Edinburgh Restaurant Awards: Our best taste and judgement

Ailidh ForlanAilidh Forlan
Ailidh Forlan
After a turbulent two years for the hospitality sector, the Edinburgh Evening News Restaurant Awards is returning bigger than ever.

Across 14 categories, the awards will recognise the incredible achievements of the Capital’s thriving food and drink scene in unprecedented times.

From Michelin-starred fine-dining restaurants to cosy cafes and vibrant street food hotspots, there are plenty of rich culinary delights to celebrate across the city and Lothians.

The Edinburgh Evening News believes it is now more important than ever to recognise excellence across this valuable sector.

Emily Campbell JohnstonEmily Campbell Johnston
Emily Campbell Johnston

The event, sponsored by Zettle, a point-of-sale solution, will take place at Brewhemia in Market Street on Monday, 6 June.

Category sponsors include Chef Works, Mealzo, Edinburgh School of Food & Wine, Everyone’s Edinburgh and Business for Good.

Tomorrow the nine-strong judging panel will carefully consider readers’ nominations across each category. It includes journalists Gaby Soutar,

restaurant reviewer for The Scotsman Magazine, and Stephen Jardine.

Elizabeth CarterElizabeth Carter
Elizabeth Carter

Jardine writes a food and drink column for The Scotsman and founded Scotland’s first food and drink PR company, Taste Communications.

Joining them is Elizabeth Carter, who has extensive experience in restaurant-related media, having previously edited numerous restaurant guides.

She was appointed editor of The Good Food Guide in November 2006 – a position she maintains and regards as her dream job.

One of Carter’s missions is to encourage a better quality of affordable good eating across the country.

Gary McleanGary Mclean
Gary Mclean

Joining them is Ailidh Forlan, the discerning foodie behind Plate Expectations, an Edinburgh-based social media account filled with unbiased reviews and drool-worthy food photography.

She is by no means a stranger to such tasks, having judged the Scottish Thistle Awards Best Eating Experience in 2018 and 2019.

Scotland’s National Chef, Gary Maclean, will also serve up verdicts on the nominees, having 35 years’ experience in the hospitality

industry. The author and executive chef at Glasgow College is perhaps best known as the 2016 winner of the BBC’s Master Chef: The Professionals.

Kate DranginisKate Dranginis
Kate Dranginis

But Maclean is also a Fellow of the Master Chefs of Great Britain and the International Institute of Hospitality Management,

and has been inducted into the Scotland Colleges Hall of Fame.

Meanwhile, Kate Dranginis has decades’ of experience working in restaurants and bars and now leads the Sustainable

Restaurant Association’s Net Zero projects to help hospitality firms reduce their carbon footprint.

Emily Campbell Johnston is the creator of the successful Eat Out Edinburgh promotion, designed to encourage locals to support city centre restaurants and cafes. She has spent 20 years working in the Capital, promoting the incredible shops, bars and restaurants within the city’s Business Improvement District.

Iain Clunie helms the food and drink team at Zero Waste Scotland, which is tasked with leading the reduction of food waste in the country by one-third in time for 2025. He oversees the organisation’s food waste reduction support for hospitality businesses, and has been instrumental in a unique audit package which has identified cost and carbon savings for more than 300 Scottish food and drink businesses since 2016.

Iain ClunieIain Clunie
Iain Clunie

Last, but not least, is Edinburgh-born Sam Kemp, market development leader across the UK for Zettle, headline sponsor of the awards. He has helped hundreds of hospitality companies, bars, clubs and restaurants trade more easily and effectively through the latest technology.

Kemp was particularly active during the pandemic when he was able to assist pop-up businesses and outside traders requiring non-cash, fully-integrated Zettle solutions.

The deadline to nominate for the awards has now passed. However, readers can keep an eye on up-to-date information on the event’s dedicated website at www.edinburghrestaurantawards.co.uk

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