Revealed – The shortlist for The Menu Food and Drink Awards 2018

The judges meet to discuss the entries for the awards.

As we reveal the shortlist for The Courier’s inaugural Menu Food and Drink Awards, our panel of judges tell Caroline Lindsay how choosing the cream of the culinary scene gave them plenty to chew over.

Drum roll, please. It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for – the shortlist for The Courier Menu Food and Drink Awards has been announced. These inaugural awards will celebrate the outstanding talent across the region and it was obvious from all the entries that Courier Country has this in abundance.

The panel of six judges – Andrew Scott, owner of Victus Consultancy; Graeme Broom, wine development manager at Wine Importers; Ian Gibb, food studies and hospitality sector manager at the University of the Highlands and Islands Perth College; Ian MacDonald, food and beverage manager at St Andrews Links Trust, “the Home of Golf”; Martha Bryce, the founder of Martha Bryce PR; and Catriona MacInnes, acting editor of The Courier – got together earlier this week at The Courier publisher DC Thomson’s flagship building in Dundee to painstakingly go through each and every entry.


The panel was overwhelmed by the number of top class entries they received for all 10 categories, each one showcasing the fantastic talent across the food and drink industry in Courier Country. All six judges agreed it was tough job deciding on a shortlist.

Catriona MacInnes, acting editor of The Courier, said: “I was so very impressed by the calibre of the entries; it made the judges job both enjoyable and difficult. We have so much talent in Courier Country and this has just proved the fact.”

Over the next few weeks, we will get to know everyone on the shortlist before the overall winner of each category is announced at a five star gala dinner at the Old Course Hotel St Andrews on March 15.


The panel’s comments

Andrew Scott, owner of Victus Consultancy

“The quality of the entrants was simply incredible. Every business, irrespective of size, location and product, oozed passion, investing in people, quality and provenance.

“It was a pleasure to judge. The key stand-out aspect that I look for is community and that was in abundance. We should be so proud of the larder on our own doorstep and now I simply can’t wait for the Awards night itself.

“I would personally like to wish everyone taking part the best of luck and fingers crossed.”


Ian Gibb, food studies and hospitality sector manager at the University of the Highlands and Islands Perth College

“I was very impressed with the number and calibre of the entries – the innovation was world class.

“From a personal perspective it was nice to be judging as opposed to entering!

“I thoroughly enjoyed the judging process and working with the crème de la crème of industry judges, and I’m looking forward to the awards dinner on March 15.”


Graeme Broom, wine development manager, Wine Importers

“All the judges were impressed by the number of the entries from such a broad spectrum – there are so many ordinary people doing extraordinary things and not only using the best of local produce but using them in traditional or innovative ways.

“The craft drinks producer of the year category is a prime example of what we’re talking about here – all the entries were from innovative entrepreneurs serving the local community and offering outstanding customer service.

“The same applies to the street vendor category too. Street food is a relatively new trend here but all the entries made me hungry and thirsty – I wished they were all in my own locale!

“Overall, we found it a tough process choosing the shortlist because more often than not it was almost impossible to sepaparet producers and companies doing great things.

“It certainly provoked lively debate among the judges, all of whom were keen epicureans.”


Ian MacDonald, food and beverage manager at St Andrews Links Trust, “the Home of Golf

“I was delighted to be asked to be a part of the judging team for the inaugural Menu Awards.

“I found the level of entries to be excellent and it’s good to see so many established and start-up companies, so obviously proud of their products, and the use of so many home grown produce.

“I am sure that The Menu Awards will be the one to be seen to win as well as shortlisted.”


Martha Bryce, Martha Bryce PR

“The huge variety and sheer quality of the award entries has been wonderful and a real testament to the calibre of the scene in this part of Scotland.

“The craft drink sector is booming both with the number of new starts, established producers and with real innovation; we have outstanding food producers too: those with quality and ethics at their heart, combined with real ambition to take their work to a global marketplace.

“The talent in the area’s restaurants, bars and coffee shops was outstanding too: from fine dining to simple everyday fare.

“It just goes to show that food and drink involves everyone. It’s something we all have a stake in and something local people can truly be proud of.

“It didn’t half make it hard to decide on the shortlist and winners though!”


The shortlist for The Menu Food and Drink Awards 2018


Coffee Shop of the Year

KitschnBake, Newport-on-Tay

Pacamara, Dundee

Parlour Café, Dundee


The judges were looking for the coffee shop which is best able to create an outstanding customer experience – a warm welcome, high quality coffee and/or tea plus a range of other drinks, tasty food made from fresh, local produce, all served with an excellent level of customer service.

Entries were judged on the following criteria:

  • Style and experience
  • Value/affordability
  • Customer service
  • Accessibility and facilities
  • Quality of offering


Street Vendor of the Year

Artisana Vintage Mobile Tea Room & Patisserie, Kirriemuir

Logiealmond Ltd trading as Wild and Smoky, Dundee

LovEvents, Bankfoot

The Cheesy Toast Shack, Fife


Good food on the go has become an important part of modern living and as such the demand for street food and impromptu pop-ups has never been greater. The judges were looking for someone who’s bringing something unique to the table.

Entries were judged on the following criteria:

  • Innovative concept and product offering
  • Vehicle/pop-up design and branding
  • Use of local produce
  • Customer service
  • Overall presentation


Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year  

Café Tabou, Perth

Gordon’s Restaurant, Inverkeilor

The Tayberry, Broughty Ferry


This venue should be the very best of Scottish hospitality and cuisine; displaying the use of fresh and local ingredients with flair, imagination and expertise. Diners will not hesitate to travel many miles for this gastronomic experience.

Entries were judged on the following criteria:

  • An exciting and innovative menu which stands out from competitors
  • Emphasis on local produce or ingredients
  • Extensive wine list or drinks menu with

food pairing options

  • Décor/ambience
  • Customer service


Chef of the Year 

Adam Newth – The Tayberry, Broughty Ferry

Garry Watson – Gordons Restaurant, Inverkeilor

Paul Newman – Thyme at Errichel Restaurant, Aberfeldy


The Chef of the Year will be someone who has devoted him or herself to the cause of serving the best possible food. They will demonstrate technical ability, use of seasonal ingredients, an understanding of how flavours work together and a flair for presentation. Above all, the judges were looking for passion – that magic ingredient that defines true greatness in the kitchen.

Entries came in from all areas of the hospitality business, including hotels, restaurants and pubs.

Entries were judged on the following criteria:

  • Chefs were invited to submit a menu consisting of three courses. The judges asked for a description of the menu detailing:
  • Concept
  • Sourcing
  • Balance
  • Seasonality


Farm to Fork Award – Food & Drink – sponsored by Angus Council and Perth & Kinross Council as part of the Tay Cities Deal 

Ardross Farm Shop, Ardross, Fife

Puddledub, Kirkcaldy

Summer Harvest, Crieff

The Little Herb Farm, St Andrews


Entries were welcome from producers of fruits, vegetables, eggs or meat. Judges were looking for individuals or businesses with the ability and vision to produce and market quality food and drink products in this region. These are growers and producers who are passionate about what they do and who have the talent and skill to grow, develop and market an outstanding and commercially scalable food and drink product.

Entries were judged on the following criteria:

  • Brand concept and development
  • Commitment to highest production standards
  • Market penetration
  • Commitment to sustainable practices in production


Local to Global Brand of the Year – sponsored by Fife Trade Partnership: Accessing New Markets

Mackays Ltd, Arbroath

Mackie’s at Taypack, Perth

Summer Harvest, Crieff


This category is for a food, drink or hospitality business that has established a presence in international markets and continues to grow.

Entries were judged on the following criteria:

  • Strategy to develop and grow in export markets
  • How you have overcome export challenges and have shown a clear commitment to international trade
  • Export growth – figures were to be provided to increase in export revenues over the past two years


New Talent/Rising Star – sponsored by Brakes Scotland

Calum Runciman – The White Goose, Dundee

Ewan Welsh, Perth

Jason Miles, Scran Fitness, Dundee

Lewis Pickett, WeeCook Kitchen, Broughty Ferry Golf Club


This category is for anyone who works in the food and drink sector and for any person aged between 16 and 25 on December 31 2017. The judges were looking for someone who combines raw talent with real skill.

Individuals could either enter themselves or be nominated by an employer, colleague or mentor.

Entries were judged on the following criteria:

  • Proof of contribution to the workplace
  • Performance excellence
  • Commitment to personal development and progression
  • Passion for chosen path


Crafts Drinks Producer of the Year

71 Brewing, Dundee

Cairn O’Mohr, Errol

Gin Bothy, Dundee

Law Brewing Co, Dundee


This category is for any independently-owned business that can demonstrate success in the alcoholic and/or soft drinks market. Judges were looking for a commitment to locally sourced products where possible; sustainable practices and robust

processes and a sound marketing strategy.

Entries will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Consistent innovation
  • Product placement in the market
  • Commitment to the local supply chain
  • Strategy for growth


Mixologist/Sommelier of the Year

AJ – Jam Jar, Dundee

Chris Smith – Bruach Bar, Dundee

Julie Lewis – The Adamson, St Andrews

This award is for the top bar person of Courier Country. The winner will have an in-depth knowledge of the wine and cocktails they serve and be able to pour the perfect drink.

Mixologists were asked to demonstrate flair and imagination in designing and making new cocktails to please customers.

Entries were judged on the following criteria:

  • Depth of knowledge of wine/cocktails being served
  • Commitment to customer service
  • Signature cocktail


Menu Ambassador of the Year: The Judges’ Award

The judges have decided to create an extra category and present an award at the Awards Night on March 15 to the special someone whose passion and commitment really stood out and made a big impression on the panel. The Menu Ambassador will promote the Menu Awards brand for the next year and sit on the judges’ panel in 2019.


Vote now!

Consumers’ Choice: Pub of the Year

Courier readers are invited to nominate in this category from today, Monday January 22. The shortlist can be found on – simply vote for the pub on the shortlist you think best lives up to the criteria: creating a distinct and high quality offering for their customers, with great service, a good range of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and a welcoming atmosphere.


For tickets to the event, contact Kim Dickson at