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Kent Life Food & Drink Awards 2018: meet the sponsors

PUBLISHED: 11:31 23 July 2018 | UPDATED: 17:10 23 July 2018

Meet our sponsors

Meet our sponsors


Meet the sponsors for each category in the sixth Kent Life Food & Drink Awards and their views on why these Awards are so important

Our category sponsorsOur category sponsors

Click here to nominate in this year’s Kent Life Food & Drink Awards! Nominations close 6th August


• Newcomer

Sponsor: Illuminate Skin Clinics

Tell us about your business

Illuminate is a leading medical skin and wellness clinic, based in Kings Hill. We specialise in confidence and wellbeing, helping our patients to look and feel the best they possibly can in their skin.

Why support the Awards?

We are proud to be part of Kent’s business community and have been well supported on our own path. Encouraging hardworking local businesses to flourish only makes Kent stronger as a community. By sponsoring the awards we hope we are helping to encourage more and more thriving and wonderful food and drink businesses, which we will love exploring!

What qualities are you seeking?

A real passion and drive for using local ingredients in their product or service. Whether they are producing something or delivering a service, we want to see them embracing all that Kent has to offer and pushing hard to make themselves stand out and bring something different and new to the Kentish food and drink scene.

Why should readers nominate?

They owe it to themselves to shout about an outstanding experience they’ve had. If you’ve visited somewhere or sampled a product and love it enough, you’ll want it to be successful.

• Customer Service

Sponsor: Canterbury Auction Galleries

Tell us about your business

We are proud to be known as Kent’s leading fine Art auctioneers, established in 1911 and still in continuous operation from our own purpose-built auction galleries in Canterbury. We run six two or three-day auctions a year, including a vast range of fine art and antiques, silver and jewellery, clocks and watches, coins and medals, etc, with most of our entries drawn from clients across Kent and the South East. We also sell to buyers across the world via our traditional auctions and our own internet bidding platform.

Why support the Awards?

Our business covers the whole of our wonderful county and although our auctions are about the sale of objects, we are all about dealing with people from all walks of life and visiting our many clients across Kent as well as meeting collectors and buyers from around the world is a real joy. It is important for local businesses to connect and promote what is great about living and working in Kent.

What qualities are you seeking?

No matter how good your shop, restaurant or pub looks, or how good your product is, good customer service is at the core of your success as it will make you stand out from the crowd. It is your customers who will remember and recommend their friends and family based on how well they were treated, as well as the quality of the product or service received. The winners will be those who go ‘that extra mile’ for their customers.

• Independent Food & Drink Retailer

Sponsor: Financial Advice & Services

Tell us about your business

FAS is a Kent-based firm of Chartered Financial Planners, established since 1991, providing independent holistic advice to individual and corporate clients across London and the South East. With offices in Folkestone and Maidstone, we offer a bespoke personal service to those clients looking for a long-standing relationship with a professional, friendly advisory practice.

Why support the Awards?

It is a fabulous opportunity to really help put a place to eat/drink on the map or boost the sales of a local product by highlighting it to a much wider audience across the county. This is a great way to show our support for businesses, to help develop the local economy and increase employment in Kent. There is nothing more satisfying than saying ‘thank you’ by giving someone the recognition they deserve and showing appreciation for what they do.

What qualities are you seeking?

Good use of locally sourced Kentish produce, the ability to demonstrate a level of expertise, originality with a creative flair and an appreciation for quality.

• Product/Producer

Sponsor: La De Da Boutique

Tell us about your business

La De Da is a boutique specialising in unique ladies’ clothing and accessories. We have three stores – in Deal, Herne Bay and Broadstairs – and have recently launched our website.

Why support the Awards?

Being a local business ourselves we wanted to support an award that recognises the talent and creativity that the food and drink industry in Kent has to offer and the hard work that is required to make a successful businesss.

What qualities are you seeking?

Individuality, quality and something that appeals to the wider market, putting Kent firmly on the food and drink industry map. Above all we’ll be looking for passion in the winner’s approach to their business and how they are firmly establishing themselves in a competitive industry.

• Farmers’ Market

Sponsor: Shepherd Neame

Tell us about your busines

Britain’s oldest brewer, Shepherd Neame is an independent family business with more than 300 pubs and hotels throughout London and the South East, from the historic heart of the City to the Kent coastline. Perhaps best known for traditional Kentish ales such as Spitfire, Bishops Finger and Master Brew, Shepherd Neame brews a number of international lagers under licence and continues to invest in expanding its own portfolio. Recent introductions have included Five Grain Lager, Spitfire Gold and Spitfire Lager, along with the popular Whitstable Bay Collection.

Why support the Awards?

Kent is known as the Garden of England on account of its abundance of wonderful fruit, vegetables and, of course, hops. Increasingly, it might also qualify for the title of Kitchen of England, owing to the extraordinary array of food and drink producers, chefs and restaurateurs who have capitalised upon the county’s reputation by setting up shop here. As one of Kent’s oldest companies and one that relies heavily on local produce, we feel it is important to champion our fellow food and drink producers.

What qualities are you seeking?

They should be knowledgeable and passionate about local food and drink and demonstrate great relationships with local producers.

• Family Dining

Sponsor: Speciality Breads

Tell us about your business

We are artisan bakers based in Margate, creators and purveyors of more than 100 different types of breads and sweet bakes, all bearing the Red Tractor seal of approval. In 2012 we were appointed to be the chosen bakers to the London Olympics, putting us – and Margate – firmly on 
the ‘foodie’ map.

Why support the Awards?

The Awards bring together the very best of Kent. We have some of the finest food producers in the land and it 
is important that we celebrate and share the best our county has to offer.

What qualities are you seeking?

We’re looking for businesses that take the time to source the best produce in Kent, add skill plus a healthy helping of originality and then serve in an environment that is fun for young, old and those in the middle. We are particularly seeking menus with quality food offerings that appeal to little ones and help encourage a lifelong understanding of the importance of good food.

• Best Chef

Sponsor: The Foxhunter Park

Tell us about your busines

We are an independent family owned business and have run The Foxhunter holiday park since 1979. We offer luxury lodges for sale on our new Willow Brook development and contemporary holiday homes for sale. We also have holiday homes and lodges to hire for family holidays.

Why support the Awards?

Kent’s diversity of business activity attracts visitors and the passion we show for our individual business is of mutual benefit to us all.

What qualities are you seeking?

Apart from being an excellent chef, we are looking for an enthusiastic approach to and understanding of our county and its culinary resources, plus an informed, passionate, engaged relationship with their audience.

• Best Restaurant

Sponsor: Perrys Accountants

Tell us about your business

Perrys is a dynamic firm of chartered accountants with offices in London and across Kent, offering no-nonsense business, tax and accounting advice to the SME community in the region.

Why support the Awards?

Kent has a rich history in offering quality of both produce and service across the whole food and drink industry. It is important to support those who work so hard in all areas of the industry.

What qualities are you seeking?

The winner should provide an excellent, all-round dining experience with high quality of food and service and source their ingredients locally from other like-minded producers.

• Best Pub

Sponsor: Clive Emson Land & Property Auctioneers

Tell us about your business

Clive Emson Auctioneers was founded almost 30 years ago to supply a high-profile auctioneering facility for land

and property to all aspects of the property world, from first-time buyer to the seasoned professional or corporate.

Why support the Awards?

A fair few of the entrants are running their own businesses and may not have the advertising budgets to show the wonderful service, products and fabulous outlets that are available in Kent with such great varieties. We as a firm started in Kent 30 years ago and without the support of other businesses within the area would not have been nearly as successful as we have become. Consequently, when there is an opportunity to help other firms within Kent it is a great way to promote them, especially as in some cases they are very new.

What qualities are you seeking?

The pub industry over the past few years has changed a fair amount with the level of service and variety drinks and diversity of food available growing dramatically. Hopefully the winner will show that they have changed with the times and offer great service and make their customers feel welcome, with one of the main things being the atmosphere and welcome from front-of-house staff. Pubs have always been one of the main centres of the community, which hopefully will be shown when the judges go along

• Food and Drink Hero

Sponsor: Hadlow Group

Tell us about your business

Comprising Hadlow College, West Kent and Ashford College, Betteshanger Sustainable Parks, Hadlow Rural Community School, Saplings Pre-School & Nursery and Rosemary Shrager’s Cookery School, the Hadlow Group is an innovative £52m fully commercial educational group, with an emphasis on educational excellence linked to sustainable business practices. Through Hadlow College, one of Britain’s leading land-based colleges, rated Ofsted ‘Outstanding’, the Group is heavily involved with the county’s rural community and a major sponsor of the Kent County Show every year.

Why support the Awards?

As a rural college in the Garden of England, Hadlow has a vital role in supporting the Kent agri-food industry. Two of our key curriculum areas are focused on the foundations of the food-supply chain, with our students ultimately responsible for what is served on people’s plates. We take our responsibility to champion Kent produce seriously, being a co-partner in Produced in Kent, and know how critical it is to support the businesses that our catering students at West Kent College and apprentices at Rosemary Shrager’s Cookery School will ultimately go on to work with.

What qualities are you seeking?

It would be exciting to see a winner who has demonstrated a willingness to take risks to really challenge the status quo in the industry, a community minded business that has changed people’s perceptions with a unique ethos. This, coupled with a long-term dedication to the pursuit of quality, would be the perfect attributes of a winner.

What happens next?

Nominations closed on 6 August and each judge will now visit the three candidates in their category and make their decision on the 2018 winner. ll the finalists will be featured in the October edition of Kent Life.

The 12 winners in each category will be announced at the Kent Life Food & Drink awards taking place on Monday 15 October 2018 at The Ashford International Hotel,


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