Entries now open for 2021 Suffolk Food & Drink Awards

The Leaping Hare

Restaurant of the Year 2020, The Leaping Hare at Wyken Vineyards -Carla and Kenneth Carlisle - Credit: Saragh Lucy Brown

Archant is pleased to announce today the 2021 Suffolk Food & Drink Awards - a celebration of the county's dedicated and passionate farmers, producers, bakers, makers, chefs, pubs, cafes and restaurants.

This is your chance to say thankyou to those businesses who you feel have gone over and above during lockdown. To shine a light on the people in the industry you think are putting Suffolk on the culinary map.

Visit the dedicated awards website for all the details you need to enter. The closing date is July 4, after which our panel of experts will begin judging, with the awards taking place on September 27, 2021.

Award categories 2021

The Face of Food and Drink 2021, Sponsored by Bidfood

This non- entry category recognises and individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the county’s food and drink sector. The winner could come from any part of the industry – a grower, producer, cook, restauranteur, retailer, educator or local food and drink champion. The judges will select someone who is an expert in their field, has a proven track record, inspires colleagues, educates and sets standards at which others aim to attain. This award winner is selected by judges using their industry knowledge. 

Our headline sponsor: Bidfood is focused on going the extra mile for its customers. Being the best is a key part of its ethos, and its focus is on delivering the best customer experience, making life easier and helping customers to grow. Bidfood is serious about service excellence and getting it right first time, and has invested in building an infrastructure that keeps the business close to its customers, offering a truly unique local service. 

Bidfood’s Stowmarket depot has a dedicated team working in partnership with local businesses, helping to support them in achieving their goals. The local food service provider employs over 200 local people and services over 2,500 customers across the east from Ipswich to Hunstanton. During the pandemic Bidfood has been busy supporting customers old and new in relaunching their businesses to ensure continued success.The hospitality industry changed and so did Bidfood, helping deliver Government Care packs to the community, and lateral flow testing kits to the education sector. Everyone had to adapt and Bidfood Stowmarket is proud to say it will continue to help any catering business that needs its help.  

Suffolk Salami

Pride of Suffolk 2020 sponsored by Marketplace amp - Suffolk Salami. L-R Ian Whitehead, Sarah Whitehead, Rebecca Miles, Sue Whitehead, Harriet Miles - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Best Product or Producer, Sponsored by Ashtons Legal

This award recognises the fantastic food and drink products being created within the county. Judges will be looking for a first-class product that demonstrates the manufacturer’s flair for creating, developing, and delivering a distinctive, successful and respected item, either as a stand-alone or as part of its brand. Manufacture of this will have been in Norfolk, although it is not essential that every ingredient is sourced from within the county’s borders.

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Our sponsor: Ashtons Legal employs over 350 people across East Anglia in its Bury St Edmunds, Cambridge, Ipswich and Norwich offices and in Leeds trading as Heslop & Platt. The firm meets a full range of business and private client needs both nationally and internationally, and boasts specialisms in the agriculture sector, French property law, franchising, regulatory and road transport, and personal and medical injury services.  Ashtons’ top tier agricultural team has been helping many local agricultural businesses, both large and small, for a long time. This includes assisting clients looking to diversify their business and undertake imaginative and worthwhile ventures contributing to the food chain. 

Best Newcomer, Sponsored by Bruni Erben

The award is open to any business or individual who has started a food and/or drink venture in the last three years. The 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 pioneering approach, strong performance over the past year, as well as the potential to flourish and be sustainable. Among the qualities the judges will be looking for are a dedicated effort to drive the business forward, potential and vision. 

Our sponsor: Bruni Erben is a leading supplier of glass, closures and machinery for the spirits, beverage, food, pharmaceutical and home fragrance markets. Founded in 1951, the company has developed and diversified, and today offers an extensive catalogue of stock items, boasts a design team delivering world-class expertise and yielding extraordinary results with bespoke products, and industry-leading technical support.


Best Coffee/Tea Shop 2020 sponsored by Castlemeadow Care -Cotado Espresso Bar. Richard Aslett and Eva Moscrop celebrating their award - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Cafe, Coffee or Tea Shop of the Year, Sponsored by Castlemeadow Care

The judges will look for a café, coffee or teashop in Suffolk which is able to create an outstanding customer experience – a warm welcome, high quality tea and/or coffee plus a range of other drinks, tasty food made from fresh, local produce, all served with an excellent level of customer service. Judges will be impressed by a relaxed, comfortable ambience, originality, an imaginative menu and aspects which make the café or tea shop special. 

Our sponsor: Castlemeadow Care is an award-winning Norfolk-based company that owns and operates care homes and a retirement village across Norfolk and Suffolk. Founded in 1999, it provides residential, dementia and nursing care. Extending further into Suffolk with Highfield House Care Home, the company is continuing to expand as the chosen healthcare provider to design, build and operate a new healthcare village in Halesworth. Castlemeadow Care is passionate about giving back and being part of the wider community, actively sponsoring a variety of great local causes while, on a world wide level, building schools in Sierra Leone.  

Food and Drink Innovation, Sponsored by Cory Brothers

This award is looking for a pioneer product, service, community, business or person within the food and drink industry. The winner of this award will use data, marketing and creative solutions effectively to deliver a food or drink product or service within Suffolk.

Our sponsor: Established in 1842, Cory Brothers Shipping Agency provides vast experience for all your international freight moves: imports and exports. Specialising in food, drink and ingredients the business offers a full menu of services tailored to your needs and wants. For perishables, ambient, frozen, canned, Tetra packed or loose. From origin to destination. They'll get it delivered on time and within budget. With offices throughout the UK, in the USA and Singapore, plus a global network of partners, Cory Brothers appreciates how important your supply chain is. 

Chef of the Year- Sam Sturman -The Brewers at Rattlesden Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Chef of the Year Sam Sturman at The Brewers, Rattlesden. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Chef of the Year, Sponsored by Fisher & Woods

This prestigious award is open to chefs who are currently working within the Suffolk food and drink industry. Competitors may come from all areas of the hospitality business, including hotels, restaurants, pubs, contract catering, fine dining, private and public sectors. This will recognise the close link of fine food with using the best of local produce.
Readers, businesses and chefs are able to nominate in this category. We will then contact all chefs to submit a formal entry with the hope of reaching a live cook-off. 

Our sponsor: Fisher & Woods was founded on over 50 years’ experience within the fresh produce industry. As well as the very finest fresh fruit and vegetables, Fisher & Woods’s customers are able to choose from a variety of dairy products, artisan cheeses, and a delicatessen range. With a strong focus on local and UK growers, the business also imports daily from France and across the globe. Fisher & Woods expects its clients to expect the best, so always makes sure they receive the finest quality produce as standard. This means that each client enjoys a bespoke offering and a personal relationship with Fisher & Woods, ensuring they receive their goods at the right price, when they want them.

Pub of the year 2020

Pub of the Year 2020, The Greyhound & TwentyOne . Damien Pearce and Jack Couzens - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Pub of the Year, Sponsored by Freshpac

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 for their restaurant and/or bar menu. Common to all finalists will be great standards of customer service and understanding of their market, technical expertise in sourcing and providing a good range and standard of drinks – both alcoholic and non-alcoholic – plus a sense of character that makes a visit to these pubs enjoyable and memorable.

Our sponsor: With over 40 years’ experience Freshpac brings you the complete coffee, tea and catering package from its roastery based in Suffolk. Established in 1979 by husband-and-wife team Gerald and Queenie Salter, Freshpac is a family-run business with now two generations of Salters involved. It offers a range of speciality blended coffee roasted in-house, teas, cafe indulgence collections, tableware, soft drinks, cleaning products and much more. Freshpac also provides machine options to rent, lease or purchase, which can be viewed and demonstrated in the purpose built showroom. An experience-led crew of engineers are on hand to install, service and repair machines and an in-house delivery fleet ensures your products arrive on time, every time.

Casual Restaurant of the Year

Nominees will be accepted for casual restaurants across Suffolk which have the ability to create a relaxed and inclusive dining experience. The menu will be varied, using local fresh produce and be served with an excellent level of customer service.   

Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year, Sponsored by MAD-HR Ltd

Nominees will be accepted for exceptional restaurants across Suffolk which have the ability to create an unforgettable dining experience, cooked to a degree of excellence using fresh, local produce combined with an unsurpassed level of customer service, demonstrating and understanding the diners’ expectations. Judges will be looking for a fine-dining restaurant that has impeccable levels of customer satisfaction and menus which inspire and take diners on a taste sensational journey. 

Our sponsor: MAD-HR is an award-winning HR consultancy, delivering expert-led support on all employee, performance and team development issues. With offices across Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex, the company’s highly experienced team help businesses achieve productivity, profitability, and people satisfaction. MAD-HR works with clients of all sizes, and at any stage in their entrepreneurial journey, and is extremely passionate about supporting the professional needs of those within the food and drink, and hospitality sectors.

Outstanding Front of House

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 drink matching will be expected as well as a personable approach that complements the establishment and really enhances the visit. This category seeks to recognise an often overlooked yet extremely important sector of the hospitality industry, and nominations should be for teams/organisations but can also name specific individuals within that. 

Two Magpies

Best Independent Food and Drink Retailer 2020, sponsored by East of England Co-op -Two Magpies Bakery, Jasmin Eagle (duty manager) - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Best 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. Judges will be looking for innovation in products and presentation, as well as any added facilities the retailer has to offer.
This category is open to farmshops, markets and retailers. 

Our sponsor: The East of England Co-op, the largest independent retailer in the region, has been serving local communities across Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex for over 150 years.  
Providing food stores and specialist services, such as funerals, security and travel, as well as a significant property portfolio, the East of England Co-op is owned by over 260,000 members. Renowned for its support of local food and drink producers, with the multi-award winning Sourced Locally initiative, the East of England Co-op believes in sharing its success and giving back to the people and communities of our region.  

Young Chef of the Year, Sponsored by Bidfood

This category recognises the talents of a growing number of young people forging careers in the Suffolk hospitality industry, and seeks to encourage excellence and ambition. This prestigious award is open to young chefs who are currently working within the Suffolk food and drink industry. Competitors may come from all areas of the hospitality business, including hotels, restaurants, pubs, contract catering, fine dining, private and public sectors. This will recognise the close link of fine food with using the best of local produce.

Readers, businesses and chefs are able to nominate in this category. The Food and Drink Awards team will then contact all chefs to submit a formal entry with the hope of reaching a live cook-off.