Now in their 21st year, the Georgina Campbell Awards recognise and honour Ireland’s standard-bearers in food and hospitality in Ireland.
And a varied list of categories it is. From Ireland’s best street, ethnic and seafood to the finest host and the most pet-friendly destination, the Awards also announced a range of more conventional category winners recently including Marlfied House Hotel, Wexford, as the Hotel of the Year and Aimsir in Kildare as the Restaurant of the Year.
The Tavern Bar & Restaurant in Mayo and the Ballymore Inn in Kildare were also highly commended, while Longueville House won a Natural Food Award for its Cider and Apple Brandy.
“It’s a challenging time to be in food and hospitality right now” stated Georgina, one of Ireland’s foremost food and hospitality writers, speaking at the awards, “but it’s also a very exciting time and in the main, standards are increasing at every level from ground-breaking new restaurants to casual dining destinations, street food trucks, cafés and bars.”
Georgina had praise for the improvements in sourcing policies, crediting Bord Bia’s Just Ask programme for the work it has done in this area.
“Provenance is so important to consumers and establishments owe it to themselves, their suppliers and their customers to highlight the origin of the produce on the menu, thereby supporting Irish suppliers,” said Georgina.
But she also criticised the frequent lack of hospitality – and in some cases plain poor training or no training at all.
“When carrying out our independent and anonymous assessments around the country, we’ve encountered disappointments once again and particularly with some 4- and 5-star hotels, where there really should be no excuses. There’s a worrying lack of a sense of hospitality in some cases and poor training – or indeed no apparent training at all – and it is baffling that there are still issues with standards at ‘top’ establishments every year. “Hotel prices are continuing to rise too, especially in the major cities and without any corresponding rise in standards and it’s disappointing to see us losing the competitive edge that was so hard won during the recession,” she said.
The Georgina Campbell Awards are in association with AIB.