendly: The judges are looking for venues that go the extra mile for children and young people, by offering a varied children’s menu and making their experience more enjoyable.
Best Newcomer: Nominations are invited for a venue, person or business that began trading at any point since July 2017 and has acquired a positive reputation in local community.
Kate D’Arcy Award: This special award for customer service is in memory of Kate D’Arcy, a much-loved restaurateur who died in June 2010. Nominations are sought for a person who has exceeded normal expectations by providing outstanding service and delivering a faultless customer experience. Previous winners include waiting staff, restaurant owners and local campaigners. Any individual can be nominated.
Councillor Salih Gaygusuz, Portfolio Holder for Business and Community at St Albans City and District Council, said: “The St Albans Food and Drink Awards celebrate the food and drink establishments and producers in the District. We have a thriving food and drink scene with a great mix of cafés, restaurants, bars, pubs, markets stalls, shops and producers. We want to know which ones you think are the best. Simply nominate your favourites by filling in a form online.
“These awards not only give residents an opportunity to nominate their favourite food and drinks outlets, they also encourage businesses to improve their customer care and service levels.”
Category definitions should be checked closely before nominations are made as some have been changed since last year’s competition.
The Food & Drink Festival Steering Group will check that all the nominations received fall within the category definitions. All eligible businesses and individuals will be put to a public vote that will take place from Thursday 26 July to Sunday 26 August 2018. The results will be used to create a top three in each category. Members of the Steering Group will then visit these venues to moderate the finalists and decide on the winners.
The winners will be announced at a glittering Awards Dinner at Sopwell House Hotel on Monday 8 October.
The St Albans Food & Drink Festival will run from Wednesday 26 September to Monday 8 October. There will be plenty of events to attend across the district, including the CAMRA Beer Festival and the St Albans Festival on Sunday 30 September.