The Santa Rita/ LIFE Magazine Irish Restaurant Awards 2013 has concluded its first round of voting, with nearly 10,000 nominations cast in a new record for the competition.
Regional nominations will be announced in the coming week, with County winners being announced at regional events in Connaught, Ulster, Munster and Leinster during the month of April with restaurants in Offaly hoping to progress through the competition.
Speaking on the awards, Restaurants Association of Ireland Chief Executive Adrian Cummins said that they continue to grow from strength to strength.
“Interest in the Irish Restaurant Awards has grown year on year, and as our awards are the only in Ireland to have a Mystery Judge element, we can really stand over the entire process. We are extremely lucky to once again have the strong partners in The Sunday Independent LIFE Magazine and Santa Rita on board.
The awards are a celebration in the best of Irish cuisine and recognise the hard work that restaurateurs put in all year round. Restaurateurs are entrepreneurs, and to give them something back for their contribution to the hospitality industry is important. The restaurant industry is thebiggest employer within the Irish tourism sector, employing over 64,000 people. They should be proud of that, and celebrate their hard work in the coming weeks.”
Judging will now commence in the following main categories:
Restaurant of the Year
Best Hotel Restaurant
Best Casual Dining
Best Gastro Pub
Chef of the Year
Best Customer Service
Best Wine Experience
Best Kids Size Me
Local Food Hero 2013
Nominations for the awards were made by members of the public, going online for the first time atwww.irishrestaurantawards.ie, and available through the Irish Independent’s website. All nominees are then assessed by Regional Judging panels, made up of Industry experts across the region.
Votes from the consumer, members of the Restaurants Association of Ireland and the regional judges are independently assessed by KPMG who give us our County Winner in each category.
All County winners then compete for the Regional and All Ireland Title which will be announced at the Irish Restaurant Awards in the Burlington Hotel, Dublin on Wednesday, June 10 2013.
There are 3 components to phase two of the process. Each element is independently assessed by KPMG.
1. Mystery Guest Visit (55%) This component of the awards is conducted by Prism Consulting headed by Hugo Arnold, independent food writer and consultant. All County Winners receive a mystery guest visit throughout the month of April and May.
2. National Awards Academy (35%) Our National Awards Academy is made up representatives from each of the regional judging panels and will meet in May to Judge the County Winners.
3. Menu Judging (10%) All County winners and the Dublin Shortlist in each category are asked to submit a copy of their food menu and wine list for judging.
Voting in the Industry categories will commence on March 27. Voting in these categories is exclusive to Restaurants Association of Ireland members only, with members vying for prizes such as:
Best Club Restaurant
Best Seafood Experience
Best World Cuisine
Most Innovative Restaurant
Best Restaurant Design
Best Cocktail Experience
Best Restaurant Manager
Best Cookery School
Best Digital Marketing
The winners of the Industry Categories will be announced at the All-Ireland event on June 10, 2013.