The East of England Tourism Awards 2023-2024 are open for entries and the Taste of East of England Award, sponsored by Adnams, looks to recognise local businesses that are providing delicious food, great service and a memorable dining experience.

Founded in Southwold in 1872, Adnams has been fiercely independent for 150 years. The business crafts award-winning premium beers, spirits, and wines, and operates a number of stores, hotels, pubs and inns, so judge Nick Attfield, director of properties, events, tours and experiences at Adnams, is well-positioned to pick out quality local food and drink.

“I started work in a Southwold pub aged 18,” said Mr Attfield. “It was a university holiday job, and it’s simply got a little out of hand since then! I ran my own pubs for 10 years before joining Adnams in 2017, and during that time I was also involved in the street food movement – promoting Suffolk fishy treats across the country, and twice winning British Street Food Awards.

Eastern Daily Press: Nick Attfield, director of properties, events, tours and experiences at AdnamsNick Attfield, director of properties, events, tours and experiences at Adnams (Image: Adnams)

“Working in our industry can be hard at times – really hard – and we’re often small teams of multi-skilled people whose sole reason for trading is to make our customers happy.

“It’s a great idea to enter these awards and take some time to review how you’re doing and look at what you’ve achieved. You’ll often be surprised at how much great stuff you and your team have done. And if you’re shortlisted, it’s a great validation of this and time to take pride.”

Entries for this category are encouraged from food service businesses of all shapes and sizes. Customers who are keen to shout about their favourite eateries are also urged to submit a nomination. So, whether you run a pub, tea room or fine dining restaurant, you have the chance to shout about your successes and receive validation from your valued customers.

“Hospitality is hospitality,” said Mr Attfield, “whether you’re serving a pint and bag of crisps or a three-course gourmet meal. Good service is simply that and great products are simply that. Value is about getting those two things right, whether your customer is spending £3 or £300.”

So, as a judge for this category, what will it take to wow Mr Attfield?

“Innovative, passionate people always wow me – we’re an inspirational and entrepreneurial industry,” he said. “Our ability to reinvent ourselves or run with an idea is inspiring. Whilst not wishing to be ageist, I learn lots from young start-ups who are looking forwards – and they need our help and support.”

For those considering entering, Mr Attfield’s top advice is to “do it with honesty, self-belief and your own critical eye.”

“You want to see somebody that is really reviewing their business, demonstrating passion and long-term goals.”

He concluded: “Our region is genuinely authentic, and we’ve managed to escape becoming too much of a pastiche. People need space and fresh air to unwind from the chaos and noise of daily life. East of England Tourism is a true antidote to all of that.”

Be sure to submit your entries and nominations before the deadline on September 17, 2023. Please visit for more information.

To find out more about the categories, please​ click here.