(PLEASE NOTE: THE FREE FROM EATING OUT AWARDS ARE NOT TAKING PLACE ANYMORE BUT INFORMATION IS STILL VALID)
Fantastic news this week for anyone eating out with allergies, the FreeFrom Eating Out Awards have announced the winners and runners up. For anyone with a nut, dairy, wheat, soya, fish or any other food allergy this blog post is for you.
Check out all the amazing restaurants here for some ideas of where to eat out safely.
Oscar & Bentleys win FreeFrom Eating Out Awards!
Antony Worrall Thompson presented the FreeFrom Eating Out Awards silver salver of excellence to Sarah Ormond Smith of the Canterbury restaurant, Oscar & Bentleys at a presentation ceremony at Food Matters Live. The awards are sponsored by Sodexo.
Oscar & Bentleys, second time winner of the Restaurant category at the FreeFrom Eating Out Awards, was praised as ‘faultless’ by the incognito judges who ate there.
‘The restaurant exudes excellence and competence – everything is fully thought through, the staff are friendly and inspire total confidence – and the food is beyond excellent! Nothing is too much trouble and they were not even fazed by the prospect of catering for a guest with nine life threatening allergies!’
Runners up of the FreeFrom Eating out Awards
Runners up (in alphabetical order) for the accolade were:
- 2 Oxford Place, Leeds
‘From the very first phone call to the friendly farewell from all the staff as we left – this was the ultimate free from experience.’
- Eden Food Service (School caterers)
‘As corporate members of the Anaphylaxis Campaign you would expect Eden to provide a comprehensive service for the 60,000 children that they care for – but they really go over and beyond .’
- The Royal Oak, Marlow
‘Oh yes please! There is a world of difference between catering for an allergy with a roast with no gravy, and coming up with a delicious dish that meets multiple needs without compromise on flavour. The Royal Oak hits the nail on the head.’
For the full list of winners please see below.
Said Awards Director, Michelle Berriedale-Johnson,
Great entries to the awards again this year – and from all over the country. As the food service world has started to get its head around food allergy and intolerance, so the number of outlets that can offer really exciting ‘freefrom’ meals has grown. We were literally overwhelmed with fish and chip shops offering excellent gluten-free evenings this year while the range of gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free and nut-free dishes on offer in cafés and restaurants around the country is positively heart warming!
Said Wan Mak, Head of Nutrition and Dietetics at awards sponsors, Sodexo,
We are delighted by the ongoing success of these awards. It is so important that food service is able to take on board the new allergen regulations so that they can cater safely for the growing number of people who have to live on restricted diets.
The FreeFrom Eating Out Awards are run by the same team as run the very successful FreeFrom Food Awards (now in their 9th year) and the FreeFrom Skincare Awards (now in their 5th year). For further information on freefrom food and the companies concerned, see below.
Notes for editors:
- FreeFrom food – food free of gluten, wheat, dairy, soya, nuts and other allergens – has become seriously big business in the retail sector with the market set to grow to over half a billion pounds in the next three years. But, the rapidly growing number of those who either need or choose to eat ‘freefrom’ have long complained that, while good freefrom food is now relatively easy to find in the retail sector, eating out ‘freefrom’ remains difficult and frustrating. This is partly due to the lack of choice but mainly because so few people in the food service industry still really understand about food allergy and coeliac disease.
- The team behind the FreeFrom Eating Out Awards has worked in ‘freefrom’ for over 20 years. They run one of the web’s largest informational resources for allergy and intolerance, FoodsMatter with over a million unique visitors a year.
- The team is headed up by freefrom expert, food/health writer Michelle Berriedale-Johnson who presents regularly on freefrom and has written over a dozen books on allergy/freefrom food alone.
- For the last eight years, they have also run extremely successful retail Freefrom Food Awards which have done much to drive innovation and excellence in the retail freefrom offer.
- The FoodMatters Live event at Excel in November is a new annual event exploring the links between health, food and nutrition – one of the most important challenges of our time.
FreeFrom Eating Out Awards 2015 – categories
- Cafés, coffee shops, tea rooms
- Fish & Chip shops
- Pub Restaurants
- Corporate Hospitality and venues
- B&Bs and guest houses
- Schools, colleges and universities
- Food Manufactured for food service
Cafés, coffee shops, tea shops & takeaways – Sponsored by Can I Eat There?
Winner – Labyrinth Holistic Café, Stockton on Tees
‘Labyrinth is a delightful and unexpected oasis of friendly welcome and delicious food prepared to order with care by the knowledgeable and helpful staff. As a 100% gluten free cafe that caters for multiple allergens and dietary preferences in a severely deprived area of the country, it would be a worthy winner in its category. I loved it; I just wish it were my local!’
- Aroma Coffee House & Kitchen, Lyme Regis
- The Rainbow Vegetarian Café, Cambridge
- ÜGOT, York & Newcastle
Commended – Apple Tree Café and Garden Centre, Yeovil
Fish & Chip shops– sponsored by Glebe Farm
Winner – Wolfies, Hove
‘Wow! Gluten-free fish and chips on offer all day and every day and all cooked in dedicated pans and fryers! And, even better, all the batters are dairy free and egg free!! One of the freshest, best and best value fish and chip meals I have ever eaten!’
Highly, Highly Commended!
- Bizzie Lizzie’s, Skipton
- Kingfisher Fish & Chips, Plymouth
- The Plains, Nottingham
- Brockley’s Rock, South London
- Fishcraft, Eton
- Off the Hook, Witney
- Olley’s, South London
- Oliver’s, Whetstone, North London
- Rockfish, Dartmouth
The Royal Oak, Marlow
‘Oh yes please! There is a world of difference between catering for an allergy with something like a salad, or roast with no gravy, and coming up with a delicious dish that meets multiple needs without compromise on flavour. The Royal Oak hits the nail on the head.’
- The Horse & Jockey, Curbridge, Hants
- The Ship Inn, Downham Market
Commended – The Duke at Bratton, Westbury
Restaurants – Sponsored by Riso Gallo
Oscar & Bentleys, Canterbury – ‘This is a restaurant that understands allergy and gets it right. They deal with it without fuss or alarm…. And the food was totally delicious. I had cassoulet with the lightest, fluffiest gluten-free dumplings and a fruit crumble – excellent.’
2 Oxford Place, Leeds – ‘2 Oxford Place was a joy to visit. From the very first phone call to the friendly farewell from all the staff as we left – this was the ultimate free from experience.
And the food was great! A huge range of classics that I rarely get to enjoy, the best gluten-free bread I have ever eaten plus starters and puds to die for – like dairy free creme brulee?! A really exciting menu.’
Pizza Express – For the second year Pizza Express come out at the top of the ‘chain’ pile! So great to be able to go and have a really good pizza with your friends or family without being made to feel in any way awkward.’
- duk-Pond, Preston
- La Polenteria, Central London
- Niche Food & Drink, Central London
- The Rainbow Café and Restaurant, Cambridge
Corporate Hospitality & Venues – sponsored by Nairn’s
Winner – The International Centre, Telford – ‘The caterers at the International Centre were superb. There were 6–8 main course dishes catering for all of our allergies and all the food was delicious. The staff were well informed and everything was very relaxed – no stress about being different; no stress about the ‘safety’ of the food.’
Highly Commended – Henlow Grange, Bedfordshire
Commended – Crowne Plaza, Birmingham
- The Gluten Free Kitchen Company, Tralee
- Royal College of Physicians, London
B & Bs and Guest Houses – sponsored by Caterlyst
Winner – Stonecroft, Edale
‘Staying at Stonecroft was like staying with a trustworthy and knowledgeable friend. The food was delicious and the attention to detail was so reassuring. The whole ethos of Stonecroft is allergy first – rather than a chef designing the menu and then adapting it to suit. I would love to see her win the category – she really deserves to.’
Highly Commended – Swandale Guest House, Bridlington
Commended – Leonard’s Field, Keswick
Schools, Colleges & Universities – sponsored by Thomas Ridley Food Service
- Eden Food Service – ‘As corporate members of the Anaphylaxis Campaign you would expect Eden to provide a comprehensive service for the 60,000 children that they cater for – but they really go over and beyond. Their processes are excellent and we particularly commend their efforts to ensure that their allergic children do not feel excluded by providing them with meals as close as possible to those eaten by their non-allergic peers. Worthy winners.’
- Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge – ‘Excellent allergen awareness – in line with the university’s very enlightened approach to managing food allergy. Tight control procedures using the Saffron system allow tracking of all allergens – and allow students/guests to access that information via an app. Really good, safe systems but still exciting and interesting food.’
Highly Commended – Wilson Jones Catering at Kingfield Primary School
Commended – Southampton Solent University
Food manufactured for food service – Sponsored by Genon Laboratories
- Daura Damm Lager – ‘Tastes great. Lovely – fresh & light and very much more than drinkable.’
- Nairn’s Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Biscuit Breaks – ‘Lovely oatcakey texture – yum, yum, yum! And how great that the only allergen they contain is soya lecithin!’. ‘Small pack sizes perfect for food service.’
- Rule of Crumb Chicken Goujons – ‘Oh yes – seriously tasty! Very much needed in the industry – moist chicken, crisp coating, good size, good price, good crumb! What is there not to like…. A winner!’
- Delicious Alchemy: Wheat & Gluten Free Mini Ginger Cake
- Free From Italy: Le Conserve Della Nonna Red pesto sauce
- Venice Bakery: 12 inch Frozen Free From Pizza Bases
- Yumsh Snacks: The Story of When the Cheese Met The Onion
- YumYum Bros: Oh My Goodness Merry Berry Bar
- Free From Italy: La Buona Vita Gluten Free Lasagne
- Rule of Crumb: Part Baked bread Roll (cook in packet)
Why I love the FreeFrom Eating Out Awards
This should keep you all busy trying out some of these. I’m already planning trips up North as there seem to so many amazing restaurants up that way. Has anyone eaten at any of these restaurants?
I was lucky enough to visit the Horse and Jockey in Curbridge near Southampton (Highly commended above in Pubs and Restaurants) with my aunt recently as part of the judging for these awards. More on them soon but if you are passing, it’s a fantastic pub with very reasonable prices and outstanding allergen knowledge. You’ll have a great meal, a friendly welcome and no problems ordering a safe meal there. I’m so pleased they did well.
I have also enjoyed a roast dinner at the Rose and Crown in Marlow on many occasions in the past. I agree with the judges, they always went the extra mile. I am happy to have my roast minus the gravy or take my own flask with me! (I have no shame), but they have always ensured the gravy was dairy, wheat and celery free for me. They usually have a pudding that is #notjustfruit up their sleeves too! Because we all know, when eating out FRUIT IS NOT A PUDDING!
I’ve had some really positive experiences eating out this year. These awards are a huge help, not just in helping us find places that are safe but in raising awareness that it’s a good thing to cater for those with allergies.
It is not a lifestyle choice for us. Thanks to everyone who entered. You are all amazing and well done to the winners and runners up. Watch out for a visit from What Allergy soon! and lots of eating out blogs. I’ve had some good and challenging experiences lately but on the whole it’s all good. I’m not hiding at home any more.
2016 is the year for eating out!