This year there will be three judges for each category within the awards; a representative from the sponsor of the category, an Archant representative to ensure a fair and consistent process and an expert judge from outside of Suffolk.
The Essex food and drink awards will remain open for entries until 15 August. Judges will begin to review entries following this, where each judge will individually score the entries in their category against a set ten point criteria. Once scores have been submitted, the top eight businesses will be determined and contacted regarding the next stage of the judging process. Depending on the category, judging will be complete one of three ways: An organised meeting between the judges and most suitable representative/s of the shortlisted business on a set date and time. An unannounced visit, the Events Team will contact the shortlisted business to ensure they are happy to provide a complimentary meal service to the judges, who will then arrive unannounced at any point during the judging timeframe, they will reveal themselves upon payment. Finally, a live cook off for the Chef of the Year category, chefs will be asked to produce dishes for the judges live, under competition circumstances.
For the live judging visits, the judges will again submit scores individually following each meeting.
During the judging period a public vote for the top eight businesses that have been shortlisted, will also take place between 13th and 19th September where customers are able to vote. The results from the public vote will have a percentage score against the overall results. Public vote and judging visit scores will determine the four finalists and overall winner of the category. (Winner will be one of four)
All judging will be complete by 17 September. With businesses to be advised if they have been selected as a finalist shortly after. The judges will supply feedback to each business.
All finalists will be announced in the Essex Life magazine, online and via social media in October.
Our finalists will be invited to the awards ceremony to crown our winners, which will take place on Monday 8th November, at Braxted Park.