The highly-anticipated shortlist of finalists for The Courier Food & Drink Awards 2024 has been revealed.
After hours of deliberation, the judges have come to a decision as to who is to be featured on the shortlist.
Now in its sixth year, the aim of the event is to celebrate the incredible talent across the region and it was clear from this year’s entries that Courier Country has this is in abundance.
A total of 12 categories are featured in the awards, with Tayside and Fife’s food and drink industry well represented across all of them.
A 13th category, Brand Ambassador, recognising an extraordinary contribution by an individual to the food and drink business, will be announced on the night.
And we also want you, our readers to play a part, by asking you to vote for your favourite in the Rising Star category.
How do The Courier Food and Drink Awards work?
A total of five judges – Martha Bryce, Fiona Walsh, Sarah Rankin, Jamie Scott and Brian Stormont – were in attendance to go through each entry in fine detail, with the standard as impeccable as always.
The awards ceremony will be hosted at the prestigious Old Course Hotel, St Andrews, on Wednesday March 27 and will not only celebrate the winners but will also showcase five delicious courses from five top chefs in the area.
The standard of the entries was so high it made it extremely difficult for the judges to create a shortlist.
The high quality was evidenced by the number of entries received being the highest ever for the awards.
Martha Bryce, of Sound Bite PR, said: “The entrants to this year’s Food & Drink Awards really were outstanding and presented us judges with some real conundrums.
“Deliberating over such strong entries aside, it was so heartening to hear details of such inspiring businesses.
“All those who entered, and particularly the finalists, should feel incredibly proud of themselves – they’re part of a really vibrant and diverse food and drink scene across Courier Country.”
MasterChef winner and restaurateur Jamie Scott added: “I always love being involved in The Courier Food & Drink Awards to see the talented businesses and individuals in courier country come in to be judged.
“Every year the talent and entries get better! This year is no exception, the most entries we have ever received and by far some of the toughest judging I have ever had to do.”
‘We live in a very special place when it comes to hospitality and artisan producers’
Editor of The Courier’s Food & Drink magazine, Brian Stormont, was also impressed by the standard.
“I was genuinely blown away by the entries in this year’s awards. We have some very exciting things going on in Courier Country as far as food and drink goes. The entries just proved my belief that we live in a very special place when it comes to hospitality and artisan producers.
“All those who entered should be rightly proud of what they are doing and I am looking forward to the winners being honoured on the night.”
Fiona Walsh said: “It’s been a real honour to be asked to judge this year’s Food & Drink awards. Meeting my fellow judges to deliberate and decide the final shortlist was great fun, if a little tiring given the high number of entries this year.
“There was plenty of healthy debate and discussion amongst the judges. It’s been so inspirational to hear all the stories of innovation, growth and entrepreneurial spirit – we have such a thriving food & drink industry here in Courier County.”
Sarah Rankin added: “It was heartening to see nominations from so many wonderful food and drink businesses across Courier Country.
“Our industry has never seen more challenging times, and the commitment, ingenuity and drive of those businesses to deliver the highest quality experiences and products was truly inspiring.
“It was a real honour to be involved in the judging process, and the quality of the entries made it very clear to me that the food and drink sector across Perthshire, Fife and Tayside has a very bright future.”
Courier Food and Drink Award 2024 finalists
Bar of the Year sponsored by Diageo
Brewer of the Year sponsored by School of Business, University of Dundee
SaltRock Brewing Company
Wasted Degrees Brewing
Chef of the Year
Andrew Spence – The Boars Head
Craig Jackson – Murrayshall Country Estate
Thomas Tsappis – Killiecrankie House
Community Champion sponsored by Apex Hotels
The Selkie Group
Craft Distiller of the Year sponsored by DP&L Group
The Kingsbarns Company of Distillers
Entrepreneur of the Year sponsored by ALTAR Group
Kelly Fairweather – The Selkie Group
Michelle Maddox – Clootie McToot
Tommy and Jacqueline Fox – The Barrelman
Independent Café of the Year sponsored by The Rookery
The Lass O’Gowrie
Producer of the Year sponsored by Swilcan Loft
Angus Soft Fruits
East Neuk Kilnhouse
The Real Fresh Chip Company
Restaurant of the Year sponsored by Barnetts Toyota
Dhoom Streetery and Bar
The Boars Head
Rising Star of the Year sponsored by Malmaison
Ethan O’Hare – WeeCOOK
Jason Cargill – The Rookery
Rebecca McFarlane – Black Mamba
Vote for your winner online here.
Street Vendor of the Year
Fallones Pizza & Gelato
Sustainability Award sponsored by InvestFife
Angus Soft Fruits
We will be announcing The Brand Ambassador prize on the night.