Cumbria Life Food & Drink Awards 2019 – Open for entry!

People at the Cumbria Life Food & Drink awards

The food and drink industry’s biggest night of the year is returning.

The 2019 Cumbria Life Food & Drink Awards, in association with Armstrong Watson, and supported by Kendal College and Booths, take place on Thursday March 21 at Kendal College .

The awards have been refreshed for 2019 with an all-new judging panel of industry experts which has been assembled to choose the shortlists and winners across 15 categories (See below).

Businesses, managers or individuals may enter themselves or nominate someone else. Cumbria Life readers are also invited to nominate their favourites in any category for the Readers’ Choice award.

Online nominations/entries close on Friday Jan 4, 2018.

Shortlists of finalists in all categories will be decided by the judges based on a combination of reader nominations, business entries, personal and industry knowledge, and published awards, ratings, reviews and accreditations.

Finalists will be announced the week commencing Monday January 28.

To decide the winners, judges may request further information from finalists, or undertake further visits.

To sponsor a category please contact Caroline Dean, business development and sponsorship manager, on 01228 612627 or 07753 811684. The sponsorship package covers the January, February, March, April and May editions of Cumbria Life, digital activity, social media, and the awards event and dinner.

The 2019 categories

This award acknowledges the passion and dedication our county’s food producers, from small-scale traders to larger companies with national and even international reach. The judging criteria that unite this broad sector segment include integrity of sourcing and production, a differentiating offer, evidence of progression and evolution, and great tasting product(s).

This category celebrates the burgeoning innovation in Cumbria's drinks industry. From milkers, juicers and roasters through to infusers, brewers and distillers, this is a broad category representing a huge pool of talent. Judges will be looking for a producer whose passion for their product spills over into all aspects of their business practice. Judges will award the business whose product (or range) represents an inimitable, "trademark" taste and unfaltering commitment to quality, consistency and integrity.
This category hopes to identify and celebrate the "ones to watch" - innovative new products, derived or made in Cumbria, that have just hit the market but are paving the way for huge success. Put simply, judges will be looking for a product that tastes great. Finalists will be selected on the grounds of quality, over quirkiness. NB A "new" product is anything that has been launched since our 2018 awards (March 2018).
This award will recognise a wholesale or retail business whose specialist knowledge and skill is unique to their trade and to this area. Judges will acknowledge passionate understanding of the subject matter, a discerning approach, robustness of supply chain networks and quality/consistency of service.
Cumbria's rich farming heritage and cultural landscape are celebrated in this category, which acknowledges our primary producers and the vital work that they do. Judges will identify and acknowledge an individual or business that demonstrates innovative entrepreneurship, commitment to the evolution and promotion of the Cumbrian farming sector and a strong grounding in provenance, integrity and sustainability.
A new category for 2019, this award aims to encapsulate the evolving scene of dynamic pubs and watering holes popping up across our county. The winning venue could represent a particular theme, culture or experience, or may just be a perfect example of a typical Cumbrian boozer. Judges will assess the full experience, from the quality and selection of food/drink on offer, right through to the warmth of welcome, majoring on a truly convivial atmosphere.
This award recognises the achievements of the county's pub landlords and patrons who are operating at the highest level of food and drink excellence. Judges will reward menus that exude confidence, flair and individuality. Commitment to provenance, fastidious attention to detail and a truly professional approach to kitchen and customer service operations are essential.
Cumbria is a tourism hub awash with cafes but this category is seeking to acknowledge those establishments that offer our visitors and residents a country mile more than the average. Key judging criteria include home-cooked food, creative, inclusive menus, the art of making the perfect drink and the warmest of welcomes.
Conviviality, warmth, charm and individuality will be recognised in this category, which seeks to highlight our neighbourhood bistros and diners. Our judges are looking for the tastiest food and drinks, and a truly relaxed atmosphere. Seamless service, product knowledge and menus that are able to adapt to all tastes/diets will be rewarded.
It is a privilege for our judges to observe and honour individuals who dedicate their lives to the pursuit of culinary excellence. This category represents some of the most committed and passionate individuals in our hospitality industry, who work tirelessly to uphold a reputation for this county as a hub for exciting, bold and spectacular food. Judges will be looking for an individual demonstrating technical excellence, consistency of skill and talent, creative evolution and the ability to leave a lasting impression on diners.
The Cumbrian hotel restaurant scene is renowned, from the waterfront, country houses of the Lake District to the hidden gems nestled in our forests and hills, and our sleek, urban dining venues. Creating a restaurant to complement a hotel tastefully and adequately requires great skill and investment. This award recognises those landmark establishments whose food offer leaves a lasting impression on its guests and elevates a stay to an ultimately more luxurious, once-in-a-lifetime experience. Judges will be looking for the highest levels of hospitality professionalism and exquisitely-sourced, made and presented food.
The jewel in the crown of our annual awards, the 2019 restaurant of the year award will scour the depth and breadth of the restaurant scene in Cumbria to identify a venue that demonstrates the ability and vision to stand out from the rest. This will be a restaurant at the height of its game and judges will determine the winner based on a combination of criteria, which acknowledge all aspects of the journey from kitchen to plate. A confident sense of identity and place, coupled with a flawless dining experience, will be highly rewarded.
The winner of this award will be an individual, business, venue or initiative that our discerning readers believe represents best the 2019 Cumbrian food and drink scene. Judges will adjudicate a shortlist of the reader-voted nominees. Quality, as well as quantity, of nominations will be assessed.
This award recognises the emerging achievements of an individual in the Cumbrian food & drink sector (and beyond). Awarded in 2018 to the dearly missed, late Matt Campbell, this award holds a very special place in our hearts. Judges hope to entrust the 2019 accolade to an individual displaying the same enviable enthusiasm, raw talent and drive that Matt brought to our table in bucket-loads.