Food firms contest awards

Food and drink businesses in and around Belper which have successfully made the shortlist for the county’s leading culinary awards have been announced.

Celebrity chef Simon Rimmer, star of Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch Programme, will present winners of Derbyshire County Council’s Derbyshire Food and Drink Awards with their awards during a celebration dinner at Chesterfield Football Club’s Proact Stadium on 23 January, 2014.

Finalists in nine of the eleven categories in the awards – sponsored by HSKS Greenhalgh Chartered Accountants and Business Advisors and Holdsworth – have now been announced.

Shortlisted entries include Café Nonno’s, Belper, Best International Restaurant; Fresh Ground, Belper, Café of the Year; Fresh Basil, Belper and Croots Farm Shop, Duffield, Best Derbyshire Breakfast; The Greyhound Inn, Belper, Best Family Friendly Venue and The Cross Keys, Belper and Nourish at No44, Belper, Best Newcomer.

Shortlisted entries in the remaining two categories – Local producer of the Year and Local Food Hero ¬– will be announced at a later date.

Councillor Joan Dixon, Derbyshire County Council Cabinet Member for Jobs, Economy and Transport, said: “As always the quality of entries for the Derbyshire Food and Drink Awards are of the highest quality.

“Derbyshire is fortunate to have some outstanding food and drink outlets – ranging from cafes and tea rooms to gastro pubs and restaurants – and our awards give them the recognition they deserve.

“It’s a very competitive line-up and I wish all shortlisted entries the very best of luck as they go forward to the judging stage.”

Entries are judged on a number of criteria including quality of food and drink served, customer service, use of county produce and acknowledgement of it on menus.

They are assessed by an independent panel of food specialists and each short-listed venue has a mystery shopper visit before final decisions are made.

Shortlisted entries in four categories – Restaurant of the Year, Gastro Pub of the Year, Best International Restaurant, and Best Newcomer – will be visited by experts from the Taste Derbyshire scheme and will be awarded bronze, silver or gold status.

Last year Fresh Basil won Best Derbyshire Breakfast, while Fresh Ground of Belper were runner-up in Café of the Year and Steve Croots from Croots Farm Shop in Duffield came second in the Local Food Hero of the Year category.