Bedfordshire’s finest food and drink venues have been urged to “get on their bikes” and campaign for votes in a brand new contest.
The Bedfordshire Food & Drink Awards were launched at the Mayor’s Parlour, in Bedford on Wednesday, with Mayor Dave Hodgson boarding a promotional Pashley delivery bicycle at the town’s market.
Mr Hodgson said he was delighted to launch the awards as there was a need to celebrate quality food and drink venues, but exclaimed “how good we are in the borough at keeping them a secret”.
Karen McGeeney, communications director of Bedfordshire Food & Drink Awards, said: “The Mayor is a good sport for getting on board our bike. He recognises how vitally important independent food and drink businesses are to the borough and county economy, for the jobs they support and the pleasure they give.
“These awards are creating a mass movement in support of quality businesses against the bland and boring. We urge everyone to get on their bikes and vote for their favourite food and drink businesses and to follow the campaign for votes on Twitter by looking for the hashtag #BedsFinest.”
The awards, which have seen more than 70 businesses nominated before Wednesday’s launch, are also on Facebook – seach for Bedfordshire Food & Drink Awards. The businesses can be nominated in up to three categories, with voting taking place until May 1.
Ian Cording, from Bedford, and sponsor, coffee brand Aurile said: “We at Aurile are both proud and excited to be sponsors of the Best Independent local Tea or Coffee Shop.
“While our concentration is on the domestic market as ‘independents’ providing high quality coffees and teas we have strong synergy with those operating outside the large multinational chains and the often indifferent quality they offer.
“Being a great advocate of Awards generally and the benefits experienced through being nominated, a finalist or a winner, being ‘judged’ by voting customers, will be a sure test of the independents’ commitment to both quality of offering and service excellence.”
Emma Garrett, of nominated busineses the Pavilion At The Park, in Bedford Park, and the Kiosk At The Park, in Russell Park, said the nominations had come as a “pleasant surprise”.
Lee Roberts, manager of Lingers Butchers, in St Cuthbert’s Street, Bedford, was also surprised to be nominated. He said: “The first we knew of our nomination was when we were invited to the launch event. It’s really good in our business at the moment. People are wanting to know where their meat comes from and we provide full traceability. Our meat comes direct from local farms.”
> For details of the awards, nominated business as well as details how to nominate and vote, visit http://bedsfoodanddrinkawards.co.uk