Entry Guidelines For Your Award Submission

 These guidance notes are intended as just that – a guide. Please feel free to be as creative and inspiring as you can be, making sure that you follow the criteria shown for each category.

Good luck and we look forward to hearing all about you and your wonderful business!



  • You have between now and midnight, 14th of February to submit your award.
  • The vast majority of submissions arrive in the final week, please try and complete it in a more leisurely way, and with the care and attention it deserves, rather than a stressful last minute rush.
  • The short listing is in early February, and the judges will select between 3 and 5 finalists from each of the 11 categories.
  • You will receive an email a day or so after the judging day, informing you of the judges decisions. The mystery shopping process takes around 6 weeks, and the report for each business is given to the judges, which forms part of the overall decision making process. Decisions are not based solely on the mystery shopper report, as your award entry and support material play a big part in the judging mix.
  • The Mystery Shopping visits will take place between February and March 2022. You will have been informed if you have been shortlisted before this happens.
  • The Judges retain the right to move your entry into another category, with your permission, if they wish to short list your entry, but feel it would be more appropriate in a different category. Because of diversification of businesses you may struggle to think which category to enter. Please don’t let this put you off.


The Judging Process and tips on what the judges are looking for

We really want to make entering the awards a positive experience for you, so here are a few tips:

As well as looking at your award submissions, the Judges will probably look at your website, so please ensure it is up to date. They may also look at social media and review sites to get a bit more feedback on your business.

If you are a shortlisted finalist, you are required to provide by email, a high resolution professional image that represents your business, in landscape format, for us to use on screen at the awards presentation. We will request this information in the letter if you are shortlisted.


What are the judges looking for in your entry?

You have the opportunity to tell the judges about your business in no more than 500 words with support material. Take your time and go over your entry words, check it for any errors before you submit it.

The judges want to feel your passion and enthusiasm for your business. If you intend to use a consultant to write your entry for you, ensure you brief them fully, and work closely with them and maintain ownership. Make sure it sounds like your business!

The quality of the presentation is very much taken into account as part of the decision. This reflects the importance of first impressions and ability to market yourself.

Imagine judges are seeing your business for the first time; capture in visuals something that would make them want to visit you.

  • Give an excellent impression of your business.
  • Passion and enthusiasm.
  • Being unique.
  • Growth and sustainability of the business and offering.
  • Quality of presentation – first impressions count!


Ideas to show off your business

  • Good supporting documentation – include testimonials and great reviews
  • Use your supporting evidence wisely – a collage of images can help tell a story, and leaves room for other support material, rather than lots of individual photos.


Mystery Shopping

The following categories are Mystery shopped, however the judges will introduce themselves at the end of the visit.

  • Breakfast of the Year.
  • Tearoom of the Year.
  • Afternoon Tea.
  • Pub Food of the Year.
  • Restaurant of the Year..
  • Customer Service Team of the Year.
  • Specialist Retailer of the Year.


It is important you read the terms and conditions, particularly the one which relates to the categories where meals and refreshments are involved, as you must enter the awards in the knowledge that the mystery shopper’s final bill is waived.

Successful shortlisted applicants for the following categories will be asked to provide judges with a maximum of four samples of their produce by arrangement. We will let you know the date and the venue that you need to deliver your products to.

  • Baked Product of the Year, to include Bread, scones, pies, cakes, biscuits – judged by Gilli Cliff, freelance food & cookery writer. books.
  • Locally Produced Beer of the Year – judged by Simon Jenkins, author and Beer columnist for Yorkshire Post.
  • Local Product of the Year – judged by Robert Ramsden, Delifresh


Judging The Young Professional Chef or Catering Student of the Year Category (under 25)

The shortlisted chefs will be invited to attend the finals, to be held at Middlesbrough College. We will inform you of the date and time.


The Judges:

Molly Shaher, Catering and Hospitality Department head at Middlesbrough College, and National chair of PACE (Professional Association for Catering Education).

Jonathan Harrison, chef/patron of The Sandpiper, Leyburn, Roux Scholarship winner, and involved with the Academy of Culinary Arts ‘Adopt a School’ programme.

Irene Myers, Chair, Flavours of Herriot Country Awards, involved in food award judging, Writer of restaurant reviews, and working alongside some of the top regional and national chefs.

Sean Wrest, Won the Staff Canteen award for the ‘One To Watch’, and won an Acorn award from Caterer magazine for being one of 30 people being recognised as the industry’s most talented stars.

And we have the honour of Frances Atkins, one of the UK’s top Michelin starred chefs, to complete the judging panel. Frances has joined forces with Middlesbrough College to help them deliver world class training to catering and hospitality students.


Reader’s Choice Awards

The only category that is not judged or Mystery Shopped is The Darlington & Stockton Times Readers’ Choice Award. This category will be voted for by the public, from the list of finalists which will be published in the D&S Times, and on our web site.


E-mail: info@flavoursofherriotcountryawards.com


Irene Myers, Irene Myers & Associates.

Emma Hudson, Business & Economy Tourism Advisor, Hambleton District Council.
Ian Ashton, Managing Director, World of James Herriot Ltd.
Neil Jones, Technical Director, World of James Herriot Ltd.
Cllr Carl Les, Leader, North Yorkshire Country Council.
Debra Thornton,
Business & Operations Director
Malcolm Warne, Communications Officer, the office of Rishi Sunak MP.


Flavours of Herriot Country Awards supporter
Flavours of Herriot Country Awards supporter
Flavours of Herriot Country Awards supporter
Flavours of Herriot Country Awards supporter