Friday 24th November 2017
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It is our busiest time of the year for our Taste of Excellence Awards.

The end of August saw the deadline for nominations from our readers and visitors to eateries across the county and this year has been a bumper year for us. We are close to almost 12,000 votes for over 1,200 venues and businesses across the county, which is an exceptional amount. Our online voting system has come into its own this year, and it has been great to see many of the venues using social media to promote themselves to their many visitors. Our awards offer businesses across the county to get involved; there is no form filling out for the owners, just a nudge in the right direction for your customers. We are proud that our awards reflect what the customers feel are their best choices.

We have released the names of our top nominated businesses in each category and will be inviting them to our awards evening on Thursday 3rd November at the Oaklands Hall Hotel. With fantastic food and entertainment we know it will be another successful year.

Our charity of the year this year is the Military Wives Choir. Lincolnshire is home to the armed forces; with so many stations still in operational order, we feel it fitting to give something back to them. The Military Wives Choir exists to support the wives and girlfriends of service personnel. These are the people who offer them the greatest support and we look forward to raising money on their behalf on the night. Last year we raised over £1,000 towards the Bomber Command Memorial in Lincoln.

We have a busy couple of months ahead, with our Chef and Young Chef of the Year competitions taking place in October. Our judges will also be out and about around the county judging the finalists in each category.

We understand our awards would be nothing without you, our readers, and venues across the county who promote the best in food, drink and hospitality by taking part in the Taste of Excellence Awards. Last year we were asked if we could include a Long Service award on behalf of one of our finalists, which we were more than happy to oblige. Edward Herring from Washingborough Hall said: “The Taste of Excellence Awards were the first event of this type we had ever attended. I immediately felt it was a great opportunity to publicly thank and praise one particular long serving member of staff, much in the same way the Lincolnshire Agricultural Society presents ‘Long Service Awards’ to workers in the agricultural community, at the annual Lincolnshire Show.

“The hospitality industry is a massive contributor to the Lincolnshire economy and I suspect there are a great many long serving employees within it – these workers should be publicly acknowledged for their service and the awards ceremony is the perfect opportunity in which to do this.”
2016 has been a huge year for celebrations and we have decided to extend those to our awards. Not only did we celebrate with the Queen on her 90th birthday, we have also celebrated 100 years of RAF bases in the county. With this in mind we will be taking you back in time to the era of the Glenn Miller Orchestra, Vera Lynn and Gracie Fields and will be hosting our very first Black Tie Street Party. With entertainment from The DreamBelles, bunting and a tasty array of dishes with a modern twist you will feel like you’ve stepped back in time.

MEET OUR SPONSORS
Lincolnshire Life is proud to announce just a few of our sponsors for the Taste of Excellence Food & Drink Awards 2016.

Freshtime – Sponsor of the Chef of the Year category
Fresthime, which employs 350 people at its site on Boston’s Riverside Industrial Estate, provides prepared vegetables, snacks and salads to leading supermarkets and multi-nationals as well as restaurants and other food service industries.

Managing director Mark Newton said the Freshtime team is delighted to be involved in the event and help raise the profile of the Lincolnshire food and drink industry. 

“The reason we chose to support the Chef of the Year category is because it is more in keeping with our values,” explains Mark.

“We have our own in house chefs here, who do an awful lot of work to create new recipes and we just felt this award fitted well with our own ethos.”

Oaklands Hall Hotel
Set in a private estate built in 1877, the Best Western Oaklands Hall Hotel, Grimsby is nestled in five acres of beautiful Lincolnshire parkland between the Lincolnshire Wolds and the River Humber. Perfect for exploring the beautiful surrounding countryside, the historic city of Lincoln, the busy port town of Grimsby, the seaside resort of Cleethorpes, and the emerging city of Hull.

Head Chef Steve Bennett said: “It’s important that the industry promotes personal development for young and upcoming chefs as well as the aspiration of young people wanting to step into this exciting trade. Young chefs need to grasp opportunities such as these awards as they’re a great way to showcase their passion and skills for their work in the professional kitchen. There’s currently a huge national shortage of chefs and it’s so important for us to try and inspire young people to step into such an exciting and rewarding trade. As a chef for over 20 years I’m a huge ambassador of supporting young chefs stepping into the trade and giving opportunities and transferring skills where possible.”

House of Townend – sponsor of the Restaurant of the Year category
House of Townend was established in 1906, and has remained in the ownership of the same family for over 100 years.

For four generations they have built direct relationships with some of the finest wine producers in the world. Their buying emphasis lies firmly with the smaller, quality led, and often family owned, wine estates and domaines who possess like-minded philosophies. Whilst the traditional wine producer is an important part of their portfolio, they work hard at being at the cutting edge of the wine world, seeking out the new star performers, ensuring they get into the supply chain before they become renowned and obtaining supplies becomes impossible. Their wines are therefore individual and hand crafted, providing you with quality and great taste.

Heart of Gold – sponsor of the Tea/Coffee Shop of the Year category
Lovingly made on a farm where people care about tradition and craft, and where they love to keep your food miles low. Only oilseed rape that’s grown in the beautiful Vale of Belvoir is allowed into Heart of Gold oil.

Our fields are less than a mile from the pressing room. The seeds are cold pressed with care and attention and filtered for extra purity, giving our oil a fresh, wholesome taste you’ll adore. It’s a simple, age-old process that ensures you can enjoy a 100% natural, beautiful golden oil.

Lindsey James LadiesWear – sponsor of the Wedding Venue of the Year category
With over twenty years in her store at The Oak in Heckington, Lindsey James owner Jan Palmer has plenty of experience finding the right outfit for any occasion. “I have always been interested in design,” Jan explained, “and my first priority was always to find fashion which would really suit my customers. I consider fashion to be an investment for your wardrobe and I have always bought with quality, originality and occasion in mind.” With over twenty-five different collections, plus a dedicated hat section, Lindsey James can help with your full outfit.