St Albans Food & Drink Festival awards ceremony cancelled

St Albans Food and Drink Festival 2013

St Albans Food and Drink Festival 2013 - Credit: Archant

Poor ticket sales and several high-profile restaurateurs pulling out of the St Albans Food and Drinks Awards has led to the cancellation of the winners ceremony which was due to be held last Thursday.

The awards have been the subject of much criticism this year and instead of being crowned at a ceremony in St Michael’s Manor, the few finalists left will receive recognition at the festival finale in St Peter’s Street on Sunday (6).

Richard Shwe, St Albans council’s head of community services, said of the cancellation of tonight’s event: “Without the support of the whole food and drink community there is insufficient demand for tickets to make this event viable.”

He apologised to those who had bought tickets to the ceremony and offered them a full refund.

Richard Marrett, of St Michael’s Manor, said it was a shame the ceremony had been cancelled: “I’m very disappointed that the ceremony was cancelled, especially at such short notice as the restaurant was booked exclusively for the event and obviously we’re struggling to fill it.”

The general manager said he was not sure how the council was going to carry out the awards ceremony now and questioned whether the category of Best Restaurant – for which St Michael’s Manor is still in the running – was “really a win” after so many businesses had pulled out.

But he added: “I do believe that they are going to take the right steps to make sure it goes right next year.”

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Charlie Powell, of Soko Coffee was one of the first entrants to pull out of the awards and said she was sad to see the ceremony cancelled: “As a local independent business with a passion for food and drink and a commitment to the local community, I am very disappointed with how this year’s awards have turned out.

“I hoped that opting out this year may steer things towards a more positive delivery next year so that the brilliant food and drink businesses in St Albans get the recognition they deserve.”

The Food and Drink Festival is still going ahead and a whole array of events, including cookery demonstrations and taster evenings, are available until Sunday. For more information visit