Celebrity chef Aldo Zilli comes to St Albans for the SAFDF awards

PUBLISHED: 17:22 15 June 2009 | UPDATED: 14:11 06 May 2010

St Albans Food and Drink Festival announces celebrity host for the first St Albans Food and Drink Festival Awards. St Albans Food and Drink Festival is back this summer, and local gastronomy-lovers are in for a treat as an extra-large portion of foodie ev

St Albans Food and Drink Festival announces celebrity host for the first St

Albans Food and Drink Festival Awards.

St Albans Food and Drink Festival is back this summer, and local gastronomy-lovers are in for a treat as an extra-large portion of foodie events and activities are served up for the Festival's second year.

Organisers promise even more participating restaurants, more foodie events across the city and district and an even bigger and better Outdoor Finale Event on the final weekend of 4th - 5th July on St Peter's Street. There'll be something on the menu for all local residents and plenty to tempt visitors from further afield too.

As a key event in the region's food calendar, the Festival is proud to announce a major new arrival in

2009 - a brand new set of awards for the region. The St Albans Food and Drink Festival Awards will provide a benchmark of excellence for the industry and consumers alike, and what's more, the public will be able to vote for the winners.

An esteemed panel of judges were asked to choose a shortlist for five award categories using specially created criteria. The nominees are now posted on the St Albans Food and Drink Festival website www.stalbansfoodanddrinkfestival.com, where the public are being asked to vote for their winners in the first ever interactive food awards for the region.

The winning venues will be kept completely under wraps until the St Albans Food and Drink Festival Gala Dinner and Awards on the 3rd July at Sopwell House.

St Albans Food and Drink Festival are proud to announce that the event will be hosted by celebrity chef and restaurateur Aldo Zilli. Aldo, chef patron of the leading 'Zilli' restaurant brand, is one of the food's most flamboyant characters. Famed for his masterful approach to Italian cuisine, Aldo is now a member of the Ready Steady Cook team, and makes regular appearances on a host of TV cookery and entertainment shows.

Aldo will be leaving the kitchen for this very special occasion, where he'll host the award ceremony and will be entertaining guests in his own inimitable style.

The Gala Dinner will be the culmination event for the whole Festival, set in the stunning surroundings of Sopwell House.

The glittering evening will commence with a Champagne reception on the lawn (weather permitting!), followed by a locally sourced banquet created especially for the occasion by Sopwell's Executive Chef James Chapman. The menu will feature five delicious courses all inspired by St Albans, and each matched with a complementary wine.

After dinner guests will enjoy anecdotes from Aldo's, who will then host the very first St Albans Food and Drink Festival Awards ceremony. Expect high drama as all 5 award winners are be announced and presented with their awards.

The award categories are:

Restaurant of the Year sponsored by Herts Advertiser

Bar of the Year

Pub of the Year

Coffee Bar of the Year

Family Friendly Venue of the Year sponsored by allaboutstalbans.com

Tickets are now on sale, and residents are advised to get their tickets early as the event is expected to sell out fast. Tickets can be purchased from The Alban Arena Box Office on 01727 844488, or

http://www.alban-arena.co.uk/. Tickets are priced at just £65 including VAT, and include all food and wine.

Phil Jones, Director of Taste Events, responsible for organising the Festival said:

"This year's second Food and Drink Festival will develop on the groundwork we created last year, and with the Gala Dinner and Awards we can add a key annual event to the calendar in the city and district, and also lay down benchmarks of excellence that will help maintain high standards and keep quality high"

Councillor Melvyn Teare, portfolio holder for Culture and Heritage at St Albans City and District Council, said:

"The St Albans Food & Drink Festival brings an extra dimension to the St Albans Festival. The two Festivals provide residents with a vast array of activities to get involved with and events to attend.

They also help to put St Albans well and truly on the map by helping to attract visitors from outside the district


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