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Food and Drink Festival Awards 2022

Welcome to the St Albans Food and Drink Awards 2022. We’re delighted to be back with these awards for the first time since 2019.

This District is home to some brilliant restaurants, pubs and food producers, as well as having fantastic markets and a rich tradition of lively street food and festivals.

We hope you will join with us in celebrating this amazing food scene and that you’ll help us to choose the recipients of the awards by nominating and then voting for your favourite places to eat, drink and shop.

Nominate as many different places as you like (if you want to nominate more than one place in one category you’ll have to submit a new nomination form) as long as you do so before the deadline – 9am on Monday 11 July. Please spread the word among your friends and family to do the same. A shortlist will be created from all your nominations which will go forward to be voted on by members of the public during the week beginning Monday 18 July.

Find out more about the process and the categories below, then nominate your favourite places here before 11 July

How will the winners be decided? Toggle accordion

  1. Members of the public will nominate – using this form – the businesses they’d like to see win each individual category. You can do this until 9am on Monday 11 July.
  2. The nominations will be validated by the Food and Drink Festival Steering Committee (a committee representing all sectors of the food world in the District).
  • They’ll make sure all nominations are eligible according to the criteria set out.
  • If premises are nominated in more than one category, they’ll decide which is most appropriate one.
  • Each establishment will only be eligible for a single category – this is to ensure we get as wide a mix of places included as possible.
  • The exception to this is the ‘best newcomer’ category, which can also be nominated in one other category.
  • Nominations for individuals for the Kate D’Arcy Award for Customer Service can also represent businesses which are nominated in one other category, plus ‘best newcomer’ if applicable.
  1. During the week beginning 18 July, we’ll invite members of the public to VOTE, using another electronic form, on the shortlisted businesses.
  2. The establishments with the top three highest number of votes in each category will be our ‘finalists’. The Steering Committee will visit each of these places and decide on a winner in each category using a moderation protocol which will score each place on agreed criteria. Points will also be awarded for sustainability and accessibility where appropriate.
  3. Finalists will be invited to attend an awards presentation event to be held on Monday 3 October at which the winners will be announced.


Note: Food businesses (with the exception of market stalls) must be registered in St Albans District and have a hygiene rating of three or above to be eligible for the voting stage. Market stalls must have traded on a minimum of three occasions at a market (of any kind: event, Charter, Farmers’, Christmas) in St Albans District since June 2021. To be eligible, businesses must be trading as of June 2022.

FAQs Toggle accordion

Can I nominate my own business?

Yes! Nominate away!

Why are there fewer categories than usual?

We felt that coming back after a short gap, this was a good time to get back to basics and make the nomination and awards process a bit simpler. If there are categories that you feel should be included next year, please let us know by emailing

What if I don’t know what category a business belongs in?

Just go ahead and nominate them. The Steering Committee will decide which is the best category in any cases where there’s uncertainty.

I want to nominate a market trader but I’m not sure what their business is called.

If it’s a trader on the Wednesday or Saturday Charter Market…. Just ask them, and tell them that you want to nominate them for an award! Alternatively, if you describe what they sell and where they’re normally located, we’ll do the rest and make sure the nomination is considered alongside all the others.

The categories Toggle accordion

Awards Category


Restaurant of the Year

An establishment that is open most evenings serving multi-course meals to patrons dining on the premises. Will usually provide table service.

Best Pub or Bar

A place where you can drink without also eating (though they may also serve food). Judges will be looking for a great selection of drink including well-kept and properly served beers, wines and cocktails, with consideration also given to those providing an interesting range of non-alcoholic options.

Best Café

A less formal eating establishment open for much of the day, though not necessarily in the evenings, serving hot drinks and snacks, as well as meals, sometimes from a counter.

Best Food and Drink shop or Market Stall

A shop or stall selling groceries, fresh produce, ingredients or food mostly in an unprocessed or minimally processed state for use and consumption at home.


Best Takeaway or Street Food

A bricks-and-mortar establishment, stall, trailer or food truck selling hot and cold prepared food for immediate consumption, but which doesn’t provide seating for customers.

Best Local Producer

A business based in St Albans District that produces raw ingredients, or uses raw ingredients to create a fresh or ambient food or drink product which is sold in a variety of local (or national) outlets. Previous winners have included brewers, bakers, cider-makers, cheese producers, farmers etc.

Best Newcomer

Any business in any of any of the above categories which has only been in operation since September 2019.


Kate D’Arcy Award for Customer Service

A special award in memory of Kate D’Arcy, a much loved restaurateur who died in June 2010. This award is for a person who has provided outstanding service and delivered a faultless experience. Previous winners include waiting staff, restaurant owners and local campaigners. Any individual can be nominated, whether or not a business with which they are associated is nominated in any of the above categories.

Privacy notice Toggle accordion

Before you begin the nominating process, please read our privacy notice, which sets out how we will use the data you share with us as part of this process. 

Find the Privacy Notice below