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Food Heartland

Food Heartland

Armagh and Northern Ireland’s official Food Heartland is hungry for victory in its bid to be named Ireland’s Top Foodie Destination by the Restaurant Association of Ireland (RAI), but it needs the public’s help to get there.

Already shortlisted to a nail-biting list of 10 locations and destinations across the island, Armagh is up against some tough competition in its bid for glory. Armagh has the appetite to win and has support from local businesses, personalities, and the myriad of award-winning producers and chefs from across the Food Heartland including Gareth Reid at 4Vicars, the Armagh Cider Company, Groucho’s of Richhill and Long Meadow Cider.

Voters are encouraged to spread the word amongst friends, family, co-workers and fellow foodies by using the #voteArmagh and #FoodieDestinations hashtags across social media before voting closes at 12noon on Tuesday 21 August.

For more information, visit www.foodiedestinations.ie.

Food Heartland named top foodie destination Read More>>

Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council is delighted to announce that the Food Heartland Awards 2018 in association with Power NI will take place on Wednesday 12th September 2018 at The Palace Demesne, Armagh.

The award categories for the Food Heartland Awards 2018 are:

• Best New Start Award
• Best Growth Business Award
• Best Export Business Award
• Best Marketing Initiative Award
• Innovation Award
• Sustainability Award
• Best Dish Using Local Ingredients
• Best Use of a PGI Product in a Food or Drink Product
• Rising Star Award (for anyone under the age of 25)
• Best Licensed Eating Establishment
• Best Non-Licensed Eating Establishment
• Best Independent Retail Food Business

The Food Heartland Awards give local businesses and individuals in the agri- food sector a platform to recognise their hard work, passion and commitment to business excellence. The agri-food sector is thriving and diverse. From specialist artisan producers to household brands and global names… from Great Taste and Irish Food Award winners to outstanding restaurants and eateries. The borough is also home to an abundance of high quality food & drink as well as world renowned products with protected status – Armagh Bramley Apples and Lough Neagh Eels.

A prestigious black-tie Gala Dinner Awards Ceremony will take place in a stunning marquee starting with a drinks reception at 7.00pm.

The Gala Awards evening will be a golden opportunity to share and celebrate together the very best of the Food Heartland. With great food, sparkling company and glittering entertainment it promises to be a night to remember.

Tables of ten and individual tickets can be purchased by contacting ND Events by phone +44 (0)28 9263 3232 or email

Individual tickets are priced at £55+ VAT and tables of 10 are £550+ VAT

Entry for this year’s awards closed on Friday 6th July and the shortlisted finalists will be announced soon.

The award categories and entry criteria for the Food Heartland Awards 2018 are:

Best New Start Award – Application Form & Interview
The Best New Business Award will recognise a successful new food or drink business in the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council area. This award is open to any business located within the Borough that started trading from April 2016.  The applications will be judged on the following factors:

  • Description of the business and how it was established to address a market need/gap in the market;
  • What has been achieved since establishing the business; and
  • Future growth plans.

If shortlisted as a finalist, you will be required to attend a short interview with the judging panel.

Best Growth Business Award – Application Form & Interview
This award is for businesses that have achieved demonstrable growth within the last 3-years by successfully implementing a growth strategy. This award is open to all food and drink businesses in the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council area that can demonstrate growth in one or more of the following areas; Turnover, Profitability, Staffing, Product Portfolio, Market share and or geographic coverage.  Applications will be judged on:

  • The specific areas in which the business has grown and over what timeframe
  • The factors that influenced the business growth
  • How the business has responded to the growth

If shortlisted as a finalist, you will be required to attend a short interview with the judging panel.

Best Export Business Award – Application Form & Interview
This award recognises the achievement and excellence of food and drink businesses, large and small, from Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council area, in reaching new markets by exporting their products to areas outside of Northern Ireland. (GB and Republic of Ireland will be considered as export markets).

This award has been created to encourage and recognise companies that have generated substantial and sustained export sales activity.  Applications will be judged on:

  • How the business identified the export market potential and developed and launched an export strategy;
  • Evidence of the growth of the export activity part of the business including the percentage of export sales and to which countries/regions; and
  • How the business plans to maintain and expand the export market.

If shortlisted as a finalist, you will be required to attend a short interview with the judging panel.

Best Marketing Initiative Award – Application Form & Interview
This award will recognise a food and drink business that can demonstrate a creative, innovative and effective marketing initiative that has inspired their target market and increased sales, profit, and company profile.  The judging panel will be looking for effective use of the chosen marketing initiative or campaign to promote the business.  Applications will be judged on:

  • Outline of the problem that the marketing initiative sought to solve with key objectives and targets of the marketing initiative or campaign;
  • Evidence of the market research and approach of the initiative; and
  • The return on investment, the outcome and outputs of the initiative.

If shortlisted as a finalist, you will be required to attend a short interview with the judging panel.

Innovation Award – Application Form & Interview
This award celebrates new ideas, processes and products that have greatly contributed to a company’s success.  This Award will recognise the food or drink business that has most successfully applied and integrated innovation to their company.  The judges wish to see how the business used innovation to generate better results within their company.

Applications should demonstrate how an innovation or innovative approach has:

  • Resolved an existing problem;
  • Evidence how a culture of innovation has been adopted within the business; and
  • Evidence how the innovation improved business performance? (Turnover, new markets, profit).

If shortlisted as a finalist, you will be required to attend a short interview with the judging panel.

Sustainability Award – Application Form & Interview
This award is about recognizing the impact of a culture of corporate sustainability. The judges will wish to see examples of food and drink companies who have implemented a culture of sustainability.  Applications should demonstrate:

  • The development of the company’s sustainability plan
  • Progress that, as a result of the plan, has been achieved;
  • The impact the plan, and its activities, has had on the company’s culture as a whole; and
  • Any future plans in relation to sustainability.

If shortlisted as a finalist, you will be required to attend a short interview with the judging panel.

Best Dish Using Local Ingredients – Application Form & Taste Test
This award seeks to showcase the best of local ingredients from the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council area. This award will be judged initially by an application process in which the judges will look for the following:

Identification of the dish which is being proposed for the taste test with a clear rationale for why they have selected this dish and a clear outline of the local ingredients being used and why.

If shortlisted the applicant will then take part in a taste test with a member of the judging panel visiting your premises to taste your freshly prepared dish.

Best Use of a PGI Product in a Packaged Food or Drink Product – Application Form & Interview with Tasting
Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon is extremely proud to be home of two of three Northern Ireland PGI status products: The Lough Neagh Eel and the Armagh Bramley Apple. In order to elevate the status of these two products this award will look for the best use of either or both the Lough Neagh Eel or Armagh Bramley Apple in a product (includes drinks).

Please note this only applies to packaged products and not freshly prepared dishes – see Best Dish Using Local Ingredients award for freshly prepared dishes.

This award will be judged initially by an application process in which the judges will look for the following:

Identification of the product which is being proposed for the taste test with a clear rationale for why they have selected this dish and a clear outline of the PGI and other local ingredients being used and why.

If shortlisted the applicants will be invited to an interview where the judges will also be able to taste your product.

Rising Star Award (for anyone under the age of 25) – Application Form & Interview
This award will recognise the exceptional success to date of young professionals, managers, students in higher level hospitality studies and or apprentices in any aspect of a local food or drink business.  The applicant will need to be 25 years and under on 6th July 2018 working or studying in the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council area.

Applicants will need to demonstrate the successes in their career to date and show significant promise as a future leader in a food or drink business in the Borough.  Applicants can put themselves forward, or be nominated by another person. Applications will need to include:

  • A summary of professional and personal achievements and business successes in the food sector; and
  • An endorsement from the employer or a client (if applicable).

If shortlisted, the interview will require the individual himself or herself to be present.

Best Licensed Eating Establishment – Application Form & Mystery Shopping Visit
This award is designed to attract applications from licensed food outlets, e.g., hotels, restaurants, pubs and cafes within the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council area. The judges will be looking for a business that delivers an excellent customer service environment and overall ambience in addition to a tempting range of food suitable to the needs of its consumers.  Applications should include:

  • Customer service strategy/policy and outline how they exceed customer expectations.
  • An overview of their menu(s) offered, including use of local ingredients, and how this was designed with the customer in mind.

Applicants of this award will also be required to submit their website information so the judges can view sample menus, images of exterior and interior décor etc.

If shortlisted, the finalists will have a mystery shopping visit that will decide the overall winner of the award.

Best Non-Licensed Eating Establishment – Application Form & Mystery Shopping Visit
This award is designed to attract applications from non-licensed food outlets, e.g., restaurants and cafes within the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council area. The judges will be looking for a business that delivers an excellent customer service environment and overall ambience in addition to a tempting range of food suitable to the needs of its consumers. Applications should include:

  • Customer service strategy/policy and outline of how they exceed customer expectations.
  • An overview of their menu(s) offered, including details of use of local ingredients, and how this was designed with the customer in mind.

Applicants of this award will also be required to submit their website information so the judges can view sample menus, images of exterior and interior décor etc.

If shortlisted, the finalists will have a mystery shopping visit that will decide the overall winner of the award.

Best Independent Retail Food Business – Application Form & Mystery Shopping Visit
This award is designed to attract applications from the independent food retail sector within the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council area. It is specifically to aiming to attract the likes of independent green grocers, bakeries, butchers, confectionary, delicatessen and convenience outlets who believe they have the best product range in the Borough.  The judges will be seeking to review the following in the application form:

  • An outline of the business including background and sales figures;
  • An outline of how they set themselves apart from other food retailers, including details of unique / premium quality products;
  • An outline of their customer base and how they seek to meet and exceed the needs of those customers with specific examples;
  • Any future plans for their business.

If shortlisted, the finalists will have a mystery shopping visit that will decide the overall winner of the award.

  • All entries must be submitted to ND Events by 5:00 pm on Friday 6th July 2018 by email to
  • Any private sector organisation within the food and drink industry operating in the Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council area is eligible to enter the awards
  • Entering more than one category is allowed, but each entry must be submitted on separate entry forms (please note each award category has individual criteria)
  • The judges, organisers and sponsors cannot accept responsibility for the validity of claims made by entrants
  • If appropriate, the judges may decide to submit your nomination for an additional category
  • Winners will be announced at the Awards Gala Dinner on Wednesday 12th September – no results will be announced before this date
  • Shortlisting will take place by Monday 23rd July 2018 and shortlisted applicants will be contacted if successful
  • Shortlisted applicants for the following award categories; Best New Start, Best Business Growth, Best Export, Best Marketing Initiative, Innovation Award, Sustainability Award, Best Use of a PGI Product in a Packaged Food or Drink Product and Rising Star Award will be required to attend a 15-minute interview/presentation on Tuesday 14th August 2018. Unfortunately, we are not able to reschedule this date and by entering the awards you are agreeing that you will be available for interview on this date.  Any shortlisted applicants who are unable to attend the interview will automatically scored a zero in this stage of the competition.
  • Shortlisted applicants for the following award categories; Best Licensed Eating Establishment, Best Non-Licensed Eating Establishment, Best Independent Retail Food Business – a mystery shopping visit will be conducted on the premise and the results of this activity will decide the winners of each category.
  • Shortlisted applicants for the Best Dish Using Local Ingredients will have a visit from the judges to taste your proposed dish within your business premises. This visit will take place on Wednesday 15th August 2018.
  • Award winners may state in advertising/promotional activities that they are winners, but must include the category and the year in which the award was won
  • Entry to the Food Heartland Awards implies acceptance of the rules and conditions
  • Data Protection – The information you provide on your entry form(s) will be held on a database to allow processing of your entry. Your details may be used to inform you of other events and services relating to the Food Heartland Awards as well as development opportunities for local businesses that are supported by Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council. Your contact details will be kept for a maximum of two years when we will contact you to notify you of the Food Heartland Awards 2020.

If you have any further questions regarding the Food Heartland Awards 2018 then please do not hesitate to contact us.

For information about award entries, sponsorship, table/ticket sales please contact:

ND Events
Tel: 028 9263 3232
Email:

The Food Heartland brand was originally created to promote passionate producers and quality creators in the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council. Being the home of 2 PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) products and many Taste Award winners there is much to be proud of.

The forum includes:-

Simon Dougan – The Yellow Door

Photograph of Simon DouganThe Yellow Door, now is its 22nd year, is owned by Simon Dougan (Chef/Proprietor). It first opened its doors as a restaurant in 1992 in the little hamlet of Gilford Co. Down. Since then Simon set up the new Yellow Door delicatessen in Portadown and there are now 3 more Deli’s in Belfast and Lisburn.

The Yellow Door caters for hundreds of very special events all over Ireland and overseas, including last year’s Waterloo Ball for 1150  VIP Dinners, The Yellow Door also Supporting The VIP G8 event in Fermanagh  and the showcase of Northern Ireland Food in Brussels European Parliament for 700 Diplomats and special guests. We wholesale our famous award winning Bread and Patisserie products to top quality restaurants, hotels and catering companies throughout the whole of Ireland

Simon and his team of Chefs, Bakers and Chocolatiers cook everything they serve from scratch which means, Smoking local Fish and meat, churning Ice Creams and Sorbets and baking the renowned Yellow Door Bread and Patisserie from the best local ingredients. The Company even has its own orchard, herb garden, vegetable and soft fruit plots as well as keeping bee hives to produce Yellow Door honey.

www.yellowdoordeli.co.uk


Joe Quail – Quails, Banbridge

Photograph of Joe Quail

Even in an area renowned for the quality of its meat, Quails of Banbridge have become something of a legend, with their famous deli/food hall in Newry Street and Quails at the Gallery at the FE McWilliam Gallery.

Joe Quail (junior) is the fourth generation of the family to work in the firm, which was founded by Matthew Alexander Quail in 1898.

Sourcing animals from trusted local farms, as well as their own farm at Tullyear, Quails have won 27 Great Taste awards, including ones for their 28-day aged Himalayan salt aged bone-in rib, salt aged flat iron steak and pork sausages.
“We can stand by the provenance and quality of every animal we use”, Joe says. “Apart from our own animals, we source only from local farmers we know well. Then it’s down to our team of skilled artisans – butchers, deli staff and cooks, many of whom have been with us for decades, who are passionate about their craft.”

Quails


Mark McGonigle – Head Chef Uluru Bar & Grill

Photograph of Mark McGonigle

Uluru Bar & Grill Head Chef is Mark McGonigle, a man who simply loves cooking and preparing great tasting food. Our team of chefs work hard in the kitchen and the overall food and drink experience is complimented by our fantastic front of house team. Our team makes sure the best food is put in front of our customers. We have the best team chefs who prepare locally sourced ingredients and serve up the tastiest plates.

Mark, who is from Armagh, has been cooking great food at Uluru since we first opened over 12 years ago. During this time, Mark has been whetting the appetites of people who travel far and wide to come and sample our food.

Mark is a great believer in a chef making a great kitchen even greater so that’s pretty much where he spends most of his time. All of the chefs collaborate to create culinary masterpieces. Come in and see what the #ulurucrew have to offer. Quite simply, delicious!


Gareth Reid – 4 Vicars

Gareth Reid

4Vicars is a small family owned and run restaurant set on the hill of ancient Armagh City, serving a small, daily changing menu in a relaxed environment. 4Vicars sources and cooks the best local fish, meat and poultry, vegetables and leaves, making this restaurant the most interesting and high quality dining experience currently available in county Armagh. Booking for dinner and Sunday lunch essential; booking for lunch recommended.

www.4vicars.com


Mervyn Steenson – Groucho’s On The Square

Mervyn Steenson

Groucho’s On The Square is a family run bar, which is being extended to create a restaurant. We strive to serve local, wholesome food. Head Chef Mervyn Steenson has been with us for the past 10 years and lives by the rule of using fresh, local & seasonal produce wherever possible, all cooked from fresh in our own kitchen.

www.grouchosonthesquare.com

 


 John Whyte – Head Chef Armagh City Hotel

Photograph of John Whyte

John Whyte is head chef at the Armagh City Hotel and has been in the head chef position for 12 years. Before taking on this position he worked in Hastings Europa Hotel for 10 years. Over the years he has helped Armagh become a destination for food and leisure.

John’s menus incorporate locally sourced food, cooked simply to a high standard and showcase what is best of Armagh and Northern Ireland. He believes passionately in highlighting the best produce from County Armagh and Northern Ireland. He has also steered the hotel to achieve Taste Of Ulster recognition for over 8 years.

He is an active member of The Food Heartlands Forum and seeks to promote local artisan suppliers and their produce. He promotes great food ingredients not only to local customers but also to international guests. John believes this can only be beneficial for the future prosperity of County Armagh and its population.



Fiona Chapman
– The Red Bus Company

Photograph of Fiona Chapman

A vintage 1965 Routemaster London Bus has found a new life in Armagh. The latest venture from Fiona Chapman and her family, ‘Ruby’ has been lovingly

restored and re-fitted by her son Rory, offering a unique, moveable space for creative events of all kinds.

With a built in sound system, music from the 40s, 50s or 60s might be playing, all kinds of delicious artisan food enjoyed and afternoon teas – delicious finger sandwiches, little scones with cream and crab apple jelly and baby apple pies –served with antique china.
“At the Red Bus Company we believe that the only limit to what we can achieve is our imagination,” Fiona says. “We’ve designed Ruby so that the possible uses of the bus are endless. We can adopt the décor, the music and menus to suit any occasion or celebration. There is enough space for a pop up or gallery and we can bring seating for the outside too. What will never change is the quality of the local produce that we serve.”

www.theredbuscompany.com


The cluster was supported by Armagh City, Banbridge, & Craigavon Borough Council in addition to a Tourism NI mentoring programme. The group’s objective is to raise awareness of the quality produce, cooking and restaurants in the region.

By working together the chefs, in conjunction with their quality local suppliers are promoting the food experience available through their restaurants seasonal menus, providing cooking demonstrations and cookery schools at events and markets in the area.

The additional opportunities presented by the Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink 2016 will generate even greater awareness.

Objectives and membership criteria

The “Marriage” of the best local produce from the Food Heartland and Northern Ireland prepared by the best local chefs to delight our customers and visitors is the aspiration of the group.

The objective is to raise awareness of the quality produce, cooking and restaurants in the region. To help businesses continuously raise the bar and become synonymous with an excellent unique food experience in the area. To increase visitor numbers and grow business for producers and food outlets alike

Expression of interest – Membership criteria

If you are interesting in becoming a member of the Hospitality Forum, please complete and submit the Expression of Interest Form below, for consideration by the Membership Committee. You will be contacted shortly in this regard.

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