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Nominate now in the 2019 Kent Life Food & Drink Awards

PUBLISHED: 10:58 13 March 2019 | UPDATED: 10:58 13 March 2019

[choice of two pics]
Our venue for 2019 is the Ashford International Hotel

[choice of two pics] Our venue for 2019 is the Ashford International Hotel

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We are delighted to announce our seventh Food and Drink Awards and this year have 14 categories in which to make your nominations

Nominations are now being encouraged for the 2019 Kent Life Food & Drink Awards. The awards dinner will take place on 28 November 2019, from 6.30pm to midnight, at the Ashford International Hotel.

Our host once again will be Kent Life columnist and popular BBC Radio Kent producer and presenter, Andy Garland. He says: “The Kent Life Food and Drink Awards are one of the highlights of my year, I love meeting all the producers, venues and kitchen teams and am in constant awe of all the hard work that you all put in. Good luck everyone and remember – the results are nothing to do with me!”

The prestigious awards 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, restaurants, pubs and hoteliers.

All will be people who care about the countryside and the future of our local environment. The companies included will all be nominated by you, our wonderful 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, for example.

The nomination form is available in this issue and will be repeated next month. It is also available to complete online at: kentfda.co.uk, where you can read more about the awards and see pictures of last year’s winners.

Entries close on 30 September 2019. Our handpicked panel of high-profile judges, who all live and work in Kent, will then select a shortlist, kick-starting the independent judging process where finalists will be visited or interviewed to determine a worthy winner in each category.

Finalists will be invited to the prestigious awards ceremony to enjoy a Champagne reception and three-course meal with local wines and beer before finding out if they are a winner.

This is our seventh Food & Drink Awards and we are immensely proud to be able to offer you once again the opportunity to reward and recognise the deserving businesses within our local food and drink industry.

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.

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 by using #kentfda – similarly, if you are looking for nominations, please use this hashtag.

Nominate your Kent food and drink favourites online at kentfda.co.uk

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• NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR

Sponsored by FAS

This award is open to businesses that have started a new venture in the food and/or drink industry in the past 18 months. We want to know what impact it has made on the local community, success so far and plans for the future.

• INDEPENDENT CAFÉ/TEA ROOM OF THE YEAR

Sponsored by Perrys

Judges of this category will be looking for a café, garden centre, museum or farm affiliated venue that really meets the needs of its customers. Does it demonstrate

attention to diners both in terms of its food offering, atmosphere, information and variety of menu?

• INDEPENDENT FOOD & DRINK RETAILER

Sponsored by Canterbury Auction Galleries

The winner of this award will consistently show an expert knowledge and, like all our finalists, an unrivalled passion for their trade. It could be a deli, a wine or beer store, greengrocer, baker or something unique. They will likely support great local produce as well as from further afield.

• FOOD PRODUCT OF THE YEAR

This award celebrates the best home-grown or home-produced food products from the county, whether they are a literal cottage industry selling to its surrounding areas or a major UK brand created in Kent.

• BUTCHER OF THE YEAR

Most supermarket shoppers who start getting their meat from a butcher won’t go back to those open fridges filled with plastic trays. We want to hear about the butchers who create their own delicious dishes to cook at home, provide sage advice and who stock a wide range of unusual cuts and Kentish meats.

• DRINK PRODUCT OF THE YEAR

Sponsored by Sophie Mariette Consulting Ltd

With the rising popularity of gin and the craft beer revolution, the drinks industry is innovating and expanding in the county. This award honours those pushing the boundaries, whether at the bar or in the coffee shop.

• FARM SHOP OF THE YEAR

A successful farm shop must not only offer a range of produce in an accessible layout, but also work in partnership with local food producers in order to bring their customers the best seasonal produce, at its freshest best.

• FARMERS’ MARKET OF THE YEAR

The key to a good Farmers’ Market is not only the range of produce and the quality of the stalls but also the principles it supports. For example, does it work with other farmers? Is most of the produce sold there grown locally? Are the stallholders welcoming and knowledgeable and is the layout easy to navigate? Are any extras offered on a regular basis, such as cookery demonstrations or talks? Is it well advertised and is there good accessibility and parking?

• OUTSTANDING CUSTOMER SERVICE

Sponsored by Shepherd Neame

Nothing makes a business stand out more than excellent customer service, no matter the size of the company. So if staff at a food and/or drink venue consistently give you a warm welcome, go the extra mile and make you feel at your ease, vote for them here.

• FAMILY DINING OF THE YEAR

This is the place that never fails to keep the kids happy, without forgetting the parents. Do you know somewhere offering tasty, reasonably priced, nutritious children’s meals as well as facilities to keep the children entertained in a welcoming environment? Then tell us about it.

• PUB OF THE YEAR

Whether it’s the food, the drink, the good company or the strong role in the community (ideally, all of them) we want to find the best pubs in the county. Tell us why you love your favourite – it could be your local or one you are happy to travel miles to.

• CHEF OF THE YEAR

This award aims to recognise those chefs who show an exceptional awareness of produce and have the knowledge and expertise to use their ingredients to create sensational, seasonal menus – local sourcing is a bonus as always.

• RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR

Sponsored by Girlings Solicitors

The restaurant of the year will offer a fabulous dining experience, everything from ambience to the service and most importantly, the food. Are ingredients locally sourced? Is the drinks list local as well as international? Can staff tell you more about the food and drink if you ask? Whether it’s big or small, if it ranks high for fine dining, give it your vote.

• FOOD & DRINK HERO OF THE YEAR

This person will have made a lasting contribution to the food and drink community. It could be a celebrity, a critic, a barman, waiter or farmer who goes that extra mile to make a difference in the food and drink industry in Kent.

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