Winners of the St Albans Food and Drink Festival Awards announced

PUBLISHED: 13:58 25 September 2019 | UPDATED: 13:58 25 September 2019

Some winners of the St Albans Food and Drink Awards 2019. Picture: Tia Fields

Some winners of the St Albans Food and Drink Awards 2019. Picture: Tia Fields

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The winners of various categories in the St Albans Food and Drink Festival Awards 2019 have been announced.

Tara Acton after receiving the award with her partner, Glenn Rawlings at the St Albans Food and Drink Awards.  Picture: Submitted by St Albans City and District CouncilTara Acton after receiving the award with her partner, Glenn Rawlings at the St Albans Food and Drink Awards. Picture: Submitted by St Albans City and District Council

Eateries which were recognised include Tabure, Per Tutti St Albans, The Green Man, Darlish, The Pudding Stop, George Street Canteen, DavVero, and Tara's Vegan Treats.

Earlier this year, residents nominated 200 of their favourite venues and producers and then cast more than 3,000 votes to decide the top three in each category.

The shortlist was judged by a panel from the festival's steering committee, who made surprise visits to each venue.

Judging criteria included product quality, customer service and atmosphere.

The winners were revealed at a ceremony in St Albans Museum + Gallery on September 23.

Market trader Tara Acton said she "hit the champagne" when she heard her business had won the Kate D'Arcy Award for Customer Service.

She said: "It was so overwhelming to win and I just hit the champagne, celebrating all night.

"I had a fry up breakfast the following morning to recover - a vegan one, of course, with no sausage, bacon or eggs."

Tara founded her St Abans Vegan Treats stall 18 months ago and has now quit her job in the film industry to pursue the enterprise full time.

"Customer service is something I pride myself on so I am very pleased to get this recognition. I enjoy going to the Charter Market stall on Wednesdays and Saturdays, seeing all my regulars and having a chinwag," she added.

St Albans Mayor, Cllr Janet Smith, said: "It's a fantastic achievement to win one of these coveted awards because the competition is so intense and I congratulate all the winners.

"They have put in a tremendous amount of hard work and shown great culinary and hospitality skills as well as a passion for what they do."

The district council's portfolio holder for business, culture and tourism, Cllr Mandy McNeil said: "The St Albans Food and Drink Awards is a terrific way to celebrate our incredible independent food and drink industry and support them in what is a tough economic environment."

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She said the nominees and winners are "mums, dads, sisters, brothers, cousins, families and friends" in the community.

The St Albans Food and Drink Festival is organised by St Albans City and District Council with the help of a steering group. Find out more at www.enjoystalbans.com/foodanddrink.

The winners are based in St Albans, unless otherwise indicated:

Best Restaurant for Special Occasion: Tabure

Best Restaurant for Everyday Dining: Per Tutti

Best Pub: The Green Man, Sandridge

Best Bar: The Bishop's Cave

Best Café: Fleetville Larder

Best Local Producer: Darlish

Best Food and Drink Shop: Buongiorno Italia

Best Market Stall: Eat Wholefood

Best Takeaway: The Pudding Stop

Best Place to Work on the Go: George Street Canteen

Most Family Friendly Venue: DavVero

Best Newcomer: The Reading Rooms, Wheathampstead

Kate D'Arcy Award for Customer Service: Tara's Vegan Treats

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