Voting open now for the Eat Suffolk Food and Drink Awards 2020

Winners of the eatsuffolk Food and Drink Awards 2019 Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Winners of the eatsuffolk Food and Drink Awards 2019 Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

You have until December 1 to nominate your favourite pubs, cafes, restaurants, chefs and shops.

Voting is officially open for the Eat Suffolk Food and Drink Awards 2020.

The prestigious event moves, for the first time, next year to a new venue of The Apex in Bury St Edmunds, with the ceremony due to take place on Monday, April 27.

We also have a brand new headline sponsor - Bidfood.

So now is your chance to get those all-important votes in. We want to know about all the people and businesses you feel deserve to be shouted about. Maybe your favourite local pub. A restaurant you love. A café serving what you think are the best cakes ever.

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Votes can be cast across the following categories:

Restaurant of the Year- sponsored by Caribbean Blinds

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A restaurant or eatery in Suffolk which has the ability to create an outstanding dining experience, cook to a degree of excellence using fresh, local produce and provide an excellent level of customer service. Judges will be impressed by technical expertise, customer service, relaxed, comfortable ambience and an imaginative menu.

Pub of the Year - sponsored by G&G Gallo

Nominees are accepted for fantastic pubs across Suffolk which have created a distinct and high quality offering for their customers- both traditional drinking pubs and those that have built a reputation with their restaurant and/or bar menu. Common to all finalists will be great standards of customer service and understand of their market, technical expertise in sourcing and providing a good range and standard of drinks, plus a sense of character that makes a visit memorable.

Pride of Suffolk- sponsored by Marketplace Amp

This award recognises a product or brand that the county is proud to call its own by demonstrating the excellence of food and drink production within Suffolk or even further afield. Judges will consider those which are respected brand leaders beyond the counter borders, whether in terms of produce, product or full brand range, and which instil a real sense of pride in the county

Young Chef of the Year - sponsored by Bidfood

Judges are looking for a keen chef, new to the industry, who demonstrates a passion for hospitality, a love of local ingredients and a flair for creating dishes which taste delicious.

Chefs will be asked to submit a menu with judges shortlisting their favourites and with those cooks attending a live cook-off in 2020.

Chef of the Year - sponsored by Fisher & Woods

This prestigious award is open to chefs who are working within Suffolk, who demonstrate excellence in their profession and a commitment to supporting the county's food and drink producers through their menus. Competitors should come from all areas of the hospitality business. Chefs will be invited to submit a three course menu suitable for a special occasion for four guests with an allowance of £12 set per cover. Judges will shortlist the chefs they would like to take to the next stage of the competition from their submitted menu and these will be asked to attend a cook-off, preparing their menu for our panel of judges.

Best Independent Food and Drink Retailer- sponsored by East of England Co-op

This award recognises retailers who combine vision, a passion for high quality products and freshness of local produce. Marks will be awarded for clear, well laid out shops which offer a wide variety of great products, and for staff who demonstrate memorable standards of customer care, product knowledge and service.

Field to Fork - sponsored by Ashtons Legal

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 skills to grow, develop and market an outstanding and commercially scalable food product.

Best Coffee/Tea Shop - sponsored by Castlemeadow Care

Judges are looking for a business which is able to create an outstanding customer experience - a warm welcome, high quality tea and/or coffee plus a range of other drinks, and tasty food made from fresh, local produce, all served with an excellent level of customer service.

Best Afternoon Tea- sponsored by The Suffolk Shutter Company

A new category for 2020 celebrating one of our most delightful traditions. Judges will be looking for the café, restaurant or hotel that offers an afternoon tea for customers which is a really pleasurable experience combining a super choice of sandwiches, cakes, scones, tea and more with a lovely atmosphere, great service and a touch of luxury.

Outstanding Front of House- sponsored by Prosper Hospitality

Judges in this category will be looking for the level of service that makes a truly enjoyable visit to the restaurant, hotel, café or pub. They will be impressed by the ability to understand and anticipate customers' needs, good knowledge of menus, dishes, provenance of ingredients and of drink matching, as well as a personable approach that complements the establishment and really enhances the visit.

Suffolk Food and Drink Hero

This award recognises an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to Suffolk's food industry - a grower, producer, cook, restaurateur, retailer, educator or local food and drink champion. Judges will be looking for someone who is an expert in their chosen field, has a proven track record, inspires colleagues and educates.

Best Newcomer - sponsored by The KBB Centre

This award is open to any business or individual who has started a food and/or drink venture in the last three years. Judges will be looking for an outstanding early stage business which has already become a success story or shows promise to become one. The winner will be a company which is able to demonstrate a strong performance over the past year, the potential to flourish and be sustainable.

You have until Sunday, December 1 to get those entries in here

After this time, our expert judges will shortlist your favourites, with four finalists in each category invited to our awards ceremony next April where the winners will be announced.

Happy voting!

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