It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for – it’s time to reveal the shortlist for The Courier Menu Food and Drink Awards 2019. Now in its second year, the aim of the event is to 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 judges – Viv Collie of Savour St Andrews; Andrew Scott, owner of Victus Consultancy; Martha Bryce, director of Soundbite PR, specialising in hospitality and food and drink businesses; Mary-Jane Duncan, owner of Kitschnbake in Newport on Tay; Ian MacDonald, food and beverage manager at St Andrews Links; Graeme Broom, wine development manager, Wine Importers; and Catriona MacInnes, editor of The Courier – got together 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 the 10 categories – including four new ones – each one showcasing the fantastic talent across the food and drink industry in Courier Country. All seven judges agreed it was tough job deciding on a shortlist.
Over the next few weeks, we will get to know everyone on the shortlist before the overall winner of each category is announced at the five-star gala dinner at the Old Course Hotel St Andrews on March 28.
The panel’s comments
Viv Collie, Savour St Andrews
“It has been an absolute delight to be part of this year’s Menu Awards judging team. I have been hugely impressed with the number, quality and variety of entries. Deciding the shortlists across all categories was a challenging process, and I am really looking forward to the award ceremony next month.
“This will be a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the incredible skills and talent we are so lucky to have across the food and drink sector in Courier Country.”
Andrew Scott, director Victus Consultancy
“I am absolutely delighted to be part of the 2019 Menu Food and Drink Awards. The calibre of applicants this year has exceeded my expectations and we have entries from every part of Courier Country.
“I found the judging process difficult as there are so many wonderful businesses fighting for the title and the standard of entries has been outstanding. Now it’s good luck to everyone involved and I cant wait to see the reaction of the winners on the big night in March. This year is going to be special!”
Martha Bryce, director of Soundbite PR, specialising in hospitality and food and drink businesses
“It was truly inspiring to read entries from so many world class businesses. This really demonstrates the vibrancy of the sector in the area and reinforces the fact that the hospitality and food and drink industries are something we should all be proud of.
“We saw a significant increase in the number of entries this year, which was really heartening – but also made our work as judges really difficult.
“There were some really hotly debated categories simply because of the strength and diversity of the entries.
“I’m really looking forward to celebrating this success at the awards ceremony in March.”
Mary-Jane Duncan, owner of Kitschnbake in Newport on Tay
“I was exceptionally impressed by the level of commitment and passion shown by all the judges with regards to Courier Country’s food and drink producers.
“The amount of work they all put in was apparent by the amount of energetic debating that took place.
“Several of the categories I felt merited nearly everyone gaining an award or high praise of some sort but in this instance there has to be a winner!
“This year’s actual awards night should be a brilliant evening going by the entries alone.
“I loved that so many let their personalities shine through and cannot wait to meet them all in person.”
Ian MacDonald, Food and Beverage Manager at St Andrews Links
“It’s always a great privilege to be invited to take part in the judging panel for The Courier Menu Awards.
“As ever the standard of entry was exceptional, but this year the volume of astounding candidates put forward stood out for me and really showcases what a fantastic offering we are blessed with in Courier Country.
“Every category was extremely competitive, and whittling down the entries to a shortlist led to plenty of heated, passionate debate.
“Fortunately, my fellow members of the judging panel and I all reached a consensus and I look forward to joining them at the awards ceremony in March.
“It promises to be a fantastic evening and a real celebration for our winners and of our industry as a whole.”
Graeme Broom, wine development manager, Wine Importers
“This year was a real struggle to separate so many worthy candidates. It was a struggle to choose a shortlist at times, let alone pick a winner.
“As last year, after reading all the entries I was extremely buoyed by the great breadth of people growing, creating and serving the best food and drink in Courier Country. Some I knew, but there were many discoveries which have gone on a list to visit in due course.
“Above all, the commitment to quality shone through, in producing the best product from the best local ingredients and using the best people.”
Catriona MacInnes, editor of The Courier
“The Courier Menu Awards showcase and celebrate excellence and achievement within the food and drink sector in this region and I was delighted to see so many fantastic businesses and individuals enter, in this our second year.
“The judges had a tough day of decision making but they were also in agreement and we have a fantastic shortlist.”
The shortlist, in alphabetical order, for the Menu Food and Drink Awards 2019
Best Craft Beer
71 Brewing, Dundee
Coul Brewing Company, Glenrothes
Law Brewing Company, Dundee
Ovenstone 109, Anstruther
Best Craft Distiller
Lundin Distilling, Kirkcaldy
Redcastle Spirits Ltd, Carmyllie
Tayport Distillery, Tayport
Sponsored by Avian
Coolinary Cafe, Montrose
El Tajin Authentic Mexican Restaurant, Montrose
Fonab Farm Foods, Pitlochry
The Crieff Food Company, Crieff
The Dory Bistro, Pittenweem
Cocktail Bar of the Year
Sponsored by Eden Mill
3 Session Street, Dundee
The Adamson, St Andrews
Coffee Shop of the Year
AliBob Cafe, Errol
Jannettas Gelateria Ltd, St Andrews
Loch Leven’s Larder, Kinross
The Cafe at Balgove, St Andrews
We Are Zest, St Andrews
Wee Bear Cafe, Kirriemuir
Chef of the Year
Sponsored by Sodexo
Alec Cruikshank – Fonab Farm Foods, Pitlochry
Chris Hazelton – The Rookery, Carnoustie
Graeme Pallister – 63 Tay Street, Perth
Praveen Kumar – Tabla Indian Restaurant, Perth
Farm to Fork – Food & Drink
Sponsored by Food From Fife
Ardross Farm Shop, Elie
Balgove Larder, St Andrews
Cairn o’ Mhor, Errol
St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Company, Pittenweem
The Wright Root, Coupar Angus
Restaurant of the Year
Sponsored by Highland Game
63 Tay Street, Perth
El Tajin Authentic Mexican Restaurant, Montrose
Little’s Restaurant, Blairgowrie
Venachar Lochside, Callander
Street Vendor of the Year
Relish It, Kirkcaldy
The Cheesy Toast Shack, Kingsbarns and St Andrews
The Rolling Stove, Crieff
Wild & Smoky, Dundee
Pub of the Year
The Criterion, St Andrews
The Inn on the Tay, Grandtully
The Kirkstyle Inn, Dunning
The Ship Inn, Elie
Book your table now for the Menu Food and Drink Awards gala dinner at the Old Course on March 28. Find out more at: www.themenufoodanddrinkawards.co.uk