Time to enter the EDP Norfolk Food and Drink Awards 2014 - and here’s how you can
- Credit: Angela Sharpe Photography
It's time to let your foodie favourite taste success as we launch the EDP Norfolk Food and Drink Awards 2014, in association with the East of England Co-Op. This is your chance to tell us just who you think deserves recognition as a winner in our prestigious county-wide awards.
If you had to sum up the best of Norfolk or pinpoint an individual you think has made a truly outstanding contribution to the county's food industry, what would be your suggestion?
The awards begin with you and your nominations - our readers have great taste and know the county's food and drinks offering well, so it is over to you to share your first-hand knowledge of the people, places and products that are at the top of their game this year. Tell us your best kept food secret - do you know the best baker, a brilliant chef or a fabulous ingredient or product that no kitchen should be without?
Do you know a front of house team who deliver outstanding customer service every time and can you tell us who deserves to be crowned winner of this year's Outstanding Achievement Award?
If you are part of the county's food scene yourself - whether you are a food producer, in the hospitality industry, or an upcoming young chef and food entrepreneur - this is the time to put shyness to one side and to tell us how proud you are to be one of Norfolk's finest. We welcome self-nominations from those who believe they are offering something special and would like to see their talent, produce, staff and business recognised by the awards.
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Each category has been sponsored by a respected name in the county's food, drink and hospital industry or in a business that supports this important sector of our economy. Their support helps to give these awards such value and respect from within the industry as well as from the customers whose nominations are so important at this very start of the process.
Your nominations of through to our special panel of experts and independent judges, who then search out those nominees who have really made an impact. The finalists will be announced in the last summer and be invited to a gala awards ceremony at the Norfolk Showground in September, where the worthy winners of this year's awards will be revealed.
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The awards run alongside this year's Norfolk Food and Drink festival which is marking its 10th anniversary with a packed programme of mouth-watering events celebrating the cream of the county's produce, producers and hospitality industry.
It's easy to enter
All you have to do to enter your favourite in this year's EDP Norfolk Food and Drink Awards, in association with East of England Co-Op, is to visit the website www.norfolkfada.co.uk. Here you will be able to choose which categories you would like to enter - you can make nominations in one, some or all of the categories.
We have also included the criteria (which appears on the pages following here too) so that you can be sure that your nominee has the right credentials to have a chance of being chosen.
You have until Sunday, June 22 to get in your entries before nominations close. The judging process will begin shortly after.
And we'd love you to be part of the Twitter conversation about the awards, so hashtag any of your tweets #norfolkfada. Let's hear it for the best of Norfolk!
Field to Fork
Sponsored by Easton and Otley College
Judges are looking for individuals or businesses with the ability and vision to produce and market quality food products in this region. These are growers and producers who are passionate about what they do and who have the talent and skill to grow, develop and market an outstanding and commercially scalable food product. They also need to show environmental credentials and demonstrate contribution to the local community.
Outstanding Front of House
Sponsored by Broadland Wineries
Judges in this category will be looking for the level of front of house provision that makes a truly enjoyable visit to the restaurant, hotel, café or pub. Understanding and anticipating customers' needs, good knowledge of menus, dishes, provenance of ingredients and of drink matching will be expected and a personable approach that complements the establishment and really enhances the visit will be sought. This category seeks to recognise an often overlooked yet extremely important sector of the hospitality industry, and nominations will be accepted for teams or individuals.
Best School Food Project
Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association
This award showcases the best in food education, provision and innovation across the county's schools. Nominations will be accepted for whole school or individual class projects encouraging interest and involvement in growing and using produce, and school-based food schemes that have involved the wider community. It will also consider nominations of outstanding teaching and support staff, partnerships, pupils and school volunteers who have demonstrated a commitment to developing an understanding of food production, preparation and cookery.
Sponsored by Norse
Beautiful Baking reflects our love of this most traditional and yet so of-the-moment skill. We shall be seeking nominations across the range of brilliant bakeries around Norfolk that serve their communities with the finest breads, cakes, pastries and pies. And reflecting the important place in our county's eating out offering, we will be hoping to see nominations of fabulous cafes and tea shops, which have creative, top quality baking at their heart of their menus. This category is looking for bakers, patisserie chefs and cake-makers extraordinaire with a talent for creating delicious delights that underline the importance of great British baking today.
The Pride of Norfolk Award
Sponsored by Bernard Matthews
This award aims to highlight the product or brand which is best demonstrating the excellence of Norfolk food and drink production to the UK or even further afield. Judges will be considering those which are respected brand leaders nationally, whether in terms of produce, product or full brand range, and which instill a real sense of pride in the county.
Outstanding Achievement Award
Sponsored by Hansells Solicitors and Financial Advisers
This award recognises an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the local food industry as long as they grow, produce, cooker, serve, sell or educate anything to do with food. The judges will be looking for someone who is an expert in their chosen field, has a proven track record, inspires colleagues, educates the young and sets standards others aim to emulate.
Chef of the Year
Sponsored by City College Norwich
This prestigious award is open to chefs who are working within Norfolk. Competitors may come from all areas of the hospitality business, including hotels, restaurants, pubs, contract catering, fine dining, private and public sectors.
Now find out berlow why the fabulous sponsors who are helping to make the EDP Norfolk Food and Drink Awards 2014 happen are so pleased to be part of this great celebration of our county.
Hansells Solicitors and Financial Advisers is the sponsor of the Outstanding Achievement Award.
Roger Holden, managing partner, says: 'Norfolk is home to some of the finest food and drink in the country. Acting for clients in food, farming and hospitality, Hansells actively supports this industry across the region. The premier Outstanding Achievement Award, sponsored by Hansells for the past three years in a row, celebrates an individual's commitment, dedication and passion towards Norfolk's food and drink industry. We are look forward with much excitement in choosing a winner to join the likes of Richard Hughes and Steve Thorpe on the prestigious roll of honour.'
City College Norwich is sponsor of The Chef of the Year. Steve Thorpe, head of school at City College Norwich says: 'Being involved with the EDP Norfolk Food and Drink awards enables The Hotel School, as part of City College Norwich, to build on its relationships with potential employers and suppliers across the sector, which strengthens our links with a number of restaurants and suppliers across the region, enabling students to work alongside a number of key chefs and restaurateurs up to and including Michelin star chefs. The Hotel School is a great starting point on the food chain for people involved in the hospitality and catering.'
The East of England Co-Op is headline sponsor of this year's awards. Roger Grosvenor, executive officer - retail for the East of England Co-operative, says: 'We have seen sales of our 'Sourced Locally' range grow by 30pc year on year since we started in 2007, so it really is a key element of our business. Our approach was built on finding producers within a range of 30 miles of our stores, ensuring freshness, quality and value for money to our customers. Awards like these recognise the value of local food and drink to the regional economy, the environment and to consumers so we are delighted to support them in this way.'
Broadland Wineries is sponsoring a new category, Outstanding Front of House. Ben Cameron, Broadland Wineries' marketing manager, says: 'Broadland Wineries is thrilled to be involved in the celebration of our county's finest food and drink. Delicious ingredients, fantastic customer service and unforgettable experiences are just a few of the gems found in many Norfolk establishments. We cannot wait to unearth and acknowledge Norfolk's best Front of House.'
The Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association is again sponsoring Best School Food Project. RNAA chief executive Greg Smith says: 'Norfolk is distinctive in many ways and its diverse and innovative food and drink industry, in its widest sense, reflects this. Encouraging the next generation to embrace this distinctiveness, understand the link between farming and food and to enjoy its preparation is our aim. We are delighted to support this award again in 2014.'
Norse is the sponsor of the Beautiful Baking category this year. Terrance Isaac-Griffiths, commercial director at Norse Commercial Services, says: 'I am bowled over by Norfolk's abundance of superb produce and focus on local supply. We are fanatical about baking at Norse Catering and our teams take great pride in their delicious breads, cakes and pastries so sponsoring this category is an exciting opportunity to share our passion for beautiful baking.'
Once again Bernard Matthews is sponsoring The Pride of Norfolk award. David Joll, executive chairman at Bernard Matthews, says: 'As an iconic food business we are looking for next generation of food producers who are going to put the county on the map. This might be through a great product, a great brand or inspirational leadership from someone who is passionate about Norfolk and is helping to spread the word beyond the county's borders.'
And Easton and Otley College is sponsor of the Field to Fork category. Vice principal of Easton and Otley College, Clive Bound, says: 'We are delighted to once again be supporting this great occasion that seems to grow in prestige every year. First and foremost we are a land-based college, so food production and farming is very close to our hearts. All in all, any awards that recognise hard work, creativity, talent and dedication are characteristics we strongly recognise as an organisation - so we are proud to be sponsoring the food and farming Field to Fork category and equally proud to be associated with these great awards.'