Nominations for the ‘Food Oscars’ are now open

The Restaurants Association of Ireland has announced that nominations for the Irish Restaurant Awards 2017 are now open.

The public are able to choose their favourites across 20 categories including: best restaurant, best casual dining, best chef, best seafood experience, best world cuisine and more.

The Irish Restaurant Awards showcase the true talent that Ireland’s hospitality industry has to offer by acknowledging outstanding performers in the sector. Growing steadily from its humble beginnings back in 2009, the awards are now a five-month long process consisting of online public nominations, judging panels, mystery guest inspections, and regional and national events.

Adrian Cummins, chief executive of the Restaurants Association, commented: “The aim of the Irish Restaurant Awards is to honour the hardworking people of the hospitality industry from cocktail makers, sommeliers, and waiters to restaurant managers and local food champions. The restaurant industry is the biggest employer within the Irish tourism sector, employing over 74,000 people and these awards are a celebration and acknowledgement of the hard work put in by restaurateurs year round.”

In the first stage of the judging process, online nominations are given a weighting of 30 per cent. The remaining 70 per cent is made up from a regional judging panel assessment. Both of these results are combined and reviewed by an independent auditor to give an overall county winner per category. These winners will be announced at a number of regional events held in March.

Each county winner then goes forward to the regional and all-Ireland stage where they will then each receive a mystery guest inspection. They will be assessed on their menu, customer service, and the overall dining experience from the moment the booking is made until the customer receives the bill.

National categories will not receive a mystery guest inspection. They will be judged by the National Academy with the exception of ‘Best Cocktail Experience’, which will be judged by the Bartenders Association of Ireland at a live competition.

The all-Ireland final of the Irish Restaurant Awards takes place on Monday, May 8, in the Clayton Hotel, Burlington Road, Dublin.

Nominations can be made via www.irishtimes.com/irishrestaurantawards until 12 noon on Wednesday, January 25.

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