‘Judges provide a service that allows opportunities to be recognised and flourish’

Group of people eating in a busy pub

Entries for the Pub of the Year and Taste of East of England Award categories at the East of England Tourism Awards 2021 are now open - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The East of England Tourism Awards 2021 are open for entries. Here we speak to the judges and sponsors of the Taste of East Anglia Award and the Pub of the Year categories. 

TASTE OF EAST OF ENGLAND AWARD

Dr Andy Wood OBE, DL, CEO of Adnams: 

Can you tell us a bit about your involvement in the tourism industry?  

I have worked in the industry for more than two decades and champion whenever I can, locally, nationally and internationally through my involvement with VisitEngland and VisitBritain. 

Why were you keen to get involved in the East of England Tourism Awards?  

To celebrate the contribution of the wonderful people who work in our industry. Food and drink businesses are engines of entrepreneurship, job creation, social mobility and a shop window for our region.  

Dr Andy Wood OBE, DL, CEO of Adnams

Dr Andy Wood OBE, DL, CEO of Adnams - Credit: Adnams

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What do you bring to the judging process?  

A passion for the East of England and for food, drink and service and experience of judging such awards a number of times.  

Most recently, I judged national awards for VisitEngland and saw some great businesses showcased. I know the East of England has many, many gems that I look forward to hearing about. It’s an outstanding learning experience. 

Have you ever been judged for an award yourself?  

On many occasions. Some successful, some unsuccessful, but always learning a great deal from every entry we’ve made.  

Do you have any anecdotes of food and beverage businesses that have blown you away?  

I have stories of heroics, brand building and social mobility. This sector is replete with great talent and is one of the last sectors where you could begin a career on the front-line and end up in the boardroom. 

What advice would you give to businesses that are considering entering this award?  

Take the time to enter. It is surprising the story you uncover about your own business. It is also a wonderful opportunity to learn and hear from others in our sector. 

PUB OF THE YEAR 

Gareth Hatton, associate director of Everard Cole:

Can you tell us a bit about your involvement in the tourism industry? 

Everard Cole is a firm of surveyors that specialise in the hospitality sector with the buying, selling and valuation of pubs, restaurants, hotels and hospitality businesses in the region.   

On a personal note, I have worked in the hospitality industry for 22 years, including pub and hotel management, hospitality recruitment and events management for a notable venue in Chelsea, London.  

I have been fortunate enough to have provided front of house services to a host of Royalty and celebrities, from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to Right Said Fred! 

What do you bring to the judging process? 

My job at Everard Cole is to appraise hospitality businesses, good and bad, so I am lucky to have an understanding and insight into the hospitality sector.  

I am very front of house orientated – due to my working background, so, I believe my past ‘hands on experience’ helps to better understand and highlight exactly what these businesses bring to the table, literally! 

Gareth Hatton, associate director of Everard Cole

Gareth Hatton, associate director of Everard Cole - Credit: Everard Cole

What have your previous experiences of judging been like? 

Judging is a privilege and provides a unique insight into the workings of a business. Never take the opportunity for granted. Judges provide a service that allows opportunities to be recognised and flourish. 

What advice would you give to a pub that’s considering entering this award? 

Make sure you highlight your key qualities and points of difference. Recognise your staff. What makes you unique and stand out from the crowd? 

As a customer we want to know about what we eat, where and how the produce is sourced. Tell me why I would want to visit you, instead of a similar pub that may be closer to me. Personally, I would quite happily drive 30/40 minutes to go to a pub that provided a point of difference and unique experience. 

The deadline for entries to the East of England Tourism Awards is midnight on October 3. To see the full list of categories and criteria visit www.tourismawards.co.uk 

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