A bumper crop of finalists has been produced by Thanet as frontrunners in The Taste of Kent Awards 2014.
Produced In Kent, which stages the awards and this year is celebrating its 10th anniversary, has announced the top three vying for overall title as winner in the prestigious countywide accolades.
Eight finalists from Thanet appear in the top three of seven of 11 main categories, just short of a quarter of all the finalists from Kent’s 13 district/borough authorities and Medway.
The district is making a record showing for foodie excellence, neck and neck with Ashford this year for the greatest number of top three finalists, eight each.
This achievement may come as a surprise to some as Thanet is one of the less obviously rural, food-focused and more economically challenged districts.
The finalists were selected from nearly 500 of Kent’s food and drink heroes, and were nominated by members of the public. Thousands of votes were collected.
Two Thanet restaurants, Margate’s The Ambrette and Wyatt and Jones of Broadstairs, are shortlisted for the Kent Restaurant of the Year title.
Other finalists include Quex Barn, Birchington (Local Food Retailer of The Year), Fruits De Mer, Broadstairs (Fishmonger of The Year), Cliftonville Farmers’ Market (Farmers Market of The Year), 10 Acre Orchard Cider, Little Stour Orchard, Margate (Best Cider or Perry), Gadds No 3, Ramsgate Brewery (Best Beer), Little Stour Orchard, Margate (Best Juice Producer).
It is Fruits De Mer and Wyatt and Jones’s first time as finalists.
The three finalists from each of the categories will now be further evaluated by mystery shoppers, diners and expert judging panels to find Kent’s ultimate food and drink heroes.
Overall winners will be announced at the awards’ dinner on March 13.
Produced in Kent’s Stephanie Durling said they were delighted with the response. She said: “Some categories in particular such as Best Kentish Beer, Kent Butcher or Meat Producer, Kent Restaurant of the Year and Kent Local Food Retailer have seen a significant increase in votes and nominations.
“There is an exciting battle for the crown of Kent’s Restaurant of the year this year with three of Kent’s coastal restaurants nominated.”
“Last years winners who are once again in this year’s top three include Little Stour Orchards’ juice, Gadds No 3, Biddenden Ortega, The George Inn, Quex Barn and The Ambrette.”
An honour of a different kind goes to Jason Freedman of The Minnis Bar and Restaurant, Birchington, as caterers for the black tie event at Kent County Showground.
Tickets are available from Produced in Kent, with full details of the awards dinner and menu available at: www.tasteofkentawards.co.uk”