With some brilliance, Kathy has also managed to simplify our on line entry procedure so that entrants can now return to their entry forms as often as they want to perfect their entry before they send it in. (In previous years it was all too easy to ‘lose’ your form when you were only half way through. Since our initial entry form is quite long and complex – designed to tease out whether entrants really understand about catering for coeliacs and those with food allergies – this was incredibly frustrating and caused a number of entrants, hardly surprisingly, to give abandon the whole process.)
The very successful new categories last year, Crème de la Crème (only open to those who have won their categories twice in previous years) and Focus on Gluten (open only to those who have been awards Coeliac UK’s GF accreditation) feature again, along with two new categories.
Kathy had so many requests to enter from street food outlets last year that we have a added a new category just for them, Street foods & takeaways – and following on from the success of the Start Up category in the FreeFrom Food Awards, we have added a ‘FreeFrom Newbies’ category. The winner will not only get honour and glory but mentoring from the category sponsors, the Food Allergy Consultancy. The category is open both to entirely new establishments and to existing eateries who have decided to offer a specifically allergen aware/freefrom menu.
This year we have also combined the restaurants and the pub restaurant categories into one category for Independent Restaurants and Pub Restaurants, and the chains into one category for Restaurant and Pub Chains. Meanwhile the super popular Cafés and teashops and Fish and Chip shops categories remain unchanged – as do the Hotels and guest houses and the Food Manufactured for food service – always a very well supported category and SO important for freefrom in food service. See here for all of the categories and see here for guidelines on how to enter.
The crucial on line entry form
It is a really good idea for all entrants read this carefully as it explains the vital importance of the initial on line entry form. This goes to three of our on line judges and it really is designed to tease out how committed entrants are to ‘freefrom’ and whether they really understand the issues involved – rather than just ticking boxes and hoping to leap onto the freefrom bandwagon!! If the entrant does not ‘get through’ this initial test they will not go on to the ‘live’ judging. So no matter how wonderful they may think their food may taste, it will never even get tried by our ‘secret dining judges’ if their on-line entry form has not been judged to be up to scratch!
And of course, if entrants do get through to the ‘live’ judging and then go on to win a bronze, silver of gold medal, they will appear on out amazing Google map, created for us last year by FFEOA and FFFA judge Benjamin Richardson….
All the gold, silver and bronze winners from the last three years, each with a link to a page on the awards site with all the judges comments and a link direct to the outlet concerned. When I saw Ben a couple of months ago he said that it had already had over 75,000 views…
If any of you run blogs and want to embed our map in your blog – how useful for any of your readers wanting ‘freefrom’ eateries to visit – you are more than welcome and it could not be simpler. Here is Ben’s guide on how to do it.
Entering – or encouraging others to enter
So, entry does not actually close for this year until the 27th July but…. If you would like to get your 10% discount for early entry, you need to get your skates on as that closes on 17th of June. And even if you are not a potential entrant (which I am assuming that most of you aren’t..) if you know of somewhere you think should enter, please drop Kathy a quick email with their name and rough address. If you have contact details even better, but don’t worry if not. She is a first class sleuth and will track them down!
And looking ahead, the presentation will again be at Food Matters Live on the 20th November in the rather grand Conference Pod as last year. And there will be a drinks reception afterwards – and lots of photos of winners! Here are all of the 2017 winners, looking very happy – and below that is a short video that we made down at last year’s winners – Mommi in Clapham in South London – amazingly and wonderfully freefrom Japanese-Peruvian food….