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Nominations OPEN for Kent Life's 2018 Food & Drink Awards

PUBLISHED: 12:37 30 April 2018 | UPDATED: 17:05 01 May 2018

Guests enjoyed a fabulous evening at Ashford International Hotel, our venue for the 2018 Awards (photo: Manu Palomeque)

Guests enjoyed a fabulous evening at Ashford International Hotel, our venue for the 2018 Awards (photo: Manu Palomeque)

Manu Palomeque 07977074797

Kent Life's sixth Food & Drink Awards are in full swing and we would like to encourage all readers to make their nominations in as many categories as they wish. Supported by our headline sponsor Clague Architects and associate sponsor, Neptune Canterbury

Nominate online: kentfda.co.uk

Nominations are now being encouraged for the 2018 Kent Life Food & Drink Awards. The awards dinner will take place on 15 October 2018, from 6.30pm to midnight, at Ashford International Hotel.

Our host once again will be Kent Life columnist and hugely popular BBC Radio Kent producer and presenter Andy Garland. Andy told Kent Life: “I’m delighted to be back hosting this amazing celebration of Kentish foodie delights.

“The passion from Kent’s producers never ceases to astound me. It’s a credit to all of them that, despite these uncertain times, their belief in their products and venues is unswerving.”

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, 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.

The nomination form is available on the opposite page 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 download a ‘nominate now’ poster.

Entries close on 6 August 2018. 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.

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

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

Nominate online at kentfda.co.uk

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The 12 categories

NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR

Sponsored by Illuminate Skin Clinics

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 FOOD & DRINK RETAILER

Sponsored by Financial Advice & Services

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.

PRODUCT/PRODUCER

This award recognises local producers whose passion for Kent produce is at the heart of their business. It’s open to all producers who demonstrate a real passion for our county’s food and drink.

CUSTOMER SERVICE

Sponsored by Canterbury Auction Galleries

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.

FARM SHOP OF THE YEAR

Sponsored by Umbermaster Kitchens

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

Sponsored by Shepherd Neame

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?

INDEPENDENT CAFÉ/TEA ROOM

Sponsored by Karen & Kim Introductions

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?

FAMILY DINING

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

Sponsored by The Foxhunter Park

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 Perrys Accountants

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

Sponsored by Hadlow Group

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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Kent Life Food & Drink awards. Open for entries.

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