Its official! The Gardeners Kitchen, our very own restaurant has been voted the best restaurant in Norfolk! We are extremely proud winners of the “Best Restaurant” category in the EDP Norfolk Food and Drink Awards and it’s still sinking in!
On Monday 14th September we were invited to attend the awards ceremony at the Norfolk Showground, rubbing shoulders with the great and the good of the county’s food scene. The awards celebrate all the wonderful producers, caterers and individuals along with their achievements. There are twelve award categories which, between them, cover just about every aspect of the Norfolk food industry. For each category there were 3 finalists invited to hear the announcement of the winners.
Norfolk’s “Best Restaurant” category was entirely decided by the public. Initially restaurants are nominated and a list of thirty were then listed in the Eastern Daily Press and online for readers and customers to vote for whom they thought should be Norfolk’s Best Restaurant. We were up against some very stiff competition from all over Norfolk but we were staggered by how much of a positive reaction we got from our customers who were voting in store. It was announced on the awards evening that we gained over 1,000 votes!
After three weeks of public voting we were amazed to be informed our Gardeners Kitchen Restaurant had made the finals of the Norfolk Food and Drink Awards, only 4 months after we first opened! We knew we’d received a lot of votes but, of course, we had no idea how many the other two finalists had gained either. Our fellow finalists were The Last Wine Bar and Café Britannia, both of Norwich and two extremely strong competitors.
The evening of the awards came and a very nervous James and Michelle were joined by our chefs, Wayne and Dan, just two of our team who have all worked incredibly hard to get us to the standard where so many of our customers wanted to vote for us. Following a glorious meal, washed down with a few glasses of wine, it was down to business with the awards. Former Norwich City Footballer and now Mustard TV presenter Darren Eadie was presenting the awards in conjunction with the various award sponsors. A special mention must go to the sponsor of the restaurant category, Steele Fine Foods from Diss who hosted us magnificently for the evening.
Before we knew it the time to announce the winner of the Best Restaurant category had come and with it came the inevitable pause as the golden envelope was opened. We were truly stunned when The Gardeners Kitchen’s name was called and overwhelmed with the subsequent cheers and rounds of applause. What followed after this was somewhat of a blur but you couldn’t wipe the smiles off our faces which was just as well as it was then photographer time! We really couldn’t believe it and, several days later, we’re still pinching ourselves.
Just as overwhelming as our win are all the wonderful messages and words of congratulations we’ve received. We can’t describe how much it means to us to see just how many of our customers are clearly sharing our excitement! Perhaps the most exciting comment of all was when somebody described us as “Norfolk’s own River Cottage!”
James and Michelle would like to say a huge thanks to everyone who voted for us as your “Best Restaurant in Norfolk”, we are so, so grateful and will be working very hard to keep up the good work for you!
For a full list of the Norfolk Food & Drink Awards winners and finalists go to: http://www.edp24.co.uk/features/norfolk_food_and_drink_awards_full_list_of_winners_1_4233234